My books are my wealth*

I do not believe in throwing out books. It is an article of faith with me, acquired from Kyle, that you should treat your books with reasonable care because they are going to end up with somebody else when you are dead.

That said, a few summers ago we hired a junk-removal company, and I deaccessioned about a fourth of my books. They filled about thirty grocery bags. I gave ten bags to the City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library and let the junkers take the rest, probably to the trash. That’s something I have to live with (along with the similar fate of my late mother-in-law’s lusterware). The truth is that Kyle and I have way too much stuff to deal with in a principled fashion. We leave it alone until we have to move or clean it, and then we bumble through as best we can.

Today I am cleaning my room so that it can be fumigated on Monday. Despite changes in my reading habits—I now give away books I didn’t like, rather than keeping every single one, and I’ve started rereading—I still own enough books to fill at least five 35-gallon plastic bins. Probably more, which is unfortunate because we have run out of bins and it’s only Wednesday. My books are dusty, dirty and in some cases covered with the cast skins of dermestid larvae. (Dermestid or carpet beetles are unbothersome tenants and, because they eat dead matter, useful in taxidermy.) They are unwieldy and of little monetary value. I will never read most of them again. They are making this task damn near impossible. And there are just too fucking many of them. But they are my wealth.

(*I am wealthy in many ways. Books are simply the most physically inconvenient form.)