Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
One observation I made during the process of moving was that I have TOO MANY GODDAMN BOOKS! Crate upon crate of them, and I packed and loaded and unloaded every one (approx. 10100 of them). My body is still complaining.
I also have a Nook and a Kindle, and they probably hold another few boxes of books themselves — except that schlepping them around is as easy as hauling a single book. And this makes me think, despite my affection for the physical book and all it represents (everything from the fabled smell to the sentimental attachment), are we not ridiculous for lugging these millstones through life?
Honest to God, I have a few moldy oldies that are scarcely younger than me! A lot of them, of course, I picked up in college, and their pages are now yellow and fragile — we didn’t have your fancy acid-free paper in those days — but they’re marked up with my post-adolescent marginalia, and some of them still sport bookmarks I stuck in them when Jimmy Carter was president. How can I part with those? Then there are the dozens of books I snagged while going to school in England, purchased at such celebrated shops as Foyles and Dillons (the latter defunct now), not to mention the many used-book joints whose names I’ll never be able to recall.
And what about the books important people gave to me? A copy of Walden my dad inscribed for my sixteenth birthday. A little collection of folk songs, in which the handwriting of my high school girlfriend is still to send me hurtling through time. Books that I’ve only read once but that have some kind of powerful pull on me and are impossible to let go of.
Cleaning them up and packing them was like reading thirty years of my own diaries.
I’m not sure when I’ll get around to unpacking them and displaying them on the new bookshelves, but since we don’t intend to move again (seriously), I guess I won’t be faced with the dilemma of whether to drag them to the next stop. They seem to be here to stay.