Vic and I just finished having new flooring put in my home office. As I was cleaning out a bookcase, I was reminded of my “book purging” that occurred a year ago. If you know me, I have a certain fetish for books. As a child, I always carried a “book bag” on vacation, was one of the top “book club” readers at my local library and always begged my sister to loan me money during the book fair! I went into a bookstore this week to pick up something for work and just couldn’t pull myself away from the bargain table. It’s a problem. I’m sure I need therapy.

Last year I decided my home library was just “too crowded” and I need to make some drastic reductions. One pile went to a church library, one pile was discarded, one pile went to my son’s expanding library and some went to my work office. (I actually had to do some purging there as well). I still have a lot of books, which brings me to this post. What books do you keep? Which ones should you never throw away? Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Classics. I just can’t part with the classics, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Huckleberry Finn” or anything authored by C.S. Lewis. These are books that stand the test of time.

2. Children’s books. Of all the books I own, my favorites are written for children. They bring back great memories and have been shared with children who come to my house. I actually have two secret stacks of children’s books–one in my son’s closet and another in the hall closet. I just can’t part with them. You just can’t throw away Dr. Seuss or Curious George. That might actually be a crime.

3. Books signed by the author. I’ve had the privilege of meeting many authors and having their signature is just one reason I can’t part with them. Whether it’s a children’s author, Liz Curtis Higgs or one of my dear friends, their mark makes them special. I was especially glad for my Calvin Miller books after he passed away last year. He and I shared the same birthday and while he was an interim pastor at my church, I acquired some of this works.

4. Bibles, commentaries and special helps. I have one complete area dedicated to different study helps that I refer to often when I’m writing an assignment for publication. Whether it’s a commentary on the book of James or a book that helps spark a creative game or object lesson, they are valuable tools.

5. Biographies. There’s so much we can learn from the lives of people who have gone before us. I may not keep every biography, but learning from the life of Corrie ten Boom or George Mueller can bring great inspiration.

I’m trying to build my library with e-books these days. They don’t take up space or kill more trees. I can even carry my library when I board the next plane or face a long road trip. But, it’s hard to replace the smell of a good book with a great cover. What about you? What books could you never part with?