Want That Happy Feeling? Clean Out a Bookshelf!

One afternoon my husband disappeared. It seemed he had vanished from the face of the earth.

I eventually tracked him down in the Trauma Centre at Montreal General Hospital where he was lying on a board in a neck brace, one eye completely closed, lip swollen, beard caked in blood, face covered in bruises and cuts. The injuries from his fall on the ice led to complications that eventually meant we had to cancel our upcoming trip to the U.K.

My sister, obviously worried that I might become depressed after all the stress and anxiety and cancellations, forwarded me a link to an article about happiness and how to achieve it…positive thinking, controlled breathing, meditation… Yeah, yeah. Sure.

For me, there’s no better way to get back to a happier, airier frame of mind after periods of stress and worry than sorting my overloaded bookshelves.

That 1947 Encyclopedia Britannica is just gathering dust. A lot of dust. Two shelves’ worth of dust. We rarely (never) refer to it but keep it because it belonged to my husband’s parents. We have other things of theirs that we enjoy. Time to bid it farewell.

Encyclopedia Britannica - 1947

But what to do with it?

And with those books I know I’ll never read again?

And all those literary journals? I used to leave them in cafés around Montreal for others to discover, but kind baristas would keep them and return them to me the next time I went in.

There’s the local church bazaar of course, but that doesn’t happen until November. If I’m to find my happy feeling, I have to get them all out now.

So, off I go with the novels to the hospital’s Book Nook that I discovered during a break from the Trauma Unit when searching for a latte. The literary journals make their way to another Book Nook (Take a Book, Leave a Book) – this one in The Hive Café Co-Op in the Hall Building of Concordia University.

And the 1947 Encyclopedia?

Turns out no one wants an old Encyclopedia.

Put it in the recycling, I’m told.

Recycling? Really? Must I?

I hate the thought of any book going into the recycling.

But one volume a week, into the recycling bag it’s going to go.

Encyclopedia 1947


15 thoughts on “Want That Happy Feeling? Clean Out a Bookshelf!

  1. It is such a shame to throw out a book. I can’t do it either. But try to find a thrift shop or book exchange willing to take them. I hope that your husband recovers quickly but in the meantime a very useful pastime! Well done for turning a negative into a positive.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to read in the comments that your husband is recovering. Just reading the word Encyclopedia brought back a flood of memories. When I was in school, I remember going to the library to use them and sometimes the exact volume I needed was being used by someone else so I’d sit and wait for it to be available or try to find another book. Times certainly have changed when it comes to research. Now, it is only as far away as typing the topic into Google. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ohh, I love this for the way it’s written, not for the content. Not a merry time. I hope for his quickest recovery and that he won’t notice the encyclopedia missing. Immediately. Too much. And I love it how you were getting the books back that you’d left on purpose.


  4. That’s a good feeling indeed. I can’t bear throwing away books either, so I just leave them on a table we have in the hall of the building. Neighbours or their guests always take them, so I love that somebody else gets to enjoy the books and perhaps pass them on. But finding a home for the Encyclopaedia might be quite a challenge.
    On a different note, I hope your husband is well now…


    • I love the idea of having a table where one can leave books. How easy! I’m now waiting for the snow to completely disappear and the little local free libraries to pop up so I can distribute some more books. And thanks, yes, my husband is doing better. Just needs to build up his stamina. Once the weather warms up, he’ll be able to start walking decent distances again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad he’s doing better. I think we’re all in need of some nice, warm weather, for so many reasons. 🙂 Oh, and the book table is a sort of “everything” table – various things that are still in good condition, but we no longer need or want are occasionally left there. I think this way nobody feels uncomfortable about giving them a new home. Incidentally, that’s also how the table ended up there.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sad! I really feel there must be a better home for old encyclopedias. The information doesn’t get recycled! But do what you must to attain that happy feeling, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The plan was that each week I’d leave the volume out so I could look through the info. It hasn’t worked out quite like that as the print is very small so tiring to read and a lot of the information is in fact dated – although interesting from a historical point of view of course.


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