Setting free the books

Suppose you could keep just one of these books. Which one would it be?

I know, it’s not a reasonable question. Why can’t I keep more than one? Why can’t I keep all of them?

Because I’m the one who got to ask the question, that’s why. 🙂

It’s a question I asked myself on Sunday while I sorted through some of the few boxes we hadn’t yet unpacked after a move to a smaller house. Rather than put a bunch of books in boxes in our backyard shed for someone to sort through down the road, I’m setting some of my favorites free now. They’ll go to a used book store for a few pennies on the dollar or I’ll donate them to a library or otherwise give them away. I’ll figure that out later.

The first step was to decide what will fit on my little shelves in the new place. A couple of homes ago, we had bookshelves covering an entire wall in my favorite room. We thinned that collection substantially before coming to Colorado, then a bit more in the past ten years. As hard as it can be to part with some old favorites, it’s that time again.

I don’t have every John le CarrĂ© spy novel but they’ve long been among my favorites. As someone who grew up during the Cold War, served a couple of years in the U.S. Navy, and enjoyed Russian language courses in college, I could easily imagine myself as part of the intrigue even though it was far from my own lived experience.

Still, as much as I enjoyed reading these books, it’s time to let someone else have them – except for one. I could keep a few more, but I’m reserving that shelf space for another author, whose identity I’ll share sometime soon.

Full disclosure: I’ve already decided what to keep, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change my mind.

What would you do?

B.J.

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