Recently I decided to rationalise my book collection. This is for a variety of reasons, not least that my living quarters are cramped and that if I keep on going the way that I have been, the choice will be between me living here or my books. I do quite like having a roof over my head. I just also like having a lot of books. I find them decorative, comforting, soothing – getting rid of a book is never easy for me. As a seven year-old, I gave away my ‘Stories for Six Year-Olds’ to a younger friend in a fit of maturity, but soon afterwards regretted it – I missed the stories and wanted to reread. The pattern tended to repeat and I decided grimly that it was better that I keep all of my books to myself. I do not wish to be the old lady who lives in her books though so I want to ask – how do other people decide when and how to unhaul their books?
Last week, I went through my book shelf and managed to rid myself of two Morrisons Bags for Life with books that will be taking the trip. This was a feat of great emotional difficulty but my boyfriend was kind enough to say that he was proud of me. This was the criteria that I came up for an unhaul:
- Review Copies – the rate of my bookish acquisitions have skyrocketed since I started the website and while many of them have been wonderful (examples include The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Motherland, The Table of Less Valued Knights to name but a few) but there have also been those which were unspeakable or just plain dull (Watch the Lady, Mr Mac and Me and many, many more). For those books which were just a trial to get through, and which are now past their release date, it is an easy thing to wave them a not so fond goodbye.
- The Disposable Reads – By this, I refer to the books which are only ever to be read once. I mean the books which are heavily plot-dependent. A recent example of this which I unhauled was The Silvered Heart. Despite certain reservations, I did enjoy this well enough but I am never going to re-read and – this is the good thing – because I’ve blogged about it, I can read the review if I ever find myself missing it like I did Stories for Six Year-Olds. I can be strong and I can let the hard copy go.
- The Slightly Disappointing – I will be honest, I can be stubborn and am unwilling to admit that I have made a mistake. If I’ve spent my own money on a book, I tend to hold on to it. I am also unwilling to give up and stop reading a book that I actually don’t like. But actually, nobody is winning if I hold on to a book out of some misguided desire to hoard all of the books in the world.
I feel though that I need to think of other criteria for unhauling. I am in no danger of becoming a bookless individual – I have dozens of unread books which I definitely want to hold on to make my own opinion on and then the multitudes that I have already read and loved and want to keep forever. So – I want to ask, how do other people decide which books to shift?