You Want Me To What??

I am astounded to learn that there are people out there looking to diminish the size of their libraries. If you are one of these people, there is a chilling WikiHow webpage that gives you nine steps to an emaciated library, including suggestions such as giving yourself a “read-to-purchase” ratio or only allowing yourself to buy a new book after you’ve given one of your old books away. As a friend of mine so eloquently put it: “Blasphemy!”

All “bulimic library” jokes aside, I do recognize that there are people who do not have the space–or in some cases do not have the desire–for a large library. Not every girl grows up dreaming (as I did) not of finding Prince Charming but rather of finding his library (a la Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast“, pictured above), and this is fine. An extensive library is not for everybody, this is why we have public libraries, and why I support them to the greatest extent possible.


If you do have a personal library it is my firm belief that nobody should make you feel guilty about any unread books it may contain. A library is not just a repository for books you’ve already read; quite the contrary. A personal library should be filled with old friends (books you’ve read and loved) and new friends waiting to be made, inspiring you to keep on reading.

My library is not a still and silent collection of books and shelves. And it isn’t just for me–it’s for my daughters and for my friends. My library is a living, breathing thing; it is a conversation; it is–like each book in it in its turn–a friend and lover, a teacher, a muse. It grows as I grow, and I would not want to hinder that for all the extra shelf space in the world.

2 thoughts on “You Want Me To What??

  1. Mike and I recently went through our books, and I will admit that I have the lion's share. I was thinking of writing a blog on this subject. I probably still will even though you beat me to it. In the meantime I do want to say that probably 40-45% of my books are ones I have yet to read.

  2. Denise, I think that's a healthy percentage of "to be read" books in an active reader's library. And I would love to read your blog on this subject when it comes. Speaking of which, I know you're busy with your little one, but if you're looking for "readerly" ideas for blog posts, check out this site: for commenting!

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