I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I truly have an obsessive addiction to anything that could possibly make me cross the line from from enthusiastic collector to certified hoarder, it’s books. Seriously, I have a problem.

See, it’s not just the fact that I like to read books, or that I can’t stop myself from buying at least one book every time I visit the bookstore. Yeah, every time. Even if I’ve just been there and bought a book the day before. No, that’s not the real problem.  The real problem is when I start collecting books in bulk.

See, my bookstore problem is easily solved by not visiting the bookstore very often, and by the fact that new books can cost upwards of $15 each. When I’m shopping in a bookstore, I have to be choosy.

No, the real problem is when friends of mine are getting rid of books, or when I have the opportunity to visit a large sale where books are ridiculously low-priced. My heart starts palpitating. I get a little dizzy. I break out into a cold sweat. Sometimes, I even lose chunks of time, like a victim of alien abduction, only to “wake up” and see that somehow I have acquired several new stacks of books.

When I was in college, Dr. Nakhai, one of my old English professors, cleaned out her office and was getting rid of about a hundred old literature anthologies and textbooks. It took over a dozen milk crates borrowed from the dining hall and a handtruck from the College Services department for my friend Anette and I to haul them all up to my dorm room but, by God, I wasn’t about to let them go when they still had so much life in them.

Then, while living in Arizona, I caught wind of a ginormous annual VSNA Book Sale held at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Steven and I decided to check it out in February of 2009. We stood in a long line that snaked back and forth in front of the building for about 45 minutes, chuckling at the people pushing shopping cards and pulling large suitcases on wheels. It wasn’t until we actually stepped inside that we began to understand.

I’m pretty sure I caught a glimpse of Heaven that day, and it smelled of paper and ink. I’ve never seen so many books in one place in my life–stacks and stacks and stacks of them on table after table after table, divided into sections by genre. Most paperbacks could be purchased anywhere from 50 cents to $4.00. Brand new hardcovers ranged anywhere from $5.oo to $10.00. I’m surprised I didn’t faint from the excitement.

Twenty books and about $45.00 later, Steven and I headed home with our arms full. I hate to think of what the damage would have been if I had known to bring a shopping cart. I told myself there was always next year, and had my daughter Cadence not arrived just a week before the sale, I’m pretty sure I would have gotten myself in some serious book-buying trouble in 2010.

But even without the help of a big book sale or a professor purging her collection, the books have still managed to stack up over the years.

What can I say? It’s a sickness.

I was proud of myself for getting rid of a bit stack of the old literature books and textbooks before we left Arizona by donating them to the Casa Grande Library. Nevertheless, I’ve still managed to fill nearly three boxes of books to sell/donate during this Excavation project. Here are just a few…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I adore Edgar Allan Poe (what self-respecting writer/English major doesn’t?). But this old collection is Steven’s and since I have one too (plus a smaller collection of the most popular of Poe’s work that I have taken copious notes in), we decided to get rid of this one and keep mine. And except for one small ding on the cover and the spine, it is in great condition.

This next book is one that I picked up at the bookstore because I was particularly missing New York, and thought maybe reading a bunch of stories about New York, taking place in New York, by native New York writers might help ease the homesickness. And I guess I must have been reeeeeeeeeeally missing New York, because somehow I ended up with two copies. It’s one step closer to hoarding when you buy things and forget about them, so I’m more than happy to give up one of my copies. The other, is still safely on the shelf.

When Steven and I decided that our move to Arizona was going to take place just a month before our Las Vegas destination wedding, we thought taking a roadtrip to California sounded like it might be a fun idea for a honeymoon. So, when I ran across this Weird California book in the bookstore one day, I couldn’t resist. After all, a vacation with me wouldn’t really be a vacation unless you visit at least one off-the-wall place. Unfortunately, going on a honeymoon didn’t pan out, since we had to rush back home after the wedding so I could start my new teaching job. And now, nearly five years later, we’ve decided that we would rather save up and take a belated honeymoon in one of our favorite cities in the world–New Orleans. So, nothing against California, but I’m ready to pass this book on to someone else who wants to get out west and see some of the best, and weirdest, that California has to offer.

And speaking of weddings, this book of DIY wedding crafts has also been hanging around since 2006 or so. I mean, I love my husband. Hell, I love him so much that, technically, I married him twice, but one thing I’m never going to be doing again is planning a wedding. No thanks. I’m done with that. So, it’s time for this book to move on to another home where it will be used and appreciated once more. So, tomorrow morning, it’s on it’s way to Dallas so my sister Kassie can take a look and find some ideas for her upcoming nuptials.

All in all, it shaped up to be a very productive day of decluttering. Stay tuned, there’s lots more where this came from!


  1. I feel like you are writing from my own thoughts and feelings about books. I simply can not get rid of them. And why should we? They enrich our lives! That is unless we are contacted by a hoarder show. Yikes! 🙂

    1. You’re right, there are far worse things to be addicted to than books, and as long as I manage to keep them wrangled on the shelves where they belong, I think I’m okay. 🙂

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