[P]hysical books — the creepy retronym for the objects formerly known just as books — …take up space. They demand shelves. They can crowd us out and weigh us down. And though no divine injunction exempts them from a recovering hoarder’s triage, there’s something miraculous about books that stops me from tossing them in the garbage.
They may not have souls, but they’re not inanimate objects, either. Ideas are alive in them, and they can contain characters more real than some people I know. Writers spend years struggling to create them, to get them published, noticed, bought and read; how can they not embody some of an author’s spirit? Plus they’re souvenirs of who we were when we acquired them, and where we read them, or how we felt about not reading them. I realize that some books are already trash before we buy them, but most of the thousands I cohabit with don’t deserve to be buried alive.
Marty Kaplan, “How to Organize Your Books”, Jewish Journal (4-10 July 2014), 9.