Days 365+112 booksAs our 44 year marriage evolved, we realized that my husband, Jim, enjoyed cooking and I didn’t. This fits us well in sort of a “Jack Sprat could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean” way. As our marriage progressed so did our accumulation of cookbooks. I dared not complain because, after all, I was happily not doing much cooking. Internally, however, I found myself annoyed at how much space cookbooks were taking up in our kitchen. It wouldn’t be so bad if Jim used them all but our diabetic son moved out over 20 years ago. Did we still need a diabetic cookbook? Did we really need cooking with kids and camping cookbooks anymore?

Besides, not only had our marriage evolved but so has technology. Jim now gets most of his recipes from the internet and our daughter keeps updating the “Vogt Family Cookbook” with recipes each Christmas. The marital compromise was that we would give away half of our 36 cookbooks. We also selected 9 other books that were nice but we knew we’d never read again. This barely makes a dent in our overall book collection but it’s progress.

While we were busy slimming down our book collection, the book gods were working in the other direction. One of our friends was struggling with wondering why bad things kept happening to him – a relatively good Jewish person. Obviously I had to get him, When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold Kushner. I assuaged my conscience by taking my 27 used books to our local half-price bookstore thinking it would be a zero sum game – pricewise. I lost, but I still felt good about unloading the books.

However, last night my husband found a cookbook at a Friends-of-the-Library sale. Well, 27 out, 1 in. Could be worse.

What criteria do you use for keeping or letting go of books?