Last week, I introduced this topic. Today, I will define it. Like its well known, potentially more useful sister, AA, BA is a 12 step program.
This 12 step program, unlike other, similar programs, is not intended to cure you of your bookaholic habits–it is merely an attempt to help control and/or focus them. With this in mind, continue reading for my suggestions.
12 Steps for Bookaholics:
1. Evaluate your monstrous book collection with the following questions in mind: what books are important to you? What books have you/ will you read multiple times? What If you could only take five of your books on an island, which ones would you take? If you had to sacrifice a book to save your mother’s life, which book would it be?
2. Once you have established what books are the MOST important to you, attempt to rank your other books in order of importance by repeating step one.
3. Root out any books that you have had for 3 or more years but have never–and never will–read. Look for self-help books, that Christmas gift from Aunt Janie entitled “12 Sweaters for every Personality”, old school textbooks that are irrelevant to your field of study (Like that Algebra 101 book)…
4. Do you have a bajillion duplicates? I’m betting some of those should be rooted out too.
5. Out-dated writing manuals (except the REALLY helpful ones)can be removed from the shelves.
6. Set aside all of those books you’ve separated from your general collection. Your shelves now look almost bare. Okay, not really…you have way too many books for that, but you feel the empty spots in your heart. Take a break from this painful task and celebrate, you are halfway to your goal!
7. Put your freshly separated books into boxes. You may have “empty spots” now, but encourage yourself with the thought that you may have made room for a book you will need/love.
8. Go through your collection again, keeping steps 1-5 in mind. Also, check for cookbooks you will never use, auto-repair manuals for the vehicles you no longer own, 50 year old encyclopedias, etc…
9. Remove any books that managed to slip by your watchful (slightly delusional) eyes during the first round.
10. Put said books in boxes with the earlier de-shelved books. Take a deep breath. You are almost done! Promise yourself chocolate, coffee, steak, whatever it takes to keep going. (Hey, I never set out to help with ALL substance abuse–only the kind that can give you paper cuts).
11. Get rid of all of the precious boxed books. Fine, go through them to make sure you didn’t inadvertently toss out Aunt Irma’s memoir first, but DO NOT keep anything else! Give them to needy, bookless people. Leave them at a Goodwill. Donate them
12. Remember this painful process the next time you see a bookstore, booksale, garage sale with alot of books. You get the picture. You will still buy too many books, so, repeat the process every so often!
I know, many of my steps are not actually just one step. I’m an English major, not a math major!