Book Collections and Inheritance: The Quandary
January 3, 2014 | 4:00 pm
By Joanna Cabot
One thing the ‘I love the smell of paper’ people seldom talk about is what happens to your paper book collection when you die. We’ve been facing this issue in my family this week, clearing out the home of my grandpa, who just passed away at 90 years of age, over sixty of which he spent in this one house.
Disposing of his books is not as straightforward an issue as it might appear. Grandpa was an autodidact of eclectic interests and some of his books are of a very peculiar nature. He was a master woodworker and most of his hundreds of books on that subject will go with the tools to wherever they wind up. But what of some of the curiosities like 100 Years of America’s Firefighting Apparatus or The Book of Barometers? What on earth are we supposed to do with those?
Fortunately, the bulk of his books do fall into neat little sub collections and can be disposed of en masse. A cousin is preparing a shipping container to inherit the entirety of his massive joke book collection. Another is assessing all of Grandma’s knitting stuff, books included. His rabbi friend will be taking the religious books, of which the Hebrew ones require special disposal. Another relative is taking all the fiction to a thrift shop where he works…
I suppose my descendants will have an easier task. Once they throw away my flash drive, it will all be done!