I had, initially, been taking them to my nearest charity shop, which I can walk to. After a few trips, I noticed that none of my books were actually on the shelves. I enquired about this, and was told that, unless the books were in pristine condition, and particularly if paperbacks, as new. they would not be sold in this charity's network of shops. What would happen to them, I asked, aghast. If of vintage interest (I did not bother to find out what qualified as vintage, being so disgusted with what followed), they would go to the vintage branch shop. Everything else would be sent to poor foreign countries that need books, or be pulped. That was my last visit to this charity, and henceforth I have favoured Oxfam, which takes anything and is grateful. I have seen my books on their shelves, and they put their books in order properly.
Above, this is what my upstairs bookcase in the spare bedroom looks like. It contains four sets of shelves like these, all floor to ceiling, all double stacked.
I have given some away to charity shops. The above biography is beautifully written, and I read and enjoyed it, but knew I would never need it again because I can't be bothered to actually read any novels by Trollope. I find them too long and boring. I might have persevered in my youth, when how to occupy the long hours of the day seemed a problem. Now that I am not even working, but no day seems long enough for all I want to achieve in it, life is too short for Trollope.
However, after several months of sorting and disposing, I realised I was becoming rather sad and unhappy. Nothing else having changed in my life, I came to the conclusion that it was because I had chucked out enough, and should stop. In fact, I concluded that I do not NEED to chuck out any more books. I was scraping on a sore nerve by trying to find more books that I could do without.
I've got rid of all the ones which were completely painless, and the next tranches which I thought to get rid of were causing me pain, and making me feel regretful in anticipation. Enough is enough.
This afternoon, I took back to the upstairs bookshelves three armfuls of books which I had brought downstairs ready to give away, but had found I couldn't get as far as doing so. I already feel much better. It's sort of the opposite of a purge.
If anything, what has been purged is the guilt about owning so many books, and the accompanying thought that I should reduce my collection. I feel a calm sense of satisfaction.