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Relocating -- with Books!

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Monday, Sep 8, 2008

When is the last time you packed up your apartment, or house, or bedroom, and had to deal with relocating your books – or deciding to leave some behind?


A week ago I made a 13+ hour drive across three states and two provinces (there being a national border in between those) to a new North American city and a new housing situation. Fitting a dozen boxes of books into the car was not an option (unless one can do without clothes) so I had to cull the collection and leave some behind.


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Part of the trick, I think, is to not get stressed about it. I packed up about two boxes of my absolute favorites (Roald Dahl’s Matilda hasn’t been opened in years but she’s always there if I need her), the core texts used in my MA thesis a few years ago (like Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams and Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow), and then a selection from those picked up at used book sales this summer.


I need something to read in-between assigned graduate texts and journal articles, after all.


Just for fun I threw in my MLA Handbook, sixth edition. Might come in handy. Soon my shelves will be filling up with borrowed library books, and I’m fortunate that in October visitors from home will be bringing a few boxes I had to leave behind in August. I can’t imagine having to give up some of my best loved books forever. Have you ever had to make tough decisions when moving long distance or downsizing your library? Or are you able to just walk away and figure that there will always be another book shop or library sale to help rebuild the collection?

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