Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Books: Letting Go

I own a lot of books.

That's the understatement of the year. I'm a bit of a packrat by nature, and when combined with my love of reading, this turns into insanity. I don't even want to think about what the collected dust has done to my lungs over the years. Fortunately for my imagination (and maybe unfortunately for my health), I refuse to stop buying and keeping the books I love.

However, since becoming a book reviewer and winning books or receiving them for review, my scale for Books That Can Stay has changed. I've sold three bags of books (What? That's a lot for me!), and I'm preparing another bag or two. I've found so many new books that I love and have to get rid of some of the old ones that I thought I loved.

I have three criterion for whether or not to keep books:
  1. Did I love it? This is obviously the most important. If I didn't love it or it's not special to me somehow (got me through a rough time, gifted to me, etc.), then does it really need to be taking up space?
  2. Re-readability. Will I ever read it again? No? Probably not? Then get rid of it!
  3. Condition. This is the least important of the three, but if I'm vacillating based on criterion 1 or 2, then I consider #3.
Now that I'm entering so many book blogger giveaways, there's also a slight consideration for a criterion #1b:  Is it signed by the author? Is it personalized? How much does that signature mean to me?

What do you use to help you decide which books stay and which books go? How do you convince yourself to get rid of books that you know you don't really need?


  1. It is hard to get rid of books! For me I think the biggest question is if we are going to re-read it or not. If not, then we don't really need it taking up space. We've really tried hard to stick to only buying books in series that we already own and love so that is helping. A lot of the books I get for review, I enjoy but I won't read them again so I pass them along. I do have some signed books that I won't part with but one I kind of wish was signed but not personalized because I didn't love the book and would normally pass it on. We got rid of a LOT of books when we moved - really did some serious weeding of the ones we were never going to read again.

  2. It's the same for me ... usually I'll re-read the books to decide if I want to keep it. If I still love reading it, then the answer is yes. If not, then it's time to find a new "home" for the book where it might be more appreciated. :-)

  3. I keep all of my classics, some of which I've received as hand-me-downs from my family, others I've acquired on my own. As for more contemporary books, unless the book is signed by the author I pass them on to friends and family to read, otherwise I'd be buried in books.