The Easter Book Cull


Despite my being (almost) true to my New Year’s Resolution of not bringing any new books into the house for the first two months of the year and only reading what was already sat waiting my bookshelves were still looking extremely tight. The wider shelves had succumbed to a second layer of books some time ago, and although I was reluctant to do that it was always a nice surprise to pull out a book and find a hidden layer of books behind (even if removing back row books from the shelves was beginning to resemble a game of Jenga), but when it got to starting to stack books horizontally on top of the front rows of books I decided enough was probably enough. That elixir of life better be discovered pretty soon if I’m going to make inroads on reading or re-reading everything I had. So, taking a tip from an episode of “Spartacus- War Of The Damned” (only with books and not flesh and blood members of the Roman Army) it was time for a decimation.

All books had to take part in this – both the unread and the waiting to be re-read. I counted along the shelves in groups of ten and one of those ten had to go. It took all day. It wasn’t too long before I added a little trade-off. If removing one from the set of ten proved too arduous for me (what about those ten book set collections I’d bought from “The Book People” and hadn’t got round to reading ? Taking one out of those would surely disrupt the set!) I was allowed to take two out of another group and build up a little reserve collection to trade in when I just couldn’t choose. Sounds harsh? It was, but the strict structure meant I carried on with it rather than giving up halfway and sneaking all the books to be discarded back onto the shelves. I did remember some “Clear out your Clutter” guru saying that nobody would miss 10% going out of their collections and kept that in mind, even though I wasn’t convinced. Mind you, I think the same person saying “if you haven’t worn something in six months it needs to go”, which would do for most of my wardrobe!

And the end results- six bags to the charity shops and four to a Book Sale. Conveniently I was selling books for the local library I volunteer for last weekend and so my nearly-new, mostly unread books joined the others that had been donated and as I was manning the stall it meant that I could keep an eye on what was going where, ensuring my precious books went off to a good home. Most got sold. And the shelves – well my partner says they are no different, which means that the clear up the clutter guru might have been right in more ways than one, but the horizontal stacking has gone, a few of the shelves just have one row of books on them and, do you know, I think I can detect the odd space. Will I miss them? Time will tell……Quick, where’s that Book People Catalogue?

5 thoughts on “The Easter Book Cull

  1. Kay Carter

    Deep breaths Phil. I faced a similar problem at Christmas. Phew. I did keep my collection of Ed McBain 87th precinct which I started collecting when I was 14 (about a million years ago). Oh and my Agatha Christie’s. I sent four boxes to the charity shop. I am going to make a start on shelves in the spare room this afternoon but I truly believe that books are not a waste of time or money. We can learn so much even from books that are not ‘educational’. I too love The Book People.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Kindle is the answer! Even with it, I still have piles of books ‘waiting’ for a place on the shelves, but if all the books on my Kindle were real, I’d need to build an extension to house them! Well done on being so brutal – wonder how long it’ll be before those horizontal stacks return… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Kindle could eventually be the answer for me but I’m still at the stage with it where if I enjoy something I’ve read on it I end up buying the physical book as well, so I end up with it stored on my tablet and also on my bookshelves! – I’m sure it’s just a phase!!


  4. katrizzle

    Good read! I have the same problem, too many books for such a small amount of time. 🙂 There’s just something about a book that is so attractive for me. I don’t have the same courage as you to let go of some books…my babies… 😦


  5. Pingback: Good Hope Road – Sarita Mandanna (Weidenfield & Nicolson 2015) | reviewsrevues

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