Surrounded by Books

Saturday, May 31, 2014
I am surrounded by books -- literally. This time each year I help with a huge book sale in my area. By help I
mean that 2 or 3 times a week I spend a few hours in an old warehouse where people drop off  boxes, bags and sometimes even suitcases filled with their old books. A lot of books! Last summer we estimated the sale offered 100,000 books. At the warehouse I sort books: biographies in this box, cookbooks in that box, kids books in that box, fiction sorted by author's last name. As the boxes are filled I move them to pallets, six stacks of boxes, five boxes high. And there I am standing at my sorting table amid these towers of boxes.

Sorting is a quiet and lonely task, punctuated by periods of talking to yourself. Sort of like writing. I wonder how all these books end up here. Why did someone decide they didn't need them on their shelf anymore? Did they not like the book? Do they need to make room for new books? Do they want to support the student programs the sale makes possible? Are they one of those people who only reads a book once?

It's easy to spot the books that were loved. They are worn from multiple readings, dotted with margin writing or have scraps of paper marking favorite passages. Then there are the ones that look like they just hopped of the bookstore shelf and were never opened. Or worse, they have a bookmark about 30 pages in making me guess at that point they were abandoned and left unread.

With so many books passing through my hands it's easy to wonder about my own writing. On good days I say to myself "Well, if all these authors got a book published surely I can..." On grouchy days I say, "With all these books on the shelves how will there ever be room for mine..." Thankfully my days are more good than grouchy.

Tell me, do you ever worry that your writing will get lost in the amazing number of books available? And do you donate your books to book sales?

Jodi Webb is a WOW Blog Tour organizer who is working on a historical fiction WIP. You can read reviews of the many books she reads -- some from the used book sale -- on Words by Webb. If you want to visit an amazing book sale this August come to the NIE Book Sale.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Jodi--Since I have not published a book yet, I can't say that my book will get lost amongst all the other books.

I DO get rid of books that I know I won't want to re-read (over and over). Sometimes I donate them to the dog rescue group I work with, and sometimes I take them to one of my favorite (used) book stores--Half-Price Books in Kansas City.

Even with thinning the herd, I still have shelves and shelves and shelves...and the sickness continues.

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