Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Culling the Book Herd

I spent part of yesterday looking through my shelves, trying to find something to read.  Instead, I keep finding books that I have no idea why I am holding onto them.  And I now have a big stack to take to St. Vinny's.  With the added benefit of more room on my shelves now.  Yay. 

But yeah, I'm finding books that I pull off the shelf and go 'why the hell do I even have this?'  I expect some of it comes from the move.  At one point near the end of packing, I was throwing stuff in boxes.  As a result, I lost several books I wanted to keep, so it stands to reason I kept several I wouldn't have if I'd thought about it harder.

A few of them I have because I know I meant to read them at some point, but now I'm all 'meh' about them.  Like Bill Gates' autobiography.  Meh.  Into the thrift store pile it went.  I'm still debating the Jack Welch autobiography and the Guiliani book on leadership.

I did start to read a memoir about moving to Alaska, but it wasn't thrilling me.  That one went back on the shelf, because I know at some point I will want to read it.

I'm trying to go through all my unread books and either read them or get them off my shelves.  Unless I have them for some other purpose - like research.  Or they're old and I can't bear to part with them, even if I never intend to read them. 

I'm also discovering I have a lot of non-fiction that I bought with every intention of reading, but haven't.  And I haven't the heart to toss them.  Someday I'll read them.  Someday.

And then there are the books I've read, have no intention of reading again, but can't part with.  I've been porting them over to the shelf in the spare room.  I really need another bookshelf or two.  Ack.

Or I need to be more strict about culling the book herd.  If I have no intention of reading it again, why am I even keeping it?  Gah.  So many reasons... err rationalizations for my hoarding habit... Umm.

And then there are the books I would gladly toss, except they belong to Hubs.  I culled some of his books years ago - with his permission - and he stills wonders from time to time what happened to them.  "Where'd such and such a book go?"  And then I have to remind him about the cull.  =o(

I wish I never had to cull again, but there's only so much space on the shelves and only so much space in the house for more shelves.  :sigh:

Do you cull your books?  How do you decide?


  1. I'm a lot more ruthless culling after our last move.

    I made the stupid mistake of hauling 40 boxes of books when I should've culled them before the move. I might've saved my back some misery.

    Other than books friends have given me, I cull 95% of the fiction I've read. I tend to keep most nonfiction. But I did give away most of my writing books to author friends after I had read them.

  2. If I read it and will read it again, it stays on the shelf. If it's a collectible, it stays on the shelf. If I've never read it but skimmed it for research, it stays on the shelf. If there's some compelling emotional reason (one of my dad's/FiL's favorite books), it stays on the shelf.

    I've been meaning to do that to the shelves in the bedroom. There's probably 40+ paperbacks stacked there--freebies mostly, some I bought with every intention of reading, that I've never touched. Maybe this weekend if it rains. Or not.

    And yes, I do cull. Almost all of the contest books I read (though more contests are doing digital now) go into a box for delivery to the volunteer library at the VA Hospital whenever LG has an appointment.

  3. I'm SLOWLY culling my shelves for trade-ins at the used-book store. All the mysteries (excluding my two favorite series) are gone (and I wish I'd kept favorite series #3).
    I'm rereading SF/F books that I've hauled around for decades -- a few go back on the shelf, but to most I think "Why did I think this book was so great 20 or 30 or 40 years ago?" My tastes have definitely changed.

    I do hold on to novels by a very few writers who are important to me. I plan to tell my grandnieces: "I knew her back when!"

    Most of my nonfiction is safe, since the bookstore doesn't want them. Makes it easy -- no culling there. Now I just need to stop bringing more home. LOL!