Welcome to Day #20 of the April A to Z Challenge, where participants are challenged to create a post every day (except Sundays) corresponding to the appropriate letter of the alphabet. If you’d like to learn more, hit the badge on my sidebar.
I’ll be posting about bookish topics each day of the challenge. Here’s today’s post:
About 2-3 times a year I feel that my bookcases have reached what I call “critical mass”. When this happens I take some time to “tame my bookcases” by going through my books and make some space. I have eight different bookcases throughout my home, and I never end up removing as many books as I thought I would. It also usually ends up taking longer than I planned.
Taming my bookcases is tough for me—but it’s a great problem to have! Books are comfort objects to me. I like to own real, physical books and I love the way they look on my shelves–but I also like to break up the rows of books by leaving room on the shelves for some other objects like photos and plants. I’m also a big fan of re-reading books I’ve enjoyed—there are some novels that I’ve probably read ten times over the years. However, I definitely don’t buy or keep books just to have them—I want the books on my shelves to be the ones that have meaning to me.
So when I start taming my bookcases, I ask myself some questions—Did I like the book? Do I think I may want to read it again? If I haven’t already read it, is it still on my TBR list, or have my interests changed? For nonfiction in particular, do I think I may need/want to refer to information in the book? Does the book bring back a good memory of where I was when I read it, or who I was with, or what I was doing at the time? If I read it long ago, do I even still remember the plot?
If I answer YES to even one of these questions, the book is probably staying put. Books that get set aside are the usually the ones that I bought on a whim and just never read—maybe my interests have changed, or maybe I started to read it and it just never caught my interest. In the end, I usually end up with a bag or two to take to my local used bookstore–and I have a little more space for new books and authors that I’ve yet to meet.
How about you? If you’re still a buyer of physical books, how often do you find that you need to clean out your shelves? How do you decide what stays and what goes? Or, are you someone who reads a book and then immediately passes it on? Please share!