NPR’s Fresh Air had the most delightful author – Penelope Lively – on in March 2014. She was asked, in the course of the interview, why she kept all her books (she has a large collection) when it is unlikely that she will re-read many, if any.
Her answer: that they charted the course of her intellectual life and bidding them farewell would be to lose a part of herself.
I thought that a grand answer. Books are friends who, in her words, “wave to us from the shelves”. And I thought to myself as I drove along – I can’t part with my books any more than I can part with my true friends.
Like her, I may not re-read many of them but they remind me of places and ideas and people; and those things I’m not willing to lose.