Thursday, August 22, 2013

On Being a Minimalist

First of all, a full disclosure: I am not a minimalist. I have STUFF. Too much STUFF. But there are many days, when I really feel like getting rid of everything, except for bare necessities. One fork per person. We can all eat from the same pot.... just think, there would be almost NO DISHES to do!!!

My minimalist wanna-be completely breaks down when it comes to books. I love books. Even though I have an e-reader that I use a lot, I can't seem to let go of physical books... shelves upon shelves of books... I hardly ever read them, they gather dust and take up space, but oh, I love them so... I have some books from my Grandmother (she brought these to the US from Ukraine back in 1995). They are good books: volumes of Pushkin and Kuprin. Yes, I can get all of these on-line for free.... but it will not be the same, you see, my Grandmother owned these books, she held them and read them (and so did my Grandfather, so so did their children). I have books that my parents and I brought with us when we immigrated in 1994... They are special: out of hundreds and hundreds of books that we had, we chose a few select ones to take with us. The rest were sold or given away. I have books from college that I remember picking out at second-hand bookstores. I have old textbooks that probably will never be used again - but I just can't throw them out... that would be too much like Fahrenheit 451. And then, there is my husband and his books. My husband, who never throws anything out... We even have some doubles. "Master and Margarita". Mine is in Russian, his is in English. Brothers Karamazovi - again, in two languages. Ulysses... both in English... we haven't agreed on whose copy is superior and gets to stay on the bookshelf.

Children's books - I have a passion for children's literature and I just keep buying more. It is like an addiction. Perhaps, I will manage to sift through the collection and donate books we never read or that we got as gifts and I happen to strongly dislike (there are some really bad baby books out there).

Books are pretty much my only weakness when it comes to worldly possessions. I don't care much for clothing, electronics or jewelry. I can happily live without fancy china or silver. I am more than happy to donate or sell all of the above if I know someone will use it and enjoy it more than I do. But books... who is going to love my books the way I do?

Do you prefer an e-reader or leafing through the pages of a physical book? Does having a large collection of books make you happy? Do you keep your old books from your childhood - and do your kids read them?