“Yes,” said the librarian, “we take donations of books. How many do you have?”
“Well,” I said, “I’m thinking in lineal feet…”
“Oh,” she said, “but how many boxes?”
“I don’t have them boxed yet,” I replied, “and I haven’t really measured, so this could be way off, but I’m guessing that it would be around 100 feet of shelved books.”
The aforementioned books are housed in floor-to-ceiling shelves in our (now sold!) home in Sechelt. There are a couple of other stand-alone bookshelves scattered about the house as well. Then there are the books piled on various stands and stacked in the basement. And of course, there are books piling up here in Vancouver as well. To be fair, our collection pales in comparison to some of our friends (hello Schroeder-Brown’s!) but still, there are way too many books to move to our new apartment.
Whether it’s books, clothes or cutlery, I have decided that it is simply a matter of asking the right question. This question, in one form or another, is what I will be asking as I pick up each book, knick-knack, painting, hat or tablecloth. But when I specifically tackle the books, I know that this question will see many books that make the cut; books that are like old friends, well-worn, filled with sticky notes and underlined bits, worn edges and loved pages. But, and quite necessarily, many, many more won’t pass this simple test.
Specifically, when I box up our books to donate to the Friends of the Library in Sechelt, British Columbia, I will ask this:
Do I love this book enough that I would want to read it again?