I have a lot fewer books than David, but I have been going through them, packing them up to take to our Westport, NY house. It would, of course, be most efficient if I could sort and pack them without reading them. I am not being efficient.
Unsurprisingly, I am finding some that I am glad to see, that bring back fond memories of reading enjoyment or remind me of something interesting I hadn't thought about for a while.
But some are also provoking a different reaction: looking back at lit crit books I had as text books in the early 90s, I am stunned by the extent of the overblown hyperbole, the exploitive and appropriative metaphors. Did I notice this at the time I last read them? These were the "difficult"critical texts which we went over in grad school seminars, and for which the professor guided us line by line translating their sentences (printed mostly in the English language) into English. At the time I think I was pretty accepting of this process.
But now -- flipping through some of this stuff 15 years later -- I find it makes me really angry. I'm finding that some of these books, with unlikely claims as to what the author hopes to accomplish (such as rid readers of our inner fascism) and over-the-top metaphors I just don't want to own anymore.
Some of these are books with major reputations, and I don't want to claim that they are just nonsense. But looking back, I wish I had been more willing to entertain the idea that they might be nonsense.