Giving Books Away

by drpoppy

This blog is about collecting books. I find it very difficult to resist buying books I find interesting, and I tend to accumulate books at a rather alarming rate. I also have a difficult time giving up books, even if I don’t like them. I like to see the books I’ve read, and even remember the books I hate reading.

cat and box

My cat inspects the donation, hoping to be able to keep the box.

But recently, I was inspired by a blog post I read on Freshly-Pressed, which informed me of International Literacy Day, of which I am embarrassed to admit I knew nothing. I have given small monetary donations to local libraries, and I have dropped a book or two into a book drive box, and very occasionally, I have included a book or two in with a bag of old clothes I’m dropping off at Goodwill. But I realized that I have never made a book donation of more than two or three books at a time. So I decided to purge my bookshelves a tiny bit and send a donation to the Global Literacy Project which, I learned in my email exchange with the donations organizer, will be sent to high schools in South Africa.

Ok, I know this sounds pathetically selfish given that my last paragraph alludes to children who need books for their school libraries, but it honestly is hard for me to part with books. I have such a sentimental attachment to them. And I should be sending more, but I couldn’t part with them yet (maybe in a separate shipment). So I am posting a goodbye to the books I am sending out tomorrow.

First up: The Writer’s Presence

This is a collection of essays and stories I used when teaching first-year composition. I actually have an older edition, which I prefer and decided to keep (sigh). I have held on to this one because I felt bad about preferring the older version that my students would not have been able to purchase. What a strange guilt complex I have. Included in the package will be the teacher’s guide, so that the students will have all the answers.

Next: Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers

I have owned this novel for at least 15 years and never finished it. I hated the author’s writing style. But my best friend at the time of its purchase loved it, and I felt guilty for not liking it. (Hm, is this going to be a trend in this post?) Finally, I think it will be going to a good home. Maybe someone else will love it as much as my friend did.

The Best American Short Stories 1993

For about eight years of my life, in the 1990s, I religiously bought the Best American Short Stories collection each year and read it cover to cover. I was planning to donate all eight collections, but I kept looking on the back and finding one story I just couldn’t live without. Except for 1993. I guess that year just didn’t speak to me.

The Woman That I Am and International Women’s Stories

These are two very good anthologies that were given to me as gifts (guilt!), and which I read pretty thoroughly. The reason I feel ok about giving these away is that these anthologies were jumping off places for me: when I connected with a piece, I would buy the book by that author. So I have most of the material I really like in other places. I hope that other readers out there will do the same.

Lucky Child

This is a memoir that was chosen as a Common Reading book at a college I used to adjunct for (guilt! guilt!). The writing in this is not very good, but a middle school or high school reader might enjoy it, and the story is certainly compelling even if the prose is not. I just know I won’t ever read it again, so I might as well pass it along.

Doubles or triples of some favorites:

When going through my shelves, I discovered that — not even counting my “collectible” copies — I had two copies each of Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Wuthering Heights. I also had three — THREE — copies of Pride and Prejudice. That did not seem necessary. But still, my dear readers, I hesitated over those Longman editions — they are so pretty. I am proud to have had the strength to put them in the donation box.

Goodbye, books! I actually will miss you, even those of you I didn’t like. I hope you find happy new homes!