Don’t Burn Books, Write In Them

My last post reminded me of a great post at Friendly Atheist last month.  A former Christian was torn about what to do with her once much beloved Left Behind books which she now deemed too worthless to keep and too corrosive to donate to impressionable young girls.  She, like me, has also has a thing against destroying books, which rules out that option.  Hemant Mehta’s Solomonic advice:

I suggest keeping them around, marking them up with your thoughts, and then making the donation to a lovely Christian bookstore. I’m sure a youngster somewhere will be pleasantly surprised.

Of course, there’s always the option of following these bits of Richard’s interesting advice about how to convince oneself to get over the aversion to letting go of books:

Liberation! The moment I did it I felt so much better, like having a great big and long overdue crap. I went through my morbidly obese home library and I kept the classics, the valuable collector’s items, the still-current reference books and a couple of childhood memory indulgences. I gave the novels I’d finished to friends, donated appropriate ones that I would not need again to the library book sale, and having some empty space on my shelves, realized that those books I had kept were smiling back at me with their genuine value. My collection was more of a treasure, not less, because they were selected and kept for the value of their content, instead of stored mindlessly simply because they were books.

Thomas, If you find those old children’s religious books to be so vile that you shudder at the prospect of children finding and reading them, then let them be “born again” as paper bags and ceiling insulation. Save some trees. Unless you can find some kind of museum or institution that is dedicated to the scholarly study of religious schlock where they can be safely locked up, then help kids be safer by eliminating hazards like unexploded ordnance, bottles of caustic chemicals and to use your own word, “poisonous” religious junk literature.

Thousands of new, first edition books are printed each day, and thousands of books go out of print each day. Regardless of their subject, most of them are tripe. They were not worth printing in the first place, they are not worth reading now, and they will not be worth keeping to catch dust on shelves or in attics. Keep or share the few good ones, and toss the dross. They’re yours. You have the right to dump your books, just not somebody else’s. Don’t worry, somewhere, somebody else will be keeping their copy of the rubbish you cast off, but that’s their problem.

If you can’t bring yourself to destroy it, then somewhere along the way you have switched from assessing its value by its content to assessing its value by its physical form.

Get rid of clutter, claptrap and crap. Be free!

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