It's exciting to fill shelves with books when you're younger. It's fun to carefully peruse the shelves of old and used bookshops, with their random selections from sources unknown. But there comes a time when the gleeful cry of "You can't have too many books!" just makes you shake your head at the folly of youth.
Because books can be a blessing and a curse. It's a marvelous thing to want to know something and be able to reach up to a shelf and find something that even Google doesn't know about. But books are also physical objects with a certain weight, and a space requirement, and when they leave shelves and overflow into boxes, those can be some heavy boxes.
And they can be hard to get rid of, especially if they are ancillary to one's specialty.
At this point in my life, I really don't need any books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that don't have Sherlock Holmes in them. As much as we owe the man, I'm not really a fan of the fellow. I'll send him a mental thank you card now and then, but there are so many other new writers our their that need my casual reading time, and my Sherlockian reading time is, well, all about Sherlock.
So what does one do with boxes of non-Sherlock Conan Doyle books? Seems a pity to dump them on the local used paperback shop, library sale, or Goodwill store. (And you don't want to know what happens to books that fall down the food chain and are never bought. There's no magical library of unwanted books out there.) Knowing there's a special interest in a certain kind of book makes it harder to dispose of. And while there are folks interested in Conan Doyle works out there, are there currently enough of them to serve as owners of all the copies of The White Company in existence?
I'm having some doubts.
Would scattering old Doyle books to the winds encourage the reading of said author, when more genre specific works are out there? You might notice that I'm purposefully avoided mention of eBay -- dealing with random retail customers in any venue is something for those with tougher hides than me.
The great gap in Sherlockian weekend workshops and events hasn't helped matters -- grand gatherings are always good places to offload a few things to interested parties. And while 2022 was looking hopeful, the words "omicron variant" this past week have cast a dark cloud. But who knows?
For now, I'll probably do what I've done in the past: Fill banker's boxes and stack them in the corner of some room that shouldn't have any more bankers boxes in it. But those probably need to be dealt with before my back can no longer deal with a banker's box of books . . .