Too Many Books
Reading a post a friend made on a writer’s website about paring down the size of her office reminded me of when I had to face this task many years ago. In her post she talked about having too many books, and how disposing of them, would be like saying goodbye to an old friend. However I think books are akin to money, you can never have too much, or too many of either. When it comes to money it is always being recycled in one fashion or another. We earn it, we spend it, and some of it ends up in a bank to be saved. When we spend it, it finds its way into someone else’s pocket, think of the quarters that someone painted blue and red onetime, they found their way all over the world. The same is true when we bank our money, the bank in one way or another recycles it back into the economy where it finds its way into yet someone else’s pocket. But how about those books, what becomes of them when we are ready to recycle
I had the same problem with books many years ago, and packed up well over 200 and drove them to a sailor's shelter in, Newport Rhode Island. I have often wondered in what parts of the world some of them might have ended up. It also gave me an idea for a short story, one about a particular book picked up by a seafarer, dropped off in another port only to be picked up again and again to continue its journey around the world. Oh the stories that book would have to tell.
What I neglected to mention in my reply was that in many of the books I had added several pages in the beginning as well as in the end, and in each started an entry of one sort or another, as well as adding my name and address in hopes that as the books were passed on from one to another entries would be made charting its course around the world, and that eventually one might find it way home to tell of its journey. Oh yes; what a story these books would now have to tell then.
Although none were ever returned, I was from the beginning left with so many questions as I parted with my old friends. I suppose first and foremost was; would any one of them ever be picked up and carried off to begin some great adventure? Then the rest of the questions filled my daydreaming head. Who would pick them up? Since their new home was a shelter for traveling sailors, who were they, where did they come from, where would their journey take them from here? Would the new owner speak only English, or as a world traveler would he perhaps unlike me, be multi lingual?
There is however somewhat of a happy ending for at least one of my old friends. Several years later I received a letter from a sailor in Singapore that had picked up one of several copies of Moby Dick I had donated and he told how he had carried it all over the world with him. That in itself was rather apropos I thought. In his letter he talked about how with English not being his first language, (ah another question answered) as well as other commitments, it had taken him over two years to complete the book. He also told how he was now going to pass the book onto a friend sailing around the world to begin yet another journey. One can only wonder, if I wait long enough might I someday learn of Moby Dicks latest adventures. Perhaps this time filled with additional intrigue, and romance? I guess only time will tell.