Watch this well-known bibliophile go through 1000 books he must part with

Originally published at:


I’m in the process of doing a cull after having stopped buying dead-tree books (except for must-haves. “Just this once…”). I know how he feels. “Bibliophile” is a euphemism for “bookaholic”.


I too have had to surrender a book collection. For someone who has moved around a lot, I try not to accumulate too many books anymore. A big library can be heavy burden. It’s like toting around bags of concrete.


I really want that Nick Cave book.


I think it was Harlan Ellison who said when asked “Do you actually read all these books?” “No, who wants a library of books you already read”


I’ve never had many books on hand. Usually, when I read a book, I’ll end up thinking of a person who I think might enjoy or benefit from reading it and I pass it on. It’s a personal policy that hopefully does a tiny bit of good.


Me at all times with my only true friends…



I finally got priced out of my rather large apartment, and had to move my huge record collection into storage (for years I’d told people it was around 4000, but after moving it and counting boxes it’s probably closer to 6000), so now I am trying to cull 1000 at a time, asking myself “why do I have this? Am I ever going to listen to it again?” etc. I think I realized I liked the idea of the collection as a whole, it wasn’t 5000+ records, it was one collection that represented . . . something.


Me, because i do have books i go back to read. Plus i want to be able to share these books with others, its a joy to me to be able to have someone discover something they normally would never have read and absolutely love it. You can’t really do that when you can’t quickly and easily give them the book. I’ve recommended books to people before and they never get around to reading them, but when you can pick it off your bookshelf and lend it to them that’s a moment i cherish.

I have had the rare circumstance of people not returning books but i can live with that.


I gave just gave way more than half of my library. It went to a social project, aka thrift store.

I hated it. I hate myself for doing it, and for having aggressions towards people who asked me to do it.

I cannot watch this video.
The idea makes me miserable.

Books were always there when I needed them. Now, I only got BBBBS.

I should read more books again.


Does anyone else find it soothing to see a clever person say that he’s not smart enough to read Foucault?


Which is to say, it feels awfully rare for anyone to admit that they have a ton of books that they have never and will never actually read. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one on the planet to buy a philosophy book, get stymied, but hold onto it in case I somehow get brainy enough to make a second attempt.


I keep asking myself the same thing. Now, I’m using a camera to take pictures of the things I’ve been keeping for far too long, and letting the things go where they will be used/useful.


I’m sitting here thinking, “pff, he’s a book gourmand. Why read or keep books that you don’t love or want to learn from?”

…And then I remember my own huge collection of music that I don’t particularly like, but that I’d be quite upset were I to lose… “No no, I might someday NEED that scratchy recording of Tater Tate playing Lost Indian!”


I’ve only read this one…


It’s… might I say, not very timely.


I’ve long run out of anyone who will take them.

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I completely feel that pain. So. Many. Books.

And eBooks! Good god! Back when I was on the wrong side of the law I (ahem) “acquired” enough ebooks to fill a few large libraries. And I just can’t delete them, even though I will never read them. It’s a sickness.

Even if we had a nuclear holocaust, and I was left with my books, nothing else to do, and indestructible glasses, I still wouldn’t have time enough at last.

Ah, my kindred spirits!


I can’t watch this. The very idea is viscerally upsetting.




I have two strategies for dealing with my library of books. First, once I’m done reading a book I try and keep it out in circulation among my friends for as long as possible, until nobody is interested in it anymore. Secondly, I put up a Little Free Library in front of my house, I’m lucky enough to have a house, and it’s in a high foot-traffic area. I use this to distribute books that I love to strangers. It’s not a perfect system, but I get a thrill every time a book disappears from my Little Free Library. It provides some motivation to actually read my books, so I can put them into circulation.