It's like doing archeology on one's self, every past interest is there, like shards of pottery, buried in a succession of layers. Every time I do this (during moves or major housecleanings or emergencies like this) I re-sort them, based on vague criterion of how they fit together (like "professional" vs other, but in fact I work as hard as I can to blur that line, so that doesn't really work very well). Some even make it to a box to sell or donate, but not very many this time since what remain after the last few filters are those I can't make myself part with. A few get pulled out to give to my children, but they are at the stage of where they would rather find their own books.
It is difficult to pretend that all these books, all these abandoned directions of thought, represent a coherent project, that I was after something during all that time I was accumulating them. Yet there is something that ties them all together, even if it's only my personal history. That is rather disordered, to be sure, but it's not nothing.
I guess I continue to cart around these obsolete chunks of dead trees because they do in some weird way constitute a large chunk of my identity. And just like the part of myself that lives in the head, they are falling victims to decay, to the the depradations of nature and time.