It was the final clean out; they would no longer live there.
They’d been three generations of readers. He, the grandfather, no longer there, had led them into that society. He was always buying, reading, borrowing, and lending books, but his apex moments came when he talked about them with others. By talking, he enjoyed a significant amount of listening, to hear what others thought about the books, to calibrate, validate, and counter his personal findings. These predilections for books led to a ginormous collection. Shelves of books filled several family room walls. More cases of books were in the hallways and living room. Other collections guarded the bedrooms. Stacks of books decorated tables. Other books had to sit on the floor.
With him gone, and the house being cleaned, they went through the books and kept a few they considered the crown jewels. The rest had, lamentably, to go. Friends were told, “Come and get books. Take whatever you want.” Her concern was not to get rid of the books, but to find others who loved them as much as he had.