Sunday, January 29, 2012


The word of the day is: Nomad.

When I was fairly young, my grandfather got me a book called Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. I loved it. In fact, I bought every book Tamora Pierce had released, and then kept up with each new book she was releasing--including anthologies she was included in. In the houses I've stayed in since, it was easy to find where I kept my books, because there would always be an entire shelf dedicated solely to my complete collection of Tamora Pierce books. I've been particularly emotionally attached to the spot where my collection switches from softcover to hardcover--when I started buying the books as they came out.

This has been next to my bed ever since I moved to this house. It's been right there. I could pick up any Tamora Pierce book, reread any of them whenever the whim struck.

...It hasn't.

Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy Tamora Pierce. I still read everything she writes. But the thing is, I haven't been keeping the books because they're making me happy. I've been keeping them because I felt guilty about getting rid of them.

And so we come to the title of the article and the word of the day.

I'm heading off on my own soon. I'll have a home to go back to, should anything go badly, but that's the thing: I will have a place to go if. But if things go well, I will be moving between houses. I am not willing to buy two copies of the books, nor to move them. I'll keep reading, of course, and buy books, but I'll prefer the library for my reading. When one's house is the size of a dorm or a first apartment, renting often makes more sense than buying. There simply isn't space.

And there exists that fantasy about living in a house where I build a library, but there's another fantasy about travelling the world for the rest of my life. The joy of this moment in my life is not knowing--I don't know anything about more than half my life.'s time to send those books off. To those who are more stationary because their parents are, and those who have chosen to be so. Perhaps the books will cycle again. Perhaps they'll fall into an enormous collection, perhaps next to other editions of the same book. Perhaps some will be the book that some world-walker carries throughout all the travels. Perhaps they will sit and gather dust.

But, regardless, it makes little sense for me to keep so many books when I will be moving so much in the next decade of my life. And so, off they fly, to other hands and other eyes I may never meet. Bon voyage, mes amis.

This does not diminish my grandfather's gift. First of all, the books did genuinely give me pleasure for nearly a decade. Second, he introduced me to the author--and that's a gift that is still renewing.

I didn't get rid of all the books.

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