Why Books Were Hard For Me To Get Rid Of

When I was little we had a black lab named Stu.

Cute, huh?

Except it was short for Stupid.

And, that was sometimes my nickname that my Dad used for me.

When I was in school, I was in the same class as all the GATE kids.

However, I did not test high enough to actually be in GATE.

In high school, I struggled with math. After my sophomore year, I just stopped taking math since it caused my other grades to suffer.

I had to take remedial math in college before I could take basic college algebra.

I flunked Chem 101 in college. Mostly because I talked on the phone all night to my future husband rather than study.

I stopped going to college because I flunked that class and my major had many more math and chemistry classes in the future.

My Dad told me it was a waste of my time to go back to college if I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.

I went back anyway.


I stared in awe at the bookshelves in the offices of my biology professors. Floor to ceiling.  Filled with books that they would reference when I asked a particular question.

It just seemed to seemed so intellectual.

I wanted to be intellectual.



Aside from my science side I have a literature side.

I took honors English throughout high school and had one of the best English teachers. She read Shakespeare to us and would interpret it so we could understand what the heck was going on.

Again, literature was intellectual.

When we bought our first house I wanted a library with tall mahogany bookshelves that I could fill with my text books from my major and all of my literature books.

I guess I collected books.

It made me feel intellectual.

But then I started buying books that I thought a biologist SHOULD read or a literature buff  MUST read.

And they sat on my shelves for years.

Making me feel less intellectual.

So, when I read the article about hoarders that talked about the man with schizophrenia that had bookshelves full of books because without those books, he was just a man with a mental health problem, I could kind of relate.

Those books that used to be on my shelves made me feel like I was smart even though deep down I have always had an intellectual inferiority complex.

But one day, I sat down with those books and went through them.

What had I read that I would not reread?

What sat on those shelves that were read?

Which ones had I started to read and just couldn’t finish?

Did you know it is actually ok to not like a book? Even if you think you SHOULD/MUST read them?

E.O. Wilson’s “Diversity of Life” no longer taunts me and neither does “The Brothers Karamozov”.

I cleared those shelves, donated the books, and sold the shelves.

I refinished hubby’s shelves from his childhood and placed a few choice books that will always speak to my heart.

I look at those shelves with joy now.

I no longer shame myself.


I know a lot of people struggle with letting go of books. There is something very alluring about walls full of books.

We just love books!

We love what they symbolize.

We love to travel to far away lands within them.

The characters are like old friends.

However,  we don’t have to keep them all.

Especially when those books on the shelves are nagging at you rather than giving you joy.

Purging books can be an extremely emotional journey.

I invite you to just take a gander at your shelves.

Maybe even explore what the attachment is to every.single.one.

There might be some old friends there that you don’t even talk to anymore. Their friendship no longer a part of your current life.

And that is OK.

If you would like to try but are still having a tough time, reach out to me.

That’s what I am here for.

Remember, keep it simple.




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