I’ve been thinking about books.
When I nurse Aidan, I sit right next to our shelves full of books. The books I’ve read repeatedly and loved (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Passion, Writing Down the Bones, Eloise), the books that have faded in my memory that I’d love to read a second time (The Heart of the Matter, Look at Me, Angle of Repose), the books I’ve meant to read and derive pleasure from just having them around (Middlesex, Underworld, the biography of Vladimir Nabokov), the books I refer to (Story, Natural Baby, various film encyclopedias and textbooks). And then there are the art books: big, heavy, gorgeous books packed full of paintings and photographs that my husband is addicted to buying.
I love my books, but in bulk they become heavy objects that are a pain in the ass to pack and to lug. We have gotten rid of so many books in the course of our moves: when I moved from 10th Street to 11th, when Harlan moved in with me, when we moved to LA. We sold books and donated them and left them on street corners, and each time broke a little piece of my heart.
And here we go again. Which books am I supposed to bring with us to Boston? Which should I leave? Which should I trash? Which should I put into storage? I feel like it’s a philosophical conundrum, as if determining which books stay and which go will somehow dictate whether this move is temporary or permanent. Like if we bring all the travel books for places we aren’t likely to go any time soon, does that mean we’re committing to a lifetime in Boston? Or maybe the opposite will be true: just because we lug every last page of every last self-help book and pregnancy book and book about day trips around Los Angeles, Harlan will get offered a dream job teaching at UCLA or shooting Quentin Tarantino’s next epic, and we’ll have to lug them all back again.
So do I bring the books about pregnancy in case I get knocked up? What about the ones on loft living and garden design that got me through this renovation and the one in New York but probably won’t serve me in a rental in Boston? How about the chick lit collection that could inspire me through my next literary adventure? I have no fucking idea.