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The Joy in Giving Away The Books I Loved Reading

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

As an English major, reading is my homework as well as my hobby. I’m pretty fortunate to have so many books available to access and read at my leisure. A lot of the time those books are free because I use apps like Libby and Borrowbox that utilize my (and my friend’s) library cards so we can help our local libraries and save money. But sometimes, there are books that my libraries don’t have, whether because they’re Canadian — yeah, that’s an issue I’ve had — or because they’re simply not in demand. When it comes to this, I usually opt for incredibly cheap copies via Thriftbooks, which also incentivizes you with free book credits. I also am appreciative of these affordable books, because I like to give them away once I’m done reading them.

Which, yeah, sounds like a bit of a crazy idea for some. But as I’m not someone who rereads, with the exception of two books, I don’t always like keeping a book on my shelf if I didn’t feel strongly towards it and I know I won’t pick it up again. To clear up space on my shelves with these books that thankfully didn’t cost me much, I was inspired by the Little Free Library initiative and set up a little basket in my apartment building. With a hand-drawn sign I made that says “Take a Book, Leave a Book”, I take a lot of pride in sharing the books that I’ve read with my apartment community. I wanted to promote the sharing of old books and a “reuse” kind of vibe to the community, and I feel like so far that simple basket has accomplished that goal.

Sometimes I’ll even throw in a book I really loved as well, just because I want others to know about these stories. Notable books that fall into this category for me were Wild by Cheryl Strayed and most recently The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. They were very hard to give away, but it felt necessary!

The basket is almost always full of at least one or two books that others have included, and it brings me a lot of joy that we’re all anonymously sharing interesting books with one another. Because almost all of them are secondhand, they have a quality of pre-lovedness to them too which I adore. It makes me happy that maybe I could introduce someone to a new favorite book or author, and because the books were thrifted I don’t feel too precious about giving them away.

If you have a hard time getting rid of books, I absolutely recommend taking stock of what you want to keep and which you could give away! There are so many Little Free Libraries out there, as well as school and library donations that would love your pre-loved books. It’s such a good feeling to give something away to someone who might love it more, and you’ll free up your shelves for all the new secondhand books you’ve been wanting to read.

Evelyn Homan

UC Riverside '24

Hiya! I'm Evelyn, and I'm a fourth-year English & Creative Writing double major, as well as an Honors student researching independent studying in the 21st century. I love literature, midwest emo and goth rock, alternative fashion, and talking. A lot.