Girls Write Out
Thursday, March 08, 2007

“Diann, you have to get rid of some books,” my husband says, peering over the stack of novels surrounding his chair in the family room.

Those words strike fear in my heart, causing scenes of “The Shining” to swirl around my mind. For a moment fear flickers in his eyes as he no doubt sees my resemblance to Jack Nicholson.

“I know you love them. They’re hard to part with, but to be honest, I haven’t seen our dog in days,” he says.

“She’s reading.” Without looking up, I turn the page in my current novel.

“She can’t read. She’s 14 years old and blind.” His voice is dark and cold, like a musty basement filled with, um, books. “Maybe you’ve noticed our chimney belches words.”

I shrug. “We’re the envy of the neighborhood.”

He sighs.

I put my book down, gearing up for the same old discussion. “Look, I’ve tried to give some away. I’ve stalked paperboys, grocery clerks and preschoolers. What more do you want from me?”

“When you give some away, don’t buy more,” he says as though he’s created a quote along the status of Ben Franklin.

“Okay, so I have a problem. You’ll need to figure out how to help me get over it.”

“Uh-huh.” There’s not one lick of sympathy in his voice whatsoever.

“Check in the third bedroom, I might have a book on the subject.”

He gives me a deadpan stare. “You’re pathetic.”

So there you have it. The confessions of a book addict. We can’t afford to buy a library. A castle in England is out of the question. So how do you keep your books to a minimum so you don’t lose the family dog?
Diann Hunt  
posted at 10:05 AM  
  Comments (28)
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At 10:41 PM, Blogger Sabrina L. Fox said...

I can't help you, Diann. I love books. Love the feel of them and the look of them. I'm having a hard time parting with any of mine too. I do share with friends though.

Now that I'm reviewing more I am starting to have piles of books everywhere. I've asked for built-in bookshelves for Mother's Day. ;)

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Okay, I'm trying to catch my breath. Your husband was actually brave enough to bring up the subject of getting rid of some of your books?! Brave man!!

I'm a hopeless, but happy, book addict! And for me the addiction isn't just reading, it's OWNING the books! I find it hard to borrow a book from a friend, because if I like it, I want to have it. I read and re-read books all the time! They're like good friends that I curl up with on lazy afternoon!

And not buy anymore books?! Perish the thought!! That would only happen if every one of my favorite authors decided to give up writing and never again had anything published!

But, I admit that I'm in the same position - too many books (is there such a thing) not enough shelves! I've been thinking about giving some of mine away. The only problem is that I can't seem to part with any of the good ones. So, I have about 5 I could maybe get rid of. Anyways, if you're looking for someone to give them to (no, not me), you may want to donate them to a church for their library. Or maybe a woman's shelter. Just a thought.

Good luck!

At 12:17 AM, Blogger Kayla said...

I just signed up the other day and I've already had people order 4 books from me. When someone orders a book, you ship it and pay media mail shipping. When they receive it, you get a credit to order a book from someone else- free! Yay!

I have the problem of too many books and not enough shelves, too, but at least I'm finally able to get rid of a bunch of children's books that I didn't want to just give away.

I love to own and re-re-re-read books, too, and some books are too precious to trade but others I just KNOW I'll never read again. And I know that they're going to a good home.

What's also awesome is that we can add each other as buddies to swap books! :) As long as we're not getting rid of Colleen, Denise, Diann, and Kristin's books, right? But who in their right mind would do that?!

At 8:29 AM, Blogger Jaime said... ROCKS, Kayla! I've been on it for several months and it's been so easy. However!! I run out of credits because I'll read a book and be like, "I can't trade this, it's too good!"

Diann, my husband and I are converting our basement into wall to floor shelving :) and making it into a library. We don't have a dog. ;)

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

I'm in the same dilemma. I just had a carpenter build me a new shelf on each of my floor-to-ceiling bookcases. I found an empty space and just KNEW I could get another shelf, and sure enough, "we" did. However, I DO get rid of books by giving them to our church ladies. I took two big boxes down to the church recently and let the women know about them, and vamoosh, they were gone in minutes.

BTW, GREAT post! You made me laugh, oh talented author, thou.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Todd said...

What a timely post. I'm running into the same problem. Not enough room in the Inn! I'm doing a lot of reviewing these days as well and getting more books. I just gave away 5 recently that I knew I wouldn't read again. And yet, it was painful. And what do I do? Run off to BAM and buy 3 to feel better about giving some away. I'm sad now. I'm going back to bed. :-(

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Great suggestions, all! I have given so many to our church library, the workers run away when they see me coming.

I'm not normally selfish by nature, but I do find that when I hand over books, I struggle to actually free them from my fingers. Then me and the person I'm giving them to sort of enter into this tug of war thing. It's pathetic, really.

Hey, Kayla and Jaime, that deal sounds great! I'll have to check it out.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I have to admit that since we've been doing the Dave Ramsey get-out-of-debt thing *sigh* I haven't been buying books. I wait until my library gets them and then I devour them. It's sad really. I love books. BUT just think of how many I'll be able to buy once we are debt free!

What works best for me (I cheat) is to go to the bookstore and either take pictures on my cell phone or leave myself a memo on my cell phone of the title and author of the books I want to read. Then I just come home and request them online at the library website.

So, as an author, does it matter if your book is borrowed and read or bought and read (from a creative point of view)? ALSO...which is better...seeing your name on the cover of a book or being paid to write the book?

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Winter said...

If I've read them and they don't qualify as keepers, or if I never read them at all and can't find the gumption to do so, I pass them along to my MIL. She then passes them along to her mother and they disappear from there.

The nice thing is, when she gets books I've never read she passes them along to me, if I have time to read them. I usually pass until I've read all my books in my TBR pile, which has grown and stares at me screaming "READ ME!"

Now my kids on the other hand now have more books than me and they're over taken my bookshelf. Where'd it go?!

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

My bookshelves are full. I keep my "favorites", but for the rest, I give to my mom to take to the nursing home my grandmother is in. The library bookmobile only visits once a month, and some of the residents there read much faster. So I donate for the nursing home's "private" library. A neat thing...I send all the books I review that are CBA that I don't keep. I've had two incidents where the resident was reading one of our ACFW authors' books and their family member came to visit. The resident raved about the book. The family member went out and bought that book, to have something to talk about, and now those two authors have even more fans. So, I'm always happy to send those books that I read and enjoyed. Passing to those who truly will appreciate them, and try to pick up some new fans for my ACFW buds! Works for me!

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Pattie said...

3. I've sold used books on but I know some authors have a problem with this. ;-)
4. Free paperback swap bookshelves at Curves and the library at the Air Force base where my DH is stationed.
5. pack them in boxes and stash them under the stairs ;-)

and all this from a self-avowed book addict and abibliophobe.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Robin G said...

My husband does the same thing to me! Which I really don't understand. There are still walls that don't have bookshelves up against them. What's the problem? Besides, I'm a librarian and a writer. What does he expect?

In the interest of having a good marriage, however, I have gotten rid of many books and try not to hold onto everything I buy. (My old policy said you just did not get rid of books, unless they were absolutely vile.) Also, now that I know so much about libraries, I know I can pretty much get any book I ever want to re-read through interlibrary loan, so I feel better about letting them go.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

I laughed at your scenario. LOL! Sounds like something that would happen at our house! I am a book hoarder, too, but this year, I found a way to get rid of more than 60 books from my house!

Here's what I going to do... I teach at an international school and my 12th grade homeroom is having book sale in a couple of weeks. We're asking all the students and families in our school to donate used and unwanted books. We'll collect the books and turn around and will sell them back to the families for 1 lira each (about 70 cents). Since English books are sometimes hard to come by, this sale is very popular. (We'll hold it the same day as the school's Annual General Meeting. Everyone loves this sale, so it ensures better attendance at the meeting.)

Best of all, I can get rid of the books I don't want and buy "new" ones for 70 cents each. If I get rid of 60 and only buy 30, that's a net loss of 30 books which counts for something!)

Last year our sale made more than $600. This year, the 12th graders are planning to use whatever we make to buy a foosball table for the middle schoolers. If there is enough, they will also buy a microwave for the student cafeteria for everyone. These will be their "parting" gifts to the school.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Katherine said...

I think I'm safe, because my boyfriend loves books just as much (if not more) than I do. I don't mind reading from the library, while he HAS to own his books. (he doesn't share well with others). So if we have a future together, my book collection should be safe. We'll just add an extra room for our library, and instead of expanding our family we'll expand our library!

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Tell him you'll get rid of one book for each tool he gets rid of. ROFLOL

Seriously, i left my wall of books back home in the country and now I keep no more than twenty at a time in the house. : )

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Ha! I have so many, I've filled three large bookcases, and I have boxes lining our bedroom. I give away books alla the time. Unfortunately, our library no longer takes donations.

My husband said to tell yours he sympathizes and wondered if maybe he knew of a program ...

Dreamers, both. ;)

At 6:49 PM, Blogger Liz said...

All of the books my mom buys (the Christian fiction ones) first get circulated to all of her friends or me (since I'm at college) and then taken to our library at church. A lot, and I mean A lot of the christian romance novels have been donated by my mom. (I think she introduced our librarian to Colleen's books) All of her other ones, well a fort could have been built around her bed with them until my dad made her give them away to the Salvation Army and Good Will or other places that accept used books like the public library.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Pam, that's very cool what your school is doing!

I like the idea of giving to the nursing homes, too! I hadn't thought of that.

Great suggestions from everyone!

Maybe one day we'll dig ourselves out of all these books, but don't hold your breath.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Betsy Ann said...

This idea just dawned on me while reading the other posts. What if you kept books you don't need instant access to inside suitcases? Your suitcases are stored empty in the attic/under the bed/in closets, etc. anyway, so...why not fill them up? Then, when it's time to use the suitcase for a trip, pile the books in a corner and then switch it all back when you return. You won't be at your house to notice the stack of books in the corner, anyway. =) I might just try this idea at home this weekend! (hey, if nothing else, maybe it'll convince Hubby to get me more bookcases - STAT)

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

LOL, Diann, I've given some to the Schwan man.

Most I can donate to church for the library. I have singlehandedly built two church library wings.

(Your husband and my husband must be conspiring against us because we've had this same conversation recently...)

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Ah yes, it's always the husband commenting on the books. I think mine actually has more than I do, but that is only because I give mine to our church library. Except my self-help books which are still sitting on my shelf waiting to help.
Since I help in our library I quite often get asked about which books to read. And our librarian is always pointing out books I have donated or have read and recommend.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger JesFreak15 said...

There's an age old question. I'm only 17, and I probably have more books then 20 of my friends combined. My mother tells me my room is a fire-hazard. MY problem is that I would rather own them then borrow them from the library (Although my library card is well worn). The is something appealing about having that book to look through, or read any time you want- 10 days after buying it, or 10 years. Then, after buying the books, I cant stand parting with them- they are like beloved friends. My addiction to reading is weird, I know, but I taught myself to read at age 4 and havent put books down since. Besides, there are mant much worse addictions I could have.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

Oh, forgot to mention that my mom does this to me all the time. She'll rant about the 8 books that I have scattered about the living room and then she puts them in a stack on my dresser. Then I whine that I was READING THOSE and she's like ..."ALL of them?!" YES! Who doesn't read 8 books at once?!

At 9:07 PM, Blogger Cecelia Dowdy said...

I love books too. Ever since I learned to read, my favorite past time has been curling up with a good book. I have TOO MANY BOOKS in my house! I usually get rid of books after I read them. I keep very few because there are so many books out there that I want to read, and I hardly ever read books twice, since there are so many books out there that I want to read! Got it? I usually donate them to the library, give them to friends, relatives, etc.

At 5:58 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Ah, this discussion is very encouraging to me. I was beginning to think/worry that people only watched TV or MSN'd and no longer curled up with a book! Great! There are still bibliophiles out there! (I'm not alone.)

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Ah, so nice to know I'm not alone! So many books, so little time . . .

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Tabbiew/manykids said...

Diann oh, how I understand the problem. But There is hope... Donating them to a worthy place, youth center, Hope Mission, will not only help you to fuel your addiction with room to buy more, but will also keep those wonderful characters in the novels alive with each reader. Keep this in mind

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Deena said...

I'm in shock over here...get rid of books?? That's like asking you to get rid of...of...of your best friends...

I finally invested in some clear totes to store books I've read but can't bear to part with...

I have so many books, I could start my own used bookstore. I told my husband that, and he told me I couldn't make it work, because I wouldn't be able to let go of any books!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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