Letting Go of Things.

Recently I was given the totally unexpected, but extremely welcome gift of a secondhand e-book reader. It’s a PanDigital 7″ Novel. Basically it amounts to a digitally castrated Android tablet PC. It’s a very, very welcome gift as my previous sort of e-book, a 5-6 year old Ipaq 1950rx, is starting to act like that really old grand-aunt who insists that someone has pee’d in her sherry.

It’s also very welcome because the move to my new home has shown me that I own too many books. That is a horrible admission for a true bibliophile. I love books. I adore books. I get such pleasure from the feel of a book in my hands, from the smell of the paper, and the glues that hold it together. I get such a thrill from opening a new, or secondhand book for the first time, as I wonder what adventures await me between its pages. With how my health so often restrains my lifestyle, books are how I travel to other countries, how I meet other cultures. They’re how I find heroines, even sometimes how I fall in love. They’re precious items to me, the single greatest human invention. So much more than mere collections of leafs of paper.

I have damaged two books ever in my life. And even though they were two goddess awful Summer holiday books, I did suffer guilt pangs for doing so. I used them to make a pair of secret books as parts of presents for two very precious people. I know both are treasured possessions now, as I hoped they would be. But I damaged two books to make them. And try as I might I’ve never been able to, and probably never will be able, explain why it feels so wrong to have done that. Destroy a book…it’s just not what you’re supposed to do.

I own around 600 honest to goodness paper books. They take up 5 bookshelves. To move them from house to house takes 3 car journeys, and a lot of sweat from humping them around. But despite how much I love them. Despite how emotionally important many of them are to me, I know I have to let at least some of them go. I physically can’t take the strain of moving that many books ever again.

It’s a hard thing to do though. They’re important to me. They all have memories associated with them. They’re all tied to some place I’ve been to, someone I knew, or know, serve as a reminder of something I did, or even someone I did once upon a time. They’re the containers of stories, and sometimes the least of those stories are the ones contained between their covers. So soon I’ll have to start looking for new, loving homes for my paper babies.

Someone for my omnibus copy of the Killashandra Trilogy by Anne MacCaffrey, which I read cover to cover the week my Nanny died, and was buried. Who I can smell in the air around me when I touch its cover.

A new owner for my, seriously don’t laugh, original series Star Trek novels. The books that bring me back to my apartment in Cork City, to the days when I would lie on my bed for hours, following Kirk, Spock and McCoy on their adventures as I listened to the city rumbling around me.

But no-one else is getting my copy of MacCaffrey’s Dragonsinger, because no-one can ever get me to give up my copy of the story that made me realise life might just be worth living after all. The story that helped me to realise that dreams can sometimes come true, even if the only way to reach them is to walk out of a nightmare.

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