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Letting Books Go? Why would the English major do that?

Surprising, however, was how many books I was glad to send on their merry way, to another voracious reader who could make more magic with them.

For instance, Anna Karenina and War and Peace had been waiting dutifully for at least ten years. Sitting there, looking at me, accusing me of not being a good enough, smart enough reader to dig deeper than the occasional picking up and thinking about reading them, balking at the commitment.

I’m not saying that I will never read those famous literary treasures. But for now, I cast off the pressure, the expectation that to be the proper English major, I should not only be reading them, but discussing them pretentiously. I even said goodbye to Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth, which I loved, but really, will I read it again? Doesn’t the library have it? Okay, bye. For Whom the Bell Tolls? Did I finish that one? I flip through and find vague recollections. Why is it still here?

No, I’d rather read Anne of Green Gables again, The Last Unicorn, Dandelion Wine.

I’ve kept the spiritual advice of Thich Nhat Hanh, Caroline Myss, and Doreen Virtue.

The Secret. I covered over the readout on the scale with construction paper cheerfully announcing my “ideal weight.” I visualized myself skinny with all of my might, but somehow the cupcakes were what manifested on my hips. Oh, I threw that one in the “give away” box with glee.

I love to cook, but it felt good to shrug off the advice of Tom Colicchio, staring intently from the front cover, trying to gourmet up my inner chef. Though I adore Top Chef, MasterChef, and most things Food Network, my dream job is not in a hot kitchen or “searching for validation” on Chopped. (Have you noticed that’s what the majority of the chefs interviewed say? “I needed someone famous to validate me so I can feel good about my cheffy-ness.”)

I’ve been cooking by scent and intuition since I was about ten years old. I’ve been known to make something up from inspiration gleaned during the cooking shows. I decided to let go of a huge stack of brand new, shiny cookbooks that whispered that they knew better (and only to the tune of $12 earned at Half Price Books, but ah, the letting go.)

One thing that was a bit difficult to give away was my College Thesaurus. We’ve got and I was actually disappointed in college to find this book lacking, words I knew should be there strangely absent. But on our first date, my Love and I discovered the word “paroxysm” while flipping through the Thesaurus at 2am as he worked up the nerve to kiss me. Two perfectly paired nerds and the saurus. But does that memory still last without the ridiculously large, heavy book? Oh, yes indeed. Like I could forget that!

A bit more organized and focused, I’m not so overwhelmed when looking for the perfect book. Not so focused, however, that I can’t read about ten at once. I like to honor the mood as it strikes. But now I can find and see the books. This is good.
tidied book shelf

*Yes, those are floppy disks on the bottom shelf. Yes, they did eventually go…oh, those last weird remnants!