I’m back! Maybe you noticed I was gone, maybe you didn’t, but if you’re wondering what happened, here you go: I packed two suitcases, left all my books behind, and moved to another country. Finding a new home and a job while getting used to having winter—among a bunch of other things new to me—takes time, so I decided to put a hold on blogging. But time has passed, life is finally getting back to ‘normal’, and I’ve missed blogging!
Abandoning my books gave me the weirdest feeling. While planning my move, I always thought I was going to be able to take one or two books, but in the end, I had to leave them all. I admit I went through these stages:
- Denial. I convinced myself time and time again that I was not going to leave them all. I said to myself to take at least one, no matter where I had to carry it.
- Bargaining. I moved things around in the suitcase and considered leaving some of my clothes behind to at least take my Pride and Prejudice copy.
- Acceptance. I realized that they weren’t the most important thing to take with me. I let go.
A FRESH START
It’s silly, but after letting go of my books I felt something like… relief. Some of them I gave to my aunt, others I left home, and the rest (most of them) I gave to one of my best friends. They are in great hands. It was a fresh bookish start for me!
I thought of all the books I could start my new collection with. I imagined getting the complete Harry Potter collection and beautiful copies of Jane Austen’s works. Then, I thought of the space in my new home. Would it have room for a bookcase? Would I have to move after a while and also leave the new books behind?
I considered, right there and then, to just get books I was certain to reread or skim again from time to time. Poetry collections were the first that came to mind. I love rereading those. Maybe short stories, too. But lengthier novels and non-fiction books didn’t feel so important anymore. I’m not a big rereader, after all. Maybe just my favorites?
WHY OWNING ZERO BOOKS FEELS SO GOOD
After coming to terms with how tight my budget really was and how getting a new collection wasn’t feasible in the near future, I felt it again—relief. Now I know where that feeling was coming from.
Even before actively partaking in the book community, I stared in awe at other’s book collections. The stunning covers, the cool new editions, the reread copies highlighted and overflowing with annotations in posts-its. I wanted that. I felt a pressure to have my own incredible collection that showed how much of a reader I was. I looked at my bookcase and never thought it was interesting enough.
But, clearly, your book collection doesn’t make you a reader. Reading makes you a reader. It’s no revelation, it’s a fact and an obvious one at that. But I got carried away by the Instagram feeds and the gorgeous pictures at blogs. In the end, it doesn’t matter how big your book collection is or which books and editions you have, what matters is your reading journey.
That’s why, after abandoning my books and owning ZERO, I felt that relief. I wasn’t trying to keep up with others’ collections anymore. Now that I live somewhere where libraries work, I’m in no hurry to start getting my own copies of books and I definitely feel lighter.