I have a master’s degree in literature. Do I need to say anything else to convince you of how much I love books? In the woman den you will find two boxes of books that represent my academic journey and I have not yet decided what to do with them. Nearly all of the books I saved are difficult enough to find in hard copy, let alone in an electronic format. That is a topic for another day.

Today I am going to pretend that only the books displayed in my home are all the books D and I own. I am not counting Rie’s library, mainly because it is much too mobile about the house to keep an accurate headcount.

As of today, books occupy just one shelf of our bookcase. Some are handy references, such as Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair, and Breastfeeding Made Simple. Some are sentimental, such as my grandmother’s copy of Little Women, which is stored inside a hollow wooden book.

Deciding which books to keep has been an excruciating process that has taken much more thought than any other area of the house. The entire bookcase plus many boxes were once full of books. I have a Bible collection (Bibles in different languages – great for referencing all sorts of questions about grammar and vocabulary), and I once had an extensive foreign-language dictionary collection as well.


I most certainly had become someone who defined herself by her possessions. My books were an outward explanation of who I am, or at least who I aspired to be. It is not like I sat around every night reading the Bible in Russian, though I did glance through it once in a while, I mostly just liked the idea of doing it.

My books have forced me to really examine myself. There is a huge difference between actually doing something and just liking the idea of doing it. I love poetry – but I rarely read it on my own anymore. Without some sort of book club that discusses the topics raised, I am not likely to open those books. Ever. Out they go.

Some books represent who I used to be. My childhood copy of Heidi falls into that category. Great book. I loved it. Haven’t read it in over 20 years. Bye-bye Heidi. I’ll catch you one day at the library.

And let’s not go down the I-bought-this-and-thought-it-would-be-great-but-never-cracked-the-spine road, please. It is just embarrassing.


Off to the used bookstore with you!

As of today there are just 32 books remaining on the bookshelf. Just one shelf of books. Some are D’s, but most of them are mine. Before the year is over more will be gone, but this is nothing if not a slow work in progress.


3 thoughts on “Books

  1. JM

    Oh my goodness!! Kate, I have been trying to get rid some of my books and my children’s book in the last year. With a heavy heart I write, I just CAN’T do it. Not that I am hoarder; I just love books. My children and I have made so many memories reading books as I go through the old books that we have read; I just can’t put them aside. I don’t know may be I will have the willpower down to road to say “OFF TO THE USED BOOKSTORE WITH YOU.”

    1. tofukate Post author

      It is so difficult! For me this has been just a little chipping here and there. Over the last couple years I have made a lot of space by clearing out some of these untreasured treasures. One of the books I took to the bookstore was one a friend and I picked out together over 15 years ago. He has since passed on, which has made it more difficult to release in the past. I finally came to a place where letting that book go doesn’t mean I am letting go of our special memories. My friend wouldn’t want me to live a cluttered life for his sake.

  2. Hardik Nagar

    Beautifully written.

    After a point of time when you realize that you are letting the possessions of yours define you that truly does becomes a life redefining moment, for all of us.

    Getting rid of books is difficult. But, then I realized that I am hoarding the books not because I love books but because I like the idea of other people seeing that I hoard books. I am letting my possessions define me.

    Now, most of the times, I give away books instantly as soon as I am done reading. If I ever feel like reading a book again, I prefer the good ole library 🙂


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