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Adlen Robinson: Confessions of a bibliophile

I have been a bibliophile, or a “lover of books” ever since I can remember. Did you know the word “bibliophile” was first recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1824?  

As a young child I absolutely loved going to the library, even though back in the day, the library was a far cry from the welcoming, bright and cheerful place it is today. Instead, there were older women with spectacles on the ends of their noses — always at the ready to “shush” you. 

In addition, you could only check out three books at a time. That was torture for those of us who could only dream of checking out a huge pile of books. Thankfully that rule was changed at some point and our four children grew up checking out as many books as they wanted. My only rule was you had to carry your own pile or bag of books.

As a child, I also loved book stores. I worry they will go away at some point, since it seems most people buy books online. That is a shame since one of my favorite things to do is wander around a book store and look for treasures. Used book stores are especially charming.

I bring up the subject of books since lately I had to do some book purging — something I rarely do and am not good at doing. We did some rearranging of my office and with most of the furniture created a home office for Paul in an upstairs bedroom. 

I bought a new desk, which, as a writer, is very personal and took me months to find the perfect one. 

With all of the furniture moving, I lost much of my bookshelf space, making it necessary for me to pick and choose which books would now occupy the smaller amount of bookshelf real estate I now have.

As I went through the five or six large piles of books, I realized many of them should probably be donated as I didn’t really use them anymore. Why was I holding on to a Latin dictionary from my college years? Ditto for a book of poetry from a college literature class. There were several books on training Labrador retrievers, although our sweet lab went to rainbow bridge years ago. Of course there were lots of fiction books I had no plans of re-reading.

And so the painstaking process of sorting through the books began. One of our daughters called during this process and when I told her what I was doing, she said she wanted some of the books. Like me, she has always loved reading and collecting books, so I was happy to hear her request and look for books I thought she might like.

Another pile became books to trade in for credit at my local used and new bookstore, Read it Again in Johns Creek. They are particular what books the accept, so I carefully went through the stacks to choose books for them. 

Another pile was for donating to several charities — non-profit organizations with thrift stores are also fun to look for books in. A bonus is they are usually inexpensive. Once I found a nearly new hardback copy of one of Julia Child’s cookbooks for $2. Score!

Once I got all of the books separated into piles, I moved them into the kitchen and labeled what books were going where. 

The books are still sitting there, but I am one step closer to loading them into my car and driving them to their new shelves until they are adopted. Some books really do seem to have personalities of their own. No wonder it is so hard for me to part with them.

Are you a book lover? Do you have books you cannot part with or do you consider yourself a book hoarder? I always love hearing from readers. Email me with your book thoughts.

South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at