What do you do with books after you’ve read them? Collect them on a shelf? Sell them to the highest bidder? Give them to a carity shop? Keep them in a box for future use? Or just hope they’ll go away?
We have a big bookshelf in our living room where we keep a selection of our favourite, or unread books – most of these books belong to my wife and re-afirm the ‘housewife’ stereotype. The bookshelf has five shelves, the first three are my wifes, the fourth is my babies and the bottom one belongs to me.
The top shelf is books about children and healthcare, things you apparently ‘need’ to know to bring up children. These sort of books used to fill up three shelves until we had our second child, then it was two shelves.
Now we have our third it is just half of the top shelf with the other half filled with bits and bobs we need to keep out of the children’s reach.
Kailen poinnting to his books
In case you were wondering – the two older children have their books on a bookshelf in their bedrooms – we keep the toddlers (mainly touch and feel) books in the living room because he likes to help himself to them throughout the day.
The next two shelves are all cookery books and my wife tries to argue that these are there for both of us to use. But as my cookery involves throwing everything in and hoping for the best (including my pizza dough technique) I’d say they’re hers.
Anyway back the point, or at least the debate I was trying to have with myself in blog form – my shelf.
As well as those three shelves of books my wife also has about eight large banana boxes of books somewhere in the back of the garage come storeroom – she takes the ‘store for later’ option with the odd ‘give it to a charity shop’ when I push her.
I have all my books on that one shelf at the bottom of the living room bookshelf. That isn’t because I don’t have very many books – over time I’ve had as many boxes of books as my wife – but I get rid of them when I’m finished with them.
But my most recent book clear out has left me in a little bit of a dilema over what to do with the books.
Normally I read a book and then dispose of it – sometimes that involved giving it to a charity shop, sometimes I give to family or friends and occasionally, when it is a more unusual (or at least less well known) book I’ll leave it in a hotel room, on a park bench or even on the bus for other people to discover.
I put the question in the title out on Twitter and asked my tweeterers what they do with books when they’ve finished. Two responses at the time of writing this said:
squawkbox@upyourego Pass them onto friends/family… Once they have read them, then they can deal with disposal!
spicysaurus@upyourego Do you have Half Price Books there? That’s where my unwanted books go. I do keep and reread many of them, though.
However, the books I’ve just got round to sorting through are ones I’ve been hoping to ‘collect’ and so didn’t want to get rid – but I came to the conclusion that I need the bookshelf space for what is an increasing number of books and less time to read.
I’m talking about my Doctor Who books.
I’m a geek and one of the ways you can identify my geekyness is my obsession with ‘completing’ collections. I have every vanilla Doctor Who DVD, every episode of Yes, Minister and dozens of other TV series – including Red Dwarf, Bottom, The Young Ones and Fawlty Towers.
And I’ve tried to apply the same obsession to the Doctor Who and Torchwood books – at one point or another I have owned them all. But they are a lot bigger than the DVDs and aren’t as re-usable – you really wouldn’t want to read it more than once in a couple of years.
So I’ve read it and passed it on in one of the ways I mentioned above. But now I’ve got two children reading and one obsessed with books. Both the older children love Doctor Who (although they’re not quiet up to reading the DW books yet) and my eldest loves the Sarah Jane Adventures books.
In a couple of years, possibly even less at the rate she seems to get through books, my eldest will be up to and interested in reading the Doctor Who books and a couple of years after that my middle child will be looking towards them as well.
So I’m now left with a) a slightly guilty feeling at getting rid of all those Doctor Who books over the last few years and b) wondering what to do with the ones I’ve got now that I’ve read – or at least heard in Audiobook form.
And that’s another thing – yes I might have listened to it in audiobook form but what have I missed by not reading it and capturing the imagery for myself? Will I want to read it myself in addition to the audiobook or will the magic have gone by the time I get around to it?
I’ve decided to hang on to the books for now and just put them in the garage in a box – if my wife can get away with it then so can I. Although if I could convince her to give me another shelf – they would look pretty cool on display.