What About Books?

What about booksI get this question a lot.

When people learn about our minimalist lifestyle it’s one of the first things they ask, “What about books?”

It’s mean, but I usually counter with, “What about getting a Kindle?”

You know, just to mess with them. It’s priceless.

Proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks, Sporty’s Mom eventually came around to our minimalist way of thinking and has over the past few years let go of a goodly amount of stuff.

Considering she’s in her mid-seventies and at an age where most old ladies are surrounded by cats and plastic bags, I’d say that’s pretty damn impressive.

Her openness to downsizing, does not, however, extend as far as her books. Books she’s lugged from home to home, province to province and even continent to continent.

Some she revisits, but most sit idle on her bookshelves. As do the books of almost everyone I speak to. They get that it’s unreasonable, but yet they cannot bring themselves to let go.

Why Are We so Attached to Books?

As kids our parents read bedtime stories to us, and in doing so introduced us to the rather novel idea that there are worlds out there beyond our own.

As if that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, we quickly discovered that these worlds were infinitely more fun and exciting than our own. Magical even. And all we had to do to visit them was open a book.

Is it any wonder then, that we’re so attached to books?

Well no, except that it’s not the books we’re attached to.

We’re Attached to the Memories Created While Reading Said Books

In the early part of 1995 my seven-year relationship was spluttering to an end. Around the same time I happened upon a dog-eared copy of The Talisman by Stephen King.

I’d never read anything by him before and was instantly hooked. For the next couple of weeks I lugged that tome with me everywhere.

Now it’s definitely a juicy read, but I believe there are reasons beyond that, which have seen it remain my favorite book of all time (so far).

There’s the obvious: it saw me through a bumpy patch in my life.

But there’s also the not so obvious: it reminds me of my Mom.

She came to spend a weekend with me during that time and I have such a clear memory of us hanging out together in the lounge. Me lying on the couch engrossed in The Talisman and Mom…I’m not sure what she was doing, maybe reading a magazine or knitting, but the point is she was there when I needed her.

To this day if I catch sight of that book or someone mentions the name I find myself instantly transported back to that Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the thing though, I don’t need to own a copy to enjoy the trip.

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