Farewell to the Penguins-Part I

snip20161229_1After considerable thought and having way too many books in the house, I have sold my main collection of the Penguin collection.  I packed up 13 cartons of the books the other day and a local bookseller has bought the lot of the main series. It is close to 1000 books.I also have removed the small collection of Pelicans I had.

However I continue to save many of the books in the other series of vintage Penguins. I will keep everything else you see listed above, the poets, the classics, the Kings, the Puffins (maybe). I will also keep the ephemera.

I have had too many books that aren’t Penguins packed away in many boxes and in the drawers under the bed.  At night I found myself waking up and thinking, “There is too much in this house.” I am approaching the next decade of my life in another three years and I need to get rid of things while I am still able to lift and move things.

When I talked to the store owner I had to fight back tears as I have loved collecting them. I ask myself why I kept them in the first place. Answer: to keep them out of landfill.  As many of them came from the Tip shop I have achieved this goal.

I had contacted libraries and a museums but nobody has enough staff to catalogue them all and transportation of 13 cartons to the mainland is too much for me to handle. The cost would also be considerable. The man who bought them is a youngish guy and he loves books, probably more than anyone I know. (outside of myself). He has coveted these books for a long time.

I worry that if I or Mr. P left alone one day, we do not want to have to deal with this massive collection at that time. One must be pragmatic and realistic about the older years.

The exciting thing is the shelves are now filled with beautiful books I have collected that are not Penguins and the books I really do want to read and write about.

I have one whole wall devoted to built in shelves that will keep these books. I have had four additional full size book shelves full of everything else. One bookshelf is in the hallway and has my old book collection which I love. John Steinbeck first editions, Hemingway, Jack London and quite a few other older things. I have collected old hardcover books of dog adventure stories from 1800’s to 1950 longer than I have collected Penguins. I will spend some time with them and share those with you. I collect them mainly for the illustrations that are wonderful. They are books too that I would read.

Of the three bookshelves that are portable in the front library room two of them will be sold. I will have more room now for my computer, desk and furniture. It won’t be so cramped. It won’t be so cluttered.

It is true what ‘they’ say about clutter causing stress. My stress levels were starting to rise as I could not adequately control the amount of books I had. In the past couple of years including the Penguin sales I will have removed about 2000 books from this house. I probably still have between 500 and 800 books left but they all fit comfortably on the shelves. If they don’t fit then they will have to go.

As I read through some of the books I own I will be giving some away through the blog. I won’t need to retain most of them once read. 2017 will focus heavily on my own books. I am looking forward to it.

Part II of this post will talk more about the excellent experiences that have happened to me through this collection.

I will feel sad for awhile but once they are gone I will be happy to begin reading the books that have been in storage for so long and if there is room add a few more??





22 thoughts on “Farewell to the Penguins-Part I

  1. I’m glad to see, from the comments, that you don’t feel distraught over the sale – I was about to come and say well done for being so brave about a difficult decision. I’m sure the man you sold to is thrilled!


  2. Oh dear! A very big move. I brought my Penguins with me from the UK to Melbourne two years ago and they are growing in number. I can’t imagine them going somewhere else just yet but I get your decision.

    Another reason to visit Tas in January, then!


  3. What a wise and brave decision you have made. Lovely as books are there does come a point where they weigh us down and we have to pick the very best fill the limited reading hours we are given in a single lifetime. I’m trying to thin out my library but it isn’t easy.


  4. Aha! Here an answer to my questions in part II (lol). I read i. Feedly and get the latest first! I understand fully. I have been moving from country to country for some years and books are heavy to handle. I have given away thousands of books. Still have to many, and while moving again I really choose which books to keep. Like Kondo Marie, I take the book I have read, feel it, look at it and ask myself if I should really keep it. It feels good to know that you can give ot away. Decluttering, I think, is the word today. In your case somebody else will be able to buy the books and enjoy them. You have given pleasure to other readers.


  5. Very, very brave and this must have been difficult. I am facing the same thing – OH and I need to downsize as we get older and get rid of all the clutter in the house, and that will mean addressing all the books. I am taking volumes to the charity shop most weeks, but it really doesn’t seem to be making a dent…


    1. I think it is more practical than brave. I have enjoyed them for a number of years. Now it is time for someone else to enjoy them. I still have the other series that I really love. Those can live with me awhile yet.

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  6. [J+D] We feel your pain. We really do. We’ve moved house so many times over the last 40yrs together, and each time we’ve faced something like this, perhaps on a smaller scale, but painful nonetheless. But that means we’ve also had many opportunities to discover how letting go of some things opens up space (physical or mental or both) for the new. We’re not currently expecting a move of house, but we’ve lived here in Uist for 14yrs (how on earth did that happen? we can’t account for all of those!) and we sense our lives are getting cluttered up like never before. Most of what we have is used in our various micro-businesses, but it nonethless clutters up our lives, and not least our home! We wish you the very best in making use of your new freedoms!


    1. It is quite liberating to get rid of a lot of things. I think the wardrobes will be next but that has happened a couple times in the last couple of years. I still have an enormous amount of books and as I put them on the bare shelves I realised how much I loved seeing them again as most are unread. I have my job cut out for me now. Read and release is my new motto. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It seems that as we get to a certain age, a lot of us start thinking about these things. I don’t want to burden my nieces with getting rid of all my ‘stuff’. I no longer buy beautiful books. I only buy paperbacks or non-collectible (in my opinion) books. When we moved, I gave about 30 boxes of books to the library, so now I have my core library, like you do, and stacks of paperbacks, and I don’t care what happens to them. It’s hard to part with things you’ve lived with for a long time, not hard to part with new gifts or acquisitions.


  8. it can be sad, getting rid and paring down; we’ve been going through this peripatetically, also… but it’s something that age does to one, i think, the needing to simplify one’s life…


  9. Oh good for you Pam. I am truly impressed, but am glad you’ve worked out a compromise re still collecting some Penguins. I absolutely, completely and totally (haha) agree with you re confronting our older years. I’m in the process of turning my head around on this. We can’t take these things with us, and leaving them to others who have their own lives to deal with is not reasonable (says she who has just don’t a mammoth cleanup over the last year of my hoarder-aunt’s home). My mother, who is downsizing to a retirement village in the next couple of months and has been decluttering for the last few years, told me that she is going to start using her nice cups and saucers. She says she might as well break them as anyone else!

    One of the areas I’m starting is the TBR. I have two or more bookcases of them and I realise that I am never going to read them all.

    Like you, my stress levels are rising about all this stuff … so most days now I’m decluttering, books, clothes, linens, ornaments, and all sorts of other bits and pieces. And soon I think it will be the photo albums, those whose images we’ve scanned anyhow. We’ll get there, eh?


  10. It seems a great shame after all the time, energy and focus you’ve devoted to the hunt, but of course you must do whatever makes you comfortable. I’d be interested in buying some of the Puffins if you decide to sell them. Best wishes,


  11. I don’t know what to make of this. I do understand but I liked knowing there was a giant collection of Penguins out there in the world. We do not have these in America. Still, I think everyone who has a collection of any type, myself included, knows that one day they will have to break it all up and let someone else have a chance at collecting them again.


    1. There are still a few giant collections of Penguins in Australia. If it makes you feel better I set aside the science fiction Penguins, 5 or 6, and will contact you soon to see if you have them. Will post them to you if you don’t.


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