Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sincerely Intestate

Recently I had occasion to be the "witness" portion of a will-signing.
I am not even sure if that is the correct term. Witness?
A lawyer was present, and I had to sign about 14 different duplicates of 17 different documents, for a friend that was doing their will.
While doing so, I said aloud, "Well, I hope you at least left me something in this thing!"
The lawyer cut in at that point and informed me that this is a very integral part of the deal. The person doing the signing CANNOT BE A BENEFICIARY OF THE WILL.
I signed, and signed and signed.
Ever since then I have been troubled by a bit of a conundrum.
Regarding my own "estate" which [believe me, friends] does not amount to much, on an Earthly scale. But I have my books.
A lifetime of selective collecting.

Meticulous purging.
Of all of my possessions, the one thing I would not like to "lose" -- is my book collection.
I think I would sooner have my car smashed into a bridge abutment [with me inside it] than have my books destroyed.
In many ways [that are probably clinically psychotic] I identify my very being… my existence... with my books!
So -- a logical question ensues…
Who do I leave them to?
When I die.
Who would I leave these things to?
The answer is --> I do not know.
None of my kith and kin, none of my family -- would want them.
Jack [my cat]… prefers comic books. [And endless licking of himself].
I have no one to leave this precious stuff to. A lifetime of collecting.
Where does it go when I croak?
A while ago -- the superintendent of my building told me that someone in the neighboring building [there are three in our complex]… this person died and left an entire Fiction Library to his wife, and she THREW IT ALL INTO THE DUMPSTER.
I said to him -- "Oh my God and personal saviour JESUS CHRIST…….. why did you not tell me of this?"
I would have climbed into that dumpster and retracted those books WITH MY UVULA!
…….. will a similar thing happen when I die?
Will my own beloved Library go into a dumpster, to be smashed along with diapers and uneaten pasta [we all never quite get the measurement right, do we?]…… mashed into an amalgam of random garbage?

Hence -- I am announcing the following decision.
When I sort of sense that I will be dying, I am going to post here on my Bookpuddle Blog my moribund intentions -- and ask if anyone out there wants to receive my hundreds of books, upon my demise.
Applicants will have to provide a sort of Reason why I should choose them as the Successor to my one lifelong Greatest Possession.
[I am not kidding]…….
I already know that none of my family is going to want my books when I kick off.
If you want them -- you must tell me.
While…….. while I am "of sound mind."



Anonymous said...

"While you are of sound mind"...Oh no, it's already too late.
I, of course, will write an entire new book for you on the reasons why you should leave the whole thing to me.
...and your homie I guess.
We'll even take Jack but we'll assimilate him until he is Jacques and thinks he's a dog!

Stefanie said...

If I were to be the lucky recipient of your collection or even a portion of it, they would be treated with such love and care :) Seriously though, I don't know anyone who would want my books either. My husband and I have not entirely decided what should be done with them yet, probably donated to the library along with whatever proceeds there might be from the rest of our estate. We have no will though. Should probably get on that.

Erin in Boston said...


You can stipulate in your Will that you wish your collection to stay intact and donated to your local libary or university or donated to a local literacy charity. I recently try to save my friend Kelly's collection from the fate that you are trying to avoid. She had a huge first edition collection that was her pride and joy. Because her parents had an estate sale to deal with her belongings, the person running it wouldn't let me take all the first editions because they could make more money than her "regular" books. I was only able to save a small handful. I was able to buy her bookcases though that were her prized possession. They are big and were very expensive. I couldn't stand the idea of them going to a stranger who didn't know how much they meant to Kelly.

Isabella said...

I've often wondered what will become of my books. I'd rather they go to a book-loving stranger than sit unread in a family member's closet.

Beth said...

Of course I want them – but then what am I going to do with them? Which one of us will die first? Such a dilemma…
And the “of sound mind” bit? That’s iffy – for both of us. ;)

Alyce said...

I can't imagine a true bibliophile *not* wanting to get their hands on your collection. (I hope my usage of asterisks doesn't disqualify me.) :)

What I think is funny is that I have considered this issue myself in regards to my own books. The conclusion that I have come to is that when I die (hopefully many, many years from now) I would like my husband to let people in blogland know that my books are up for grabs, and then he can ship them all off to loving homes. It's something I need to write down somewhere or discuss with him. I can't even imagine what the postage costs would be like.

Cipriano said...

I agree, my "sound mind" done left town a while ago!

Yes, you should probably look into the "will" thing. It is so important, even though no one wants to think of the USING of the document. And yet..... one day... any day.... [OK, being morbid...]

I think this is maybe a good idea, yes. The Library. It just seems so impersonal though Thing is, I wish someone in my family would WANT them. I have tons of nieces and nephews and I'm going to a wedding of one of them in June -- perhaps I will do a survey.

I agree, I would rather give them to someone that would want them and read them. Than a relative that never would do so.

I would leave you my books [if I die first] but you would have to promise me [in writing] that you never take any of them to a Leafs game! [Reading a book at a Leafs game isn;t such a bad idea though....]

That's the thing... even if I did raffle the book collection off to someone [and put that person in my will]... what if they live real far away? How would my books GET to them, ever?
This is a true conundrum......

Jeane said...

I have wondered the same thing- who would want (and appreciate) my books? My family are all readers, but not nearly as avid as myself, nor on the same topics. I know, sadly, that most donations to libraries only end up at the remainder sales and the ones that aren't bought, what happens to them? Mine aren't all in pristine condition, either, from being loved and read several times, so that makes the prospect of them being taken on by someone else even smaller....

But I would give your books a home and cherish them! O yes I would.

Thomas at My Porch said...

That is one of the beauties of the blogosphere. You can find kindred spirits who would actually cherish your library rather than throwing it out. There will always be plenty of younger bookhounds out there who would love to inherit something so special. The trick is to find them.

Cipriano said...

Jeane and Thomas... you are added to my update, called People That Want My Books When I Croak!