I have a rather large collection of books currently stacked on a table in my room. It’s not all my books–I have two boxes from Denison that I never really unpacked except to pull out individual books, and a couple bookshelves in the corner, mostly full of books from my childhood that don’t get read very much anymore. These are just the books that were lying around my room in various stacks before I began organizing; that is, books I have read/been reading/meant to read/acquired during the past year or so.
When I move to Louisville, I won’t be able to take most of my books with me. It would be silly to cart/ship a whole slew of books across the country when I have no guarantee I’ll be there more than nine months. (Luckily, there is a library close by, so new book acquisitions will not be a problem). But even so, I can’t bring NO books, because let’s face it, that would be even sillier, and also utterly unthinkable.
So here comes the only less slightly unthinkable challenge:
I have to CHOOSE MY FAVORITE BOOKS.
Basically I have to decide which ten or twelve or so books I want most to have with me over the next year. I was talking to my friend Holly about this, and she described these books as “comfort books”. I think that’s a pretty apt description–books that I have read several times over but that when I have a quiet moment and want something to read I will always turn to, like old, familiar friends. Rereading books is something some people don’t understand, but I love it–sometimes I stumble across a part I had forgotten about, or I see a thing I hadn’t noticed before, or I understand something I didn’t when I first read the book at age twelve. But sometimes it’s nice to just get lost in a familiar labyrinth of words, knowing that you already know the path through, but enjoying the journey all the same.
So this is my dilemma–which journeys will I want/need/miss the most when I move away? As may be obvious from the above picture, there are a lot of books that I love, a lot of books that I have turned to for comfort over the past few years, all for different reasons. How am I supposed to choose?
As far as moving questions go, it seems pretty frivolous. There are far bigger and more important questions to think about, like housing and budgets and groceries and transportation. But as any fellow book lover will know, taking a familiar book with you to a strange place is kind of like taking a piece of home. And I think having just the right bits of home with you in a new place can make a big difference.
So….now I just have to choose.