I am 55.  My lovely wife is 53.  And she is lovely so many ways, not the least of which she loves to read (more below).

We have a very good library: diverse and some of the best books in their respective categories.  It was put together over a lifetime.  Our library did not cost a lot because we have gone to library sales, used bookstores, received books from friends and family, and get many wonderful books to review from publishers.

I read on Scot McKnight’s blog that Michael Quicke is “retiring” from teaching at Northern.  In one of Quicke’s posts about his move back to England, he talks about the painful process of downsizing his library.  Quicke has about ten years on me, but for years I’ve been whittling a little bit every month to make the process a bit easier.  Not easy to be sure.  For the foreseeable future our library will most likely hover around 2500-3000 books.  Without my regular whittling it might be twice that size by now, and much more painful to address.

As I get older, I find myself rereading more frequently, especially the books which have truly formed my convictions.  And the books which showcase a craftsman at work.

So I will keep chopping up our library with my metaphorical ax.

Here is Quicke’s wonderful, but poignant piece:

If you don’t want have time to read the entire piece, consider these words of wisdom:

“And saying goodbye sometimes comes with cruel reality checks as I realize I cannot possibly read all that I once hoped to delive into.  For example, I have collected books on particular subjects that I was going to dive into,  that I even imagined that I could write books about, but I now realize time is running out! I remember an athletic deacon in my first church saying that he had suddenly realized that certain things would never happen for him, like playing cricket for England. I remember being amused, but then realizing he was being serious.  (I appreciate US friends would not likely take this seriously anyway!)   Yes, what once seemed limitless pastures are now ring-fenced.  I am grateful that I shall still be able to graze but I can see a fence.”


7 thoughts on “THE AX IS FALLING!

  1. David McCoy

    And I thought I had a lot of books with about 1,000 in my library!!! Of course, I have almost twenty years on you, Dave. And the last ten years I have been going through the same process that Quicke describes.

    I have found that there is a strange sense of satisfaction in paring my collection down to my favorites. I am actually looking forward to selecting my most favorite books when I move into assisted living one of these days and all my possessions will have to fit into one or two rooms. Maybe, in a strange way, it is part of our preparation for heaven.

    Of course, I could just load up my entire library on a Kindle and let it go at that.

  2. Chris


    I have to ask. What are the books that you find are worth re-reading? I am reading and loving J.I. Packer’s Knowing God right now but I’m always looking to add to my wish list. If you had to go to a deserted island and could only take 5 books (plus the Bible), which 5 would you choose?

  3. Dave Post author

    Hi Chris,

    I will give the typical shipbuilding or survival guide book. Here you go:

    Confessions by Augustine

    The Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan

    Pensees by Blaise Pascal

    Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton

    Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

  4. Chris

    I’ve read Screwtape Letters. I tried to listen to Orthodoxy and Confessions on audio book on the drive to work but wound up almost causing a traffic accident because they required so much concentration. I guess I’ll have to stick to hard copies at home for those.

    Thanks for the entire list.

  5. Dave Post author

    Hey Chris,

    If you get out some great highlighters (I use a red pencil because it is bold and does not bleed), slow way down, take notes, chew, mull, consider, and get some strong coffee (or tea), you will find your comprehension go way up!

    Good to “meet” you!


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