Yesterday I decided to part with a half-dozen books. All but one of them had sat unread on my shelves for years, positioned at that unfortunate crossroads of genuine interest, good intentions, and low priority. Such are my shelf space problems, though, that I had to face reality at last, and they now are all in the book box that I take to my local used bookstores to exchange for trade credit.
Culling my collection is always an experience that leaves me a little sad. Every single book I place on one of my selves I do so with a sincere goal of reading it someday and the expectation that even after I do so I will want to own that book for years to come. Though my interests evolve and some of the books have waited to be read for so long that they've been superseded by better ones, every time I remove one it feels like a small betrayal of those intentions and a loss of everything that I would have gained from reading that particular title. It helps that I will still have access to all of them through my library (Inter-Library Loan is truly one of the best things about our modern age), but the day might still come when, should the opportunity arise for me to read one of the books that I'm giving away, I may regret having given away the copy that I once owned.