Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Parting with stuff

I'm staying at my parents' house and whenever I go to the basement to do laundry, I contemplate things I have stored there that I could give away. I have, for example a lot of old textbooks. One of the problems with the way stupid textbook companies make a new edition each year is not only that students have to spend way too much money on textbooks, but that the rest of us are left with these books. I mean, what a waste of paper and resources. These books are full of knowledge, yet are useless to students. The only people who could use them are rare people who want to read textbooks for fun. Where do I find those people!?
It just seems like too much effort for me to set up an Amazon.com Marketplace account to sell, for $13, a book for which I once paid $170.

So I put them on BookMooch. I know it will cost a lot to ship some of these books, but I'd rather give them to someone who wants them than dump them off at a thrift store or worse, in the recycling.

Anyway, within seconds, someone requested the book I was least willing to part with--the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. In 2005, I took a class called Harlem Renaissance with Abena Busia, who is a really interesting lady. (I mean, she's on Wikipedia!) (OK, it's in German, but there's an English entry about her sister! I could have sworn there was an English entry at some point; I thought my classmates and I read it.) Anyway, it was one of my favorite classes. The kind of class where I liked the readings and also felt like I was just learning so much, like my mind was being opened up or something. It was in this class that I first heard Bessie Smith, and I still listen to her music and regularly get other people hooked on her by playing records at parties.

But I realized that I need to pare down--that book is like 3,000 pages and as much as I loved what I read from it, the chances of me sitting down some day and picking up the Norton Anthology of African American Literature for light reading are kinda slim. Especially when I have access to so much through libraries, it just seems silly to hold on to every book that I might read. I don't need to own it.

So...siiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh as a big lesson is not hoarding things or holding on to things with excessive sentimentality, the first big that will be given away in my Giant Textbook Purge is my favorite, the Norton Anthology of African American Literature.

I'm also giving away the Northon Anthology of Poetry. The textbook of the first English class I ever took in college.

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