I went through my bookcases last weekend. I figured it was probably time since I had to step around a fort-like structure of bindings and dust to get to my desk.
So, with reusable bag in hand I went to work…and found out that my book keeping rational was very similar to the clothes keeping rational women with overflowing closets seem to possess. Just like that pair of jeans from high school, the study of Normative Ethics will never fit me again. There was a brief time in grad school when the ideas suited me, but now they just feel uncomfortable and outdated. And do I really need that commentary on Amos? Yes, the book is big, beautiful, and impressive—but I never use it. It just sits on the shelf gathering dust, like that overly shiny halter dress you bought to go clubbing in (and face it, you will never go clubbing).
Cleaning out my bookcases made me realize that when I have a disposable income, I waste it on books instead of clothing. In my youth, this habit made me quietly smug. I was not one of those shallow girls preoccupied with fashion and boys. Oh no, I was much better than that because I would buy books to read…and one day, I would impress some Austenesque fellow with my intellect and profound understanding of the world.
Book after book went into my reusable bag. These weighty tomes of Western thinking might as well have been outdated dresses and blouses. Yes, I bought books to improve my intellect, but I bought books that I didn’t need, that I wouldn’t read, that I would abandon the minute they lost popularity. My sin is just as bad as your average shopaholic.
There is room on my bookcases now. Let us hope that I’ve learned my lesson. Especially since I can order any book that I wish—for free—through our university’s library system.