Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Books with inscriptions

It probably seems like I'm always writing about books - both what I'm reading, and how to keep books from overrunning your space. I love reading, and books themselves, so they occupy more of my organizing attention than crafting, for instance.

Here's a problem many of us have. We get books as gifts from friends, relatives, or even just acquaintances. They have written a lovely inscription, or perhaps just the date and a quick scribble. We thank them. We read the book (or not). Then we put the book on a shelf, and are never going to read it again. What to do when it is time to de-clutter the bookshelves? I have found those books that have been marked by the giver tend to stick around, for a few reasons. We feel more connected to them. We don't want to offend the giver (what if they should be poking around a used bookstore and see their own gift to us on the shelf!?!). The inscription might remind us of a happy memory associated with that person rather even more than the book does.

Obviously, you can always keep the book. However...I'd suggest that if the book itself is not meaningful, and the inscription isn't that meaningful, then it's perfectly fine to let it go. Like any gift, the giver was pleased to give it to you, and that's what's important. If the book isn't meaningful and the inscription is, you can do a couple of things. One, take a picture of the inscription along with the cover of the book and keep it with your keepsakes, then let the book go. Two, carefully trim out the page with the inscription using a straightedge, and keep it with your keepsakes, then let the book go. Either way, the positive association you have with the item doesn't have to stand it your way of a light and clutter-free bookshelf.

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