Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Purging the library

When I was young, my biggest wish was to have bookcases covering the walls of my living room. I loved reading and I went to the public library several times a week. Then I moved to Luxembourg and there was no library nearby (besides I found out that most of the Luxembourgers don't like to keep their books in the living room). That's when I started buying books, lots of them.

When I started decluttering and downsizing last year, I decided that I needed to take a closer look at my bookshelves too. I realized I didn't need to keep every single book I read and dust it off for the rest of my life (just to make me look smart). I started to purge the books I didn't like first. Then I brought a whole pile of old smelly paperbacks to the recycle center. Some weeks later I was ready to let go of the books that I read once, but would never read again.

I still had a lot of books left. Until both my washing machine and my dryer (can you imagine?!) broke down and they didn't get the new machines around the corner upstairs, where I have my bookcases. They said I had to move them. "Vous n'êtes pas sérieux?", I asked hopefully, but unfortunately they were. They "helped" me by taking out big piles and dropping them somewhere. So when they left me with all my books on the floor, I decided that this was the final round. I cleaned them and sorted them out. I have - of course - kept all the unread books and I forbid myself to buy new ones until I have read each and every one of them (can someone block my Amazon account please!). The books that earned a place on my bookshelf are special to me, I love and re-read them.

Let me show you some of the books that made it onto my bookshelf.

I have many books about Africa, and the interesting thing is that I bought most of them long before we adopted and fell in love with the continent.

I LOVE LOVE Kobie Krüger's The Wilderness Family. She writes about the magical years as wife of a game warden at South Africa's Kruger National Park. I loved every word in this book. We really have to go there someday and show the kids this part of their roots.

Another book about South Africa (I think there is no such thing as coincidence): Rae Graham's White Woman Witch Doctor. This is the autobiographic story of her life in South Africa and her rigorous ten-year apprenticeship to become a witchdoctor.

I dreamed of Africa. I have read this book several times. A beautiful and sad story of an Italian woman whose life is driven by love of Africa.


  1. I have a weakness for books too, but I've been purging some of mine too. We can donate our old books to our local library and they sell them to raise money for new books, so that's where I take mine. I'm not sure I can keep myself from buying new ones though!

  2. The Wilderness Family is one of my most favorite books. I love giving it as a gift, I have never found anyone who didn't love it.