the end of the bookshelf

Today I weeded through the bookshelf in our bedroom. It sounds like a daunting task. But, actually, I’ve been doing it for a long time.

This is the way our bookshelf looked this morning.

About half the books are mine and half are J’s. It would be a hell of a lot more full if I showed you pictures from a few years ago, but I never bothered. I simply got rid of books because… well, I had too many.

What I had kept were defining. I had books on human rights and migration, an impressive collection of books about the Tudors, all of the Les Roberts (a Cleveland author) books, and a sprinkling of others.

If you look at the books sitting on the top, most of those are Tudor books that I weeded out in May to donate to a book sales stand at the DSJ Schulbasar. But, I was too busy to follow through. The books simply sat on the top of the shelf for months.

But, here’s the kicker… In the past several months, I’ve reached for a single book at a single point. It’s an English translation of Le Petit Nicholas by Sempe and Goscinny. I didn’t pull it out to read it; I gave it to Felix to read as part of a “comprehension” preparation before an English exam in June.

It’s not that I don’t read. It’s that I’ve not bothered with the holdover mess of books because my German books are with my German study bits, the blogs I read are on my phone, and for everything else, I have library cards. Seriously. Yes, one of those is a digital lending card, which makes it much easier.

So, this morning wasn’t terribly difficult especially as I watched the minimalism documentary last night. I was amped.

That’s not to say the process was trouble-free. I fully realise I will never read my textbooks from Geneva, nor will I dive into reading about migration trends from the same period. For a start, the world looks nothing like it did 15 years ago. And, I just don’t have the inclination at this moment.

But, and this what makes this exercise so important, I harboured some strange belief that if I tossed the books, my concern about migrants’ rights would lose its validity.

It won’t. But you’ll see a lot of books that pained me to release were quite definitive of me.

Now that four boxes of books are waiting for their chance on a second-life in boxes, I can tell you that I still care about migrants’ rights, I still know way more than the average bear about Tudor history, and I still love Les Robert’s books set in Cleveland. And, if I want to dive deeper into any of these areas, I have multiple library cards. I also have an Amazon Kindle account if I get really desperate.

So, what books are left?

Well, I gave these four books to J. They fit his collection of classics and are, as many would agree, books that everyone should read.

I held on to these books because Oscar starts French this year and I don’t yet know how rigorous that will be. (I put the English-French dictionary and verb conjugation book into his room just as I put the Afrikaans study materials in Felix’s room.)

These books were moved to the lounge and replaced others that went in the charity box. (I need some time to decide whether I need these on not given that I have a collection of crafty stuff that will need some attention soon.)

These books I’ve kept because I haven’t read them yet. I’m giving myself a year. If they blow my socks off, they might join the keepers, but I intend to pass them on once I’ve read them… or the year is up.

And this is what I’m left with really.

Not bad at all, right? Now, the cramp in my shoulder from leaning over the scanner to save all the pictures in the two mini photo albums on the shelves is terribly painful. But, I’m nursing that with a glass of wine and a sense of achievement.