Crazyhorse Fiction Editor Anthony Varallo’s Editor’s Note to the Spring 2019 issue couldn’t be more timely. In it, he recounts a conversation with a colleague asking, “What do you do with all your books?”
A conundrum for most NewPages readers, no doubt, since being book people still means holding onto physical copies of books, no matter how many e-versions we could be reading also/instead.
I once envisioned the perfect adulthood as being one surrounded by books. I guess I also should have envisioned the time to read them all! Much like the Twilight Episode, Time Enough At Last, we here at NewPages find ourselves surrounded by books and literary journals with barely enough time to glance the covers and contents before another batch arrives in the mail.
We do make time, however, to read, to write reviews, to appreciate others’ reviews, and keep up with the literary world in general. Still – here are all these physical books.
Varallo [pictured] writes, “For many years, I acquired books with the idea that I was building a library. A library that would give me pleasure for years, I’d hoped, or a library that might be useful to others . . . “
We had also held such visions at one time, purchasing a dozen or so quality bookcases and having some built in. They quickly filled the office and spilled into numerous rooms in our home. And who read them? Did we have time? Did they even “look good” ? As Varallo comments, “I tell my colleague about the tower of books on my nightstand, the one that stretches higher than my lamp. I describe the books stacked horizontally on my bookshelves, not in the artful, decorative style you sometimes see in glossy magazines; these are stacks of pure necessity. Books piled on top of other books, sometimes bending the covers of the books beneath them.”
This is the reality of ‘too many books.’ Yes, there is such a thing as too many books. And the truth of the matter in our case is, they should be freed onto others so that they can be read.
We cleared off the bookshelves in the office. Cleared out almost every bookcase in the house. We boxed up books and magazines and donated them to various libraries, colleges, universities and K-12 classrooms in our area and a bit beyond (Hello Alaska friends!). After this initial clearing out, we are still met with a steady stream of books and lit mags that come through. It is our work, after all.
What to do with them? We have a plan hatching and look forward to sharing it with you later this summer. In the meantime, What do you do with all your books?