Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Only 30 Books? Heh.

The other day there was an internet dust-up over some girl saying people really only need to keep 30 books.  I think she was saying to pare down and get rid of the things that are cluttering up your life, but readers took it the wrong way. 


First off, why the hell would anyone listen to some girl no one's ever heard of?  Or even some girl everyone's heard of when it comes to what you should and shouldn't do?  Hell, I wouldn't listen to someone I genuinely respected and cared about if they suggested I should only keep thirty books.  Look up at my header.  That shows three bookcases worth of books and I have 5 other bookcases.

I have all those books for reasons, and only I can determine the reasons I have each of those books.  (Well, Hubs does have a say.  Some of them are his, after all.  And while mine outnumber his, he has way more than 30 himself.  The majority of the non-fiction bookcase is his.)

The reasons?  Well, some of them I haven't read yet but still plan to.  Some of them are part of my collection of pulp crime novels.  Some of them I've read but loved enough that I'll read them again.  Others I don't plan on reading again, but I loved them, so they stay.  One case is my literary collection.   There are also reference books in there that I might need to refer to in the future.  And the shelf with the collection of the complete works of my favorite author - sometimes with duplicates (other editions with different covers). 

There's the vintage engineering books Hubs found at an estate sale.  There's the encyclopedia set that belonged to my parents, that still has pressed stuff from when we were kids.  I don't think either of us will really be reading those ever, but they're there and they won't be going anywhere.

Oh, and the case of really old books no one will ever read again.  They're too precious to read.  I'm hoarding them for future generations.  And there's the books my father bought me and the ones that are signed and the ones... Well, I did say 'because reasons'.  I have a lot of reasons to keep books.

Sometimes, I go through and re-determine which books I want to keep.  Some of them have lost their meaning to me.  Some of them I can't remember why I kept them in the first place, and if I can't justify them taking up shelf space, off they go to St. Vinny's to find an owner who appreciates them more.

I'm sure the girl had her reasons for picking the number 30.  I'm willing to bet that even she thinks the number is subjective and arbitrary.  Not sure what the dust up is all about.  And I'm not sure why she felt the need to make her opinions public.  In this day and age, I'm willing to bet she's gotten some really nasty emails over it and perhaps a death threat or two.  I wonder if it was worth it.  :shrug:

My point is there is no point in getting angry over anything anyone says about how many of anything you should hang onto.  Go your own way.  If you want to have a zillion books and have to make tunnels through them to get to your bedroom, so be it.   Who am I to judge your book hoarding habit?

When we moved from CO to MO, I got rid of about 2/3rds of my books.  That sucked, but we had a tiny moving van to transport everything we owned, so it had to be done.  I miss some of them sometimes, but I'm finding those titles I really miss and buying them when I can.   I will rebuild it, I have the technology.  ;o)

How many books do you have?  If you had to pare down - you know, to move across country in a small truck with the rest of your belongings - how many do you think you could part with?


  1. I never counted, but when we moved to this house, I had 52 boxes of books. After the move, I swore I'd never do that again. I think I ended up donating almost 10 boxes of books.

    Today I only keep nonfiction or fiction that I know I will read again. If it's just a one-time read, I buy it in ebook. No heavy lifting. :)

    I have a lot of built-in bookshelves in this house, and they're all bulging with books so I guess it's time to purge again. Not a high priority, but something I'll have to tackle eventually.

    1. I envy your built-in bookshelves.

      I can't even begin to count the number of boxes of books I gave away before we moved. Some to the library, some to the neighbors, some to the retirement village.

      Yah, I do pick up a lot of ebooks, but then again, I buy a lot of used hardcopies. Most of those go back to the thrift store after I've read them. Unless they ended up in a collection or I really loved them.

  2. 30 books? Heck, my favorite buy-in-hardback series is up to like 46 now. And while I read them digitally or listen to the audio book, I have them in case civilization breaks down because I'd read those suckers by torchlight.

    I have no clue how many books I/we have. The floor-to-ceiling shelves in the library are double-shelved in some places. If they're on a shelf, they're keepers or not read yet. Some of those not-reads should probably be given away. I read almost exclusively on digital now. I have somewhere around 1200 digital books. And yeah, read almost all of them. The ones I haven't read are freebies/Kindle Unlmited that I saw, snagged, and haven't been in the mood.

    And yeah, haters get way too much media time.

  3. That gal is famous - now - but I hadn't heard of before, and can't remember her name. Apparently, her thing is keep only the stuff that brings you joy. And for people like us, books are joy.

    I have at least 16 bookshelves full of books. I'm slowly rereading the fiction titles and trading them in at the used-book store. But nonfiction stays here! Partly because I refer to them occasionally, and partly because the bookstore doesn't want the old stuff. :-)