Book Purge.

It was time.

There were stacks of books sitting on the floor, for lack of space to shelve them. Even I could no longer deny it: a purge was required, my first in fifteen years (the last one was in college).

Quite aware that I lacked the willpower to do it on my own, I begged Lev to come over and help. He agreed, and showed up mid-morning with a bright smile and a ready whip hand — exactly what the situation called for. Our rule was that a book could stay iff I might reread it, refer to it, lend it, or recommend it to someone else. If a book did not meet at least one of these criteria, it was politely but firmly to be shown the door. (More than once Lev had to remind me of the rules.) We both fell into the trap of starting to read in and talk about the books, but fortunately always managed to extricate ourselves before it was too late.

Here’s Lev when we were nearly finished, with about two-thirds of the discards:

Lev, posing with the discard pile.

(There are a few piles not shown, from bookshelves elsewhere in the apartment.)

Afterwards, we used Lev’s car (because it’s both a sports car and a station wagon) to drive the books…

The books packed into Lev's car.

…over to Valencia Street, where we divided them between Dog-Eared Books and Modern Times Bookstore.

Neither store accepts computer books, so I emptied those four bags (containing mostly obsolete O’Reilly manuals, but also recent ones that I just finally had to admit to myself I’d never have time to use) into the free bin outside Dog-Eared Books. Then I went back inside to negotiate with the owner, made a quick trip across 20th street to Modern Times to ask a few questions, then back to talk to Dog-Eared a bit more… Meanwhile, every so often I’d glance outside at the free bin on the sidewalk, and see someone leafing through one of the computer books I’d just dumped in there. The whole process couldn’t have taken more than twenty minutes, tops, but when it was done, I looked over again at the free bin — and all the computer books were gone.

Tells you something about the demographics of the Mission district, don’t you think? They may look like hipsters, but don’t be fooled: they’re all working for Yahoo.

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