We’ve spent the day getting ready to paint my daughter’s bedroom. She already has a lifetime of keepsakes, most of which we packed away for her. She had a hard time parting with half-written stories and scraps of paper with a meaningful doodle on it, but when we stood in front of her bookcase, she was ruthless. The books she’s loved – The Little House on the Prairies series, Little Women, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, (which was my book and is definitely worse for the wear but I am thrilled that Mallory loves it as much as I did!), A Little Princess,  get pride of place, but many others were kicked to the curb without a second thought. How can she be my kid?

I am much more precious about my books and have always hated parting with them – even the books I’ve hated and wouldn’t recommend to anyone. I’ve gotten a little bit better in the past couple of years because I don’t have the luxury of limitless space. Oprah’s site recommends these tips for culling books from your shelves.  I guess she’s sort of applying the same rules we use to strip the dead wool from our wardrobes: if we haven’t worn/read it in the last season/year we should probably say bye-bye.

When I do relent and make some wiggle room for new books on my shelves (this is my already-read shelf) I generally remove:

books I hated and wouldn’t pass on

mysteries I would never read again (aka Harlen Coben but not Thomas H. Cook)

books I have made several attempts to read, but just couldn’t get through

Books on my tbr shelf will remain there (I’m nothing if not stubborn) until I have read them.

How about you –  do you keep all your books? If not, how do you decide what stays and what goes?

2 thoughts on “Purging…

  1. Lynne August 27, 2010 / 10:55 pm

    I’ve kept books that I read and loved. But next time I move, I will probably get rid of all of the books I have read. Because no matter how much I love them, I usually never read them again.

  2. Kathy (The Literary Amnesiac) August 28, 2010 / 2:35 am

    I used to keep every single book I owned, but between paperbackswap (needing to send books off in order to get more!) and my TBR list which has grown to ridiculous proportions, I have to love and/or expect to re-read a book before I’ll keep it. The mediocre ones move on. Unless they’re beautiful and pristine hardcovers . . . sometimes those stay even if I know I’ll never read them again.

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