Sunday, 7 November 2010

How do you cull your books?

Yesterday I spent some time helping a friend pack ahead of a move to a new house.  Exciting for her but since she likes to be organised, the sheer volume of 'stuff' that needs doing for a move is stressing her out.  Hence my offer of help with the packing.

We decided that I could usefully help out packing books.  As long as I knew which ones to pack.  Which then turned into a problem because she couldn't decide what to keep or not.

Which led to me thinking about how to manage a book collection. 

To some extent I guess it depends on your personality.  Unlike my friend, I'm not really a hoarder.  And although I haven't moved in over a decade, I do take a metaphorical scythe so to speak through my books on a regular basis.

Recently I stopped working as a complementary therapist.  So many of the books I collected during the time of my practice, I offered to friends still in the same field.  But I have kept a core selection.  Those I trust most to give me answers to creating oil blends or information about ailments or conditions.

I suppose this approach extends to any type of non-fiction.  Why I bought it in the first place, do I use it on a regular basis or is it good to have around because dipping in when the mood takes me offers me an appropriate thought.

Fiction is more difficult.  Over the years I've bulit up runs of certain authors.  For example, I'll never throw out my Georgette Heyer books.  Yes they're as light as froth on coffee but they make me smile every time and sometimes light froth is all I can deal with.

Classiscs - yes I have some of those but not as many as I used to have.  In my twenties I read like a starving person.  Regardless of author or genre simply pursuing a new experience.  Now I'm more selective and have no desire to read what doesn't suit, even though it might be recommended or lauded by critics.

Having moved enough times in my life I'm more and more refining what I keep or throw out in relation to all kinds of 'stuff'.  After I'd cleared out my dad's house when he died, I'd hate the thought of leaving the decisions and the work to others if I can avoid it.

So what books shall I pass on next I wonder?

1 comment:

  1. I have no answer. I've just bought bigger bookcases. At the moment I'm reading about a shelf a year so I have a problem but I'd really hate to part with even a single one. My daughter will also have to contend with my tape and CD collections too when I go. I have two full-length bookcases filled with them alone.