A Case for the Burning of Books


To the horror of my bibliophiles friends everywhere, I am going to make a modest, yet heretical proposal that we should start taking certain books out of circulation and toss them in any of 1) the fire, 2) the recycling bin or 3) the trash.

Some treat books as sacred objects and once we bring them into our homes, we feel we have an obligation to effectuate a joyous experience reading them.  This is all well and good if the book jives with our personal tastes, but what if it doesn’t?

If reading for pleasure but not actually deriving any pleasure was a waste of joy, a waste of life and a waste of opportunity why continue trying to read that book?

If you have ever found yourself with three or more books on the side of your bed, ask yourself why does that happen?  Odds are, you are not enjoying one or more of those books and have at some level moved on; except for that belief system about the sacred/social obligation keeps that book on the nightstand and keeps us trapped, feeling that we have to finish it.

We start rationalizing and saying things like,  “I’ll finish it later”, “maybe it will get better”, or  “Carol gave it to me, I have to finish it”.  Unless that book is owned by a library, pick it up off the floor and discard it as soon as you realize you aren’t advancing the reading of it.  Free yourself of the encumbrance and open yourself up some other book you might actually enjoy (this applies to personal relationships too, but that’s a blog  for another day).

Some of you will say, “oh, I can’t get rid of a book, I will put in the garage and donate it to the library or give it to some charity to sell”.  Don’t waste your time and energy, dispose of it immediately.   There is an abundance of books in circulation, never pass on a bad book! Donate or sell only good books you enjoyed. Consider it a form of literary natural selection.

The world won’t end.  You will only be create room for something better in your life at the cost of something you weren’t enjoying.

Happy New Year.


A Case for the Burning of Books

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