Paper On Fire….Or Not

burningbookI recently started the much self-threaten task of cleaning out my basement. The contents of my basement are unique not because it’s some mythical “Warehouse 13” full of powerful artifacts, but because some of the stuff down there was left from the previous owner as well things I have not seen in a while. By the way, I only recently noticed that the clothing store “Men’s Wearhouse” has a different spelling from the traditionally large building that stores wares, or a warehouse.

Let’s start with my crap……er, ah junk…….possessions. I don’t consider myself a pack rat per se, but there are certain things I have more trouble throwing away than usual. I know I’m not alone in this. The first are books. I love books and as much as I love buying on Amazon, I will miss the bookstores. I was a frequent visitor for the sake of browsing and had no problem buying books that I knew deep in my heart I would never read. Some of those books are spread throughout the house now, and I love to pan through them as much now as I did the day I bought them. These are not the books buried in the basement. Those are a stack of books loaded on a shelf behind the half-empty paint cans that I keep just in case I have to reference the color to touch up the dining room walls 10 years later (oddly enough, that  actually is the truth, and has worked out quite well). Some are old paperbacks that I enjoyed reading so much, I continue thinking I’ll keep them around for when I want to read them again, but these are not my favorites, and are probably stricken from the re-read list, so now they’re collecting dust and moisture damage.  I also keep thinking I’ll give them to others, but they continue to sit there.

In retrospect, I don’t keep a large number of books in my house. Many times after I read an amazing book, I can’t wait to give it to someone else so they can be just as amazed as I was. This is a tradition that dates back some time, and has served me well.  In high school, my brother, my friends, and I often read and traded books on the city buses we rode to school each day for 4 years; granted, they were not the books we were supposed to read for class, but they were every bit as important. Another time in high school, some friends turned me on to one of my favorite books, “This Perfect Day,” which by some strange twist of fate was required reading by an English teacher I didn’t have that semester. Literally “not able to put it down.” I placed it inside my larger literature book that we were supposed to be reading in class one day, and continued to blaze away. Suddenly ambushed with questions by my teacher that I wasn’t able to answer, I was given detention after school. It didn’t matter, detention is a place I did more homework than home, and I spent the time continuing to read This Perfect Day.  It must run in the family. I remember my brother telling me he bought and read Jonathan Livingston Seagull on the way home from high school one afternoon. Years later, I picked up his same book and read it. During my Navy days, my shipmates and I would usually buy several books before a long deployment and swap them around after we read them. On the “book rebound,” you often were exposed to the off taste of others; be it Sidney Sheldon (who I just found out wrote “I dream of Jeanie”), or the autobiography of Phil Donahue.  As the old saying goes, “I would rather read a train schedule than have nothing to read at all.” This is especially true cruising around the Indian Ocean for 3 months.

Meanwhile, back in the cellar, not only do my old books pile up, but so do the hardcover books of the woman who owned the house before me.  I’m not sure if they have any monetary value, but there are plenty of them. Flat-out tossing them is “unsettling ,“ and sometimes there’s this old creepy feeling that if I was to burn them in the backyard fire pit during a summer bonfire, that would make me either a Nazi or at least one of the crazy town people in the movie “Foot Loose.”

I have decided to find a donation center; either a library, or second-hand book store to give them away. If I don’t follow through on this for the books, there will be no way I can discard the objects of my next blog; Religious Collectibles……………you might need to be sitting for that one!!!!

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