I find giving up a book really difficult. Every book I’ve bought for myself, or been given, is not only imprinted with words, but also my emotions and moods at the time/s I’ve read the story.

Certain books are landmarks in my life, and other books are like tourist destinations that I enjoy revisiting. Some I’ll only ever read once, but the memory is so powerful I don’t want to lose the memory – it’s like a photograph of a happy trip.

Alice in Wonderland is a fair weather friend, Ulysses marks are very tormented time in my life. Any Gabriel Garcia Marquez book triggers a warm and happy memory, whilst The Master and Marguerita reminds me of one of the most pivotal growing periods of my life. I like to take the Le Petit Prince out when I’m feeling whimsical and Virginia Woolf out when I’m analytical. Jeanette Winterson comes out when I feel complicated and need placating, and Margaret Atwood when I’m feeling lost.

My books are my friends. I can give them away to other friends if I think they’ll get as much out of the story as I did, but I struggle to throw them out or trade them in. So I’ve decided to release them into the wild (not unlike the Book Crossing program, but I’m too busy to give them all id numbers)

So now I’m saying good-bye. I’m giving my old friends a new lease on life – I can’t keep them all – I don’t have enough storage space… So I spent most of last night choosing a handful of my favourites to keep, and reading through inscriptions and browsing through favourite passages of books I’m letting go.

The exciting part is the new collection I’ll create overseas – the new books that will mark a whole new world of experiences for me, the new stories waiting for me to discover them.

So watch out for a strange book sitting in your doctor’s surgery, at your local café or at the bus stop. You might pick up one of my life’s landmarks!

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