A purge of Stalinist proportions

Lights have been out here for a bit due to a major change. In mid-May my wife and I moved from the home we built 23 years ago into a townhome with about half the space. As you would expect, you accumulate a lot of stuff over such a stretch, meaning you have to dispose of a lot when you move.

How bad was it? Well, within an hour of the movers leaving, my wife and I were watching Hoarding: Buried Alive to make us feel better. And I haven’t had spent a total of about 10 minutes reading in the last two weeks, if that.

In our case, of course, there were books to deal with — and books and books and books and books. (I won’t go into the Jon Crane prints or the framed autographed rock albums or the framed Fillmore, Avalon and other classic rock posters for which we no longer have sufficient wall space.) “My library” alone had 12 to 14 feet of ceiling-height, built-in bookcases (plus the 5-foot standalone I placed at the end a couple years ago). Our bedroom had two more 7′ x 2 1/2′ bookcases and there were smaller ones throughout the house.

That meant hundreds of books went out the door. Once I decided what I was keeping (about seven bankers boxes) my kids and some friends got their pick of what they wanted. A dozen or more boxes went to a used book store; with a few exceptions, my bookcase full of SF went as a package to one good home; and the VA Hospital got five overflowing moving boxes worth.

I’m not one of those for leaving books in boxes in a garage or storage space so I’m guessing more will be heading out the door as we get more settled in. I know I brought more than we have room for but it’s a process of dealing with exactly what shelf space is going to be available.

I lost plenty of long-time friends. But I’m proud to say that less than a dozen ended up in recycling instead of a new home. I guess that makes me a benevolent liquidator.

For me, books are a symbol of freedom and transformation. They opened my mind and changed my life and I want others to share in that opportunity.

Gail Rebuck, British House of Lords, Nov. 6, 2014

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