Posted by: philipfontana | December 18, 2018



Collecting, Discarding, or e-Books:

What do you say?


Philip Fontana





      Excuse us for living, but throughout our lives both wife Geri and I have loved and collected books. We just love our books and can’t say it enough. All the while, we have seen the change over the years to e-books or “read and discard” books at best. What is your preference? What do you do?

We have never considered the many linear feet of books on our bookshelves as “our library.” Rather, we enjoy every individual title. Some we have read. Others just sit there in case we “get a fancy” to read it. – – College books, a book subscription years ago from The Franklin Library, books from antique shops and consignment shops, and, naturally, bookstore purchases and, oh, that Amazon online! – – Hardcover, paperback, new or used, free shipping?

We talk so about our “too many books” apologetically in this day and age. In an age of the Kindle and other electronic e-book/reading devices, many people see the physical books as “space wasters.” Even people who still appreciate and enjoy the feel and experience of reading a book in their hands, many people discard a book once read. Indeed, libraries are digitizing their collections! And as we, ourselves, look to downsize to a condo or townhouse, with the “For Sale” sign up on our old 1885 Dutch Colonial as I write this, the question arises as to how many books will a new place accommodate? And what about you? Do you have a book collection? Do you discard books after reading them? Do you read e-books?

A Lvg Rm

      This is our living room book case with mostly classics from The Franklin Library from Keats, Poe, Hawthorne, Joyce, Melville, Kipling, Dickens, and so many more. – – The other books here are largely a collection of books on art, music, and religion.

B Porch

        Here is our enclosed porch or family room bookshelves with books most personal to me. There are college books from my BA at Rutgers U. in history and my MA at Drew U. in political science. – – And then the many books on history, biography, and politics, that I have read, mostly. Special to me is my small collection of books on each of these figures in America’s 20th century story; Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Bobby Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter. – – Plus the complete works of David McCullough!  Anyone into First Editions?

C Degas

        In one bedroom are books surrounding wife Geri’s desk and laptop. These books reflect Geri’s lifelong passion reading romance novels. Geri’s favorite author? – – Nora Roberts! – – There are more romance novels elsewhere in the house! – – Many more!

D Minnie

        The other bedroom I dominate with our PC and the overflow bookshelves here with TOO MUCH memorabilia crammed in front of the books! – – Everything from more college books to classic titles, biographies and autobiographies from showbiz personalities, and, on the lowest two shelves, left and right, my treasured collection of books handed down to me from my grandfather and namesake, Philip Fontana. – – My favorite is his 1940 copy of Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” illustrated by Norman Rockwell! The most precious, rare, valuable book here I found at a flea market bookstore for $2.00 way back when; an 1886 publication of Dante’s “The Divine Comedy,” translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow!!! – – Once, a literature professor I met was so in awe of it, he asked if I would permit him to photocopy it, which I did.


     Excuse us for living in one house for 43 years because there are four additional, though less substantial, book cases in the house besides those pictured here and a few other assorted shelves and spots for books! The question remains as to how many books we can take with us to a condo or townhouse. Clearly, we must part with some of these books. And we look to store away some of the books in our new place. We could never reproduce the wonderful bookshelf space we have enjoyed here in our home all these years!  What about you? Where do you stand on collecting books?  Leave a comment below!

Sources: Many volumes of books!

Comments: Please!


  1. You and I could start our own community library, Phil!! I have some e-books, but it’s just not the same.
    Happy Holidays – I think this Santa needs help!!

    • GP Cox, GP!!! GREAT to know you too love books & have your own library as well!!! I’ve had a few e-books sent to me but as you say, it’s just not the same! When I read a book, I am taking notes on some books as I read & flipping pages back & forth, checking the footnotes, looking something up in the index, finding the battle field on a map, etc\
      –All this because we hope to move to a condo/townhouse with a few less books…..But I WILL NOT give up my life in books!!!!!!!!!! What a great Santa cartoon since we have a wood burning stove in our family room ( along with a fireplace too in the living room). Merriest Christmas to you & the Best 2019!!! Thanks for looking in on me! Phil

      • Thanks for the great comment. You are always such a pleasure to visit.

  2. When we left France we took a lot of books with us to Costa Rica and sent the rest to the house in Spain. Of course, we now want to read something that is in Spain….
    We are selling that house so will probably have to extend this one to have room for the books…
    Getting English language books here used to be easy through Better World Books.. ..but their deliveries from the U.S. A. became unreliable and the postage from their U.K. outlet became expensive…so e books it is.
    Reluctantly because there is nothing like a book in the hand…but when you need a book, you need a book.

    • Helen Devries, Helen!!! Ha! Never fails….leaving books where you are not! Good! Make room for those books! So from all you say, the e-books serve you well!!! Agreed! I need the book in hand to flip back & forth, check the footnotes, etc. GREAT COMMENTS!!! Thanks! Phil

      • Trying to check footnotes online is…shall we say…trying.

  3. Not moving, as our kids thankfully have moved close by us, but the books have become somewhat overwhelming and we are trying to manage them. Being voracious readers and book lovers since childhood and all our lives ( many dates before we married were to browse bookstores), we have literally hundreds of books in the house. The house is not large and the tall bookcases in the “office” became full resulting in the books invading all other rooms. I have gone to ebooks because the kindle concept is so functional for travel. My husband was a more reluctant e-adopter. We literally used to take one bag just for books to be read while traveling and now the cost of extra baggage plus the sheer struggle of carrying it has brought us to ebooks. Also because of the house overflowing with books, ebooks have won. On a somber note, we have been trying to winnow and downsize the book collection and guess what, it is not that easy. Donating to the library has been harder than we thought. If the book is too old they do not want it even though the hardcovers are in excellent condition. We donate to the Montclair University Women’s Club booksale for scholarships and even they don’t take everything. If you and Geri do any donating would be interested to hear where and to whom. As book lovers, the idea of throwing them away is just not possible even though perhaps that will happen when we are gone. Sorry to be so long winded but books have been so central to our lives that the topic hit home.

    • Marti, Managing your books! Good because that’s what we want to do in moving…not get rid of them all but downsize the collection to what we value most. Hundreds of books just like us! Yes, we too have books in all our rooms! So you now read ebooks! Your husband too has come around. OMG, a suitcase just for books traveling! You needed ebooks! We have yet to submit to them. Exactly! It’s not easy to shrink the collection! We are trying! Your efforts donating them are admirable, but we know they won’t take everything. Geri gives our books to The Book Barn, consignment shop (huge!), St. Claire’s Hospital volunteers or auxiliary, Denville, NJ. But BEWARE! You will donate your books & come out with 100 more! It’s a great place, well organized by subject/topic & author, & they take almost EVERY BOOK!!! What a GREAT comment! –the best!!! Enjoy the holidays!!! Phil

  4. I love your collection! 🙂 As you know, I read a lot. Unfortunately, I can’t keep all the books I read because it would turn our house into a bookstore hahaha. So, I give them to family and friends when I have read them. But I keep the ones I really love and the ones written by people I know personally. (those are most often signed as well, so extra special!)
    Lots of Love,

  5. Just Patty, I love when you comment as in days of old! Books! I should have known you would be heard from! Thanks about our collection! I thought of the photos of your nice place but knew space might be tight for books. Good idea to give the books to friends & family & keep those you love. As an author it is special to keep those books written by authors you know & signed by them too!!! — And certainly a special shelf of your books of poetry & growing volumes of youth fantasy novels!!!!!!!! I bet that you could drop the “youth” label in that many adults must love your works! Merry Christmas to you & Danny!!! Christmas in the Netherlands must be magical! And loving you back! Phil & Geri too

  6. Hi Phil!
    First time I had time to respond- been with the boys, doing errands etc

    Oh my! You certainly do have a lot of books ha-
    I would keep the books that are valuable or signed by the author., or you just love Just my opinion.

    I do have some books in my house that are on the “to read “ list, but generally after I have read a book, I pass it on.

    A few things- I am in a book club, so we get together once a month to discuss the chosen book- some of the choices I loved, some not so much. But being in a book club forces you to read books you otherwise might not have chosen.

    Also, I subscribe(it’s free) to Book Bub. Every day I get an email with about 7-8 books chosen for me according to the survey I took at the very beginning.
    If something looks good, I will then go onto Amazon and read the reviews. A lot of the books are quite inexpensive on an e-reader.

    Speaking of e-readers, I do have a kindle paper white. I remember buying it after a hardcover book was our Book Club chosen book…and I was going on a cruise. I figured that I did not want to pack & carry a hardcover book on my cruise. I like the paper white as you can easily read in bright sunlight. To be truthful-if a book is cheaper as a paperback I buy that- if not then I download the book onto my kindle.i don’t really care for hardcover books- too hard to handle.
    Well that is it Phil!

  7. Keep all the books and no to the e-reader. I loooove the real one’s. E-books will never win this for me. Btw I love your home, it looks really awesome with all the books, it’s cozy 😀

    • medusadewit, Bren!!!!!!!!!! How wonderful to see your comments here! Thank you! My wife Geri & I agree with you TOTALLY! I bet Jeffrey agrees with you wholeheartedly as well! Agreed, the e-books don’t do for me what a real book does. I don’t know about you, but when I read a book, I am constantly looking back in the pages to verify something, plus looking at the footnotes, index, photos, maps, etc. Of course this depends on fiction vs nonfiction & especially history books & biographies, both of which I favor. Thanks about the house! I had to take off my website 4 stories & full photos about our 1885 Dutch Colonial to out the house up “For Sale” because it showed the things that were in need of repair that I fixed. See if you can access the real estate website, Zillow, & put in our address, 203 Main Road, Montville, New Jersey 07045, to see 20+ beautiful photos of the house. Thanks again! On “Goodreads,” I really have trouble accessing your reviews. When I do, sometimes a “translate” box pops up & it’s great to read. I think I am the problem because I get fooled by the words, “coming soon,” about a review by you. Very confusing to me. Again, thanks for looking at my “Books!” Phil

  8. […] Source: […]

    • Great post Phil and so true .. there is nothing like volumes of great books written by great writers many of the olde days. When l was a child l was told by my father that l would learn nothing in books …. l know years later that is not true and have learned as you have the value of the word … That begins with God in the ❤️ Of many Wordsmiths and grows like a 🔥inside until one day it bursts forth like a phoenix and alights all the souls forgotten by those that see decadence and want over knowledge of God Amen …

      Seasons Greetings to you and your family and may the ‘ Light of God ‘ shine upon you now and forevermore my friend …. God Bless Ian 🙏’s for you and yours .. link to your post

    • ACE Worldwide News Group, Ian! Once again I am humbled to be selected as a Featured Blogger by the Ace History Desk!!! As it is said, one values being recognized by those you respect. And over the years, through my interactions with you as the ACE network has grown & spread its outreach, my respect & admiration for your work is held high. Thank you for this honor as you have done in the past. Best wishes for continued success & growth of all your ACE endeavors! Phil

  9. ACE Worldwide News Group, #AceHIstoryDesk, Ian, What another honor by you to reblog my post “Books!” Beside my humble thanks above & on your website where my post appears, your separate personal comments about books by the great writers is most appreciated. That anecdote about your father’s condemnation of book learning & your rejection of his advice is a priceless coming of age story from your life! And your words about all knowledge coming from God are so valued & shared by me. Thank you for your wishes of the Season to me & my family. And may you feel the presence of that Child born this Christmas Day in you, your home & family as well! From a grateful, Phil

  10. Phil .. I would feel right at home strolling your shelves! A good book is an investment in and for Life.

    Best Regards for 2019 to you and family.


    • Thom Hickey, Thom!!! Thanks for taking a look & the nice comment! I knew you would love books too! Books ARE life, right? Thanks & The Best 2019 to you & your family as well!!! Looking forward to more music to come from you in 2019!!! Phil

      • That’s guaranteed Phil!

      • Thom Hickey, Thom, “Sounds” great already! Phil

      • Thom Hickey, Thom!!! That “sounds” great already! Phil

  11. I have several rooms full of floor to ceiling bookshelves full of books. I’m trying to get rid of them in a nice way because I really don’t want to just throw them in the trash.

    • Russel Ray Photos, Russel, We empathize with you & your books. Rough estimate, we downsized from 600 to 300 volumes. We too disposed of them responsibly. We gave our Franklin Library of classics to my son & daughter-in-law. The others went to a locale charity book shop that we have dealt with over the years. Phil

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: