Books have always been an integral part of my life. Back in the day, children such as I were called book worms. Is that still a thing amongst the digitally-hooked young today? Anyway, I was, and I still am, one such, now balancing my reading between loyalty to physical books and the convenience of ebooks.
And my general practice with books that I’ve read and own is to keep them. All of them. Which means a lot of books, stored formally on several wall to ceiling bookcases, and stuffed here and there on garage shelves. This is despite once-only reading being my thing, however much I’ve enjoyed the book, let alone those that I haven’t, particularly.
But, in these pandemic times, and spending even more time in-house than usual, I have been driven to exploring the benefits of sorting and downsizing. And that is now extending to a new-found capacity to release my grip on at least those books that have made it into the garage. And in addition to donating some to charity shops (those which are still prepared to accept them in the face of an overflow of such donations), and leaving some on the brick fence of our apartment block (on fine-weather days) for passers-by to inspect (and usually take all, between them), I’ve stumbled onto an approach that kills two birds with one stone, in very good ways.
By emailing a list of books that I’m happy to give away, on a first-come-first-served basis, to local friends and relations, I’ve been able to both shed a lot of books and enjoy a number of get-togethers over coffee and cake at the hand-overs. And so, another way (when not in lockdown) of upping the social contact quotient that is highly recommended for the health and wellbeing of we older people.
This can – of course – backfire just a bit, as some of those folk see that as an opportunity to bring a bag of books in return. But that too has its pluses, with being introduced to books that I mightn’t have chosen, but which turn out to be good reading (before being passed on in their turn).
Photo: Ed Robertson via Unsplash