Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weeding My Own Book Collection

two stacks of books, ready to give away of Freecycle

We hold onto books we’ve already read, as trophies of our reading accomplishments. We hold onto books we might read in the future (but probably won’t), with the optimism that our future selves are going to be more amazing readers than we’ve ever been in the past.
Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

Today I decluttered myself; I got rid of 27 books.

One went in the recycling bin because it was falling apart. Some others have been snapped up on Freecycle — even ones with yellow highlighting. (I read nonfiction with a highlighter close at hand.) Others will go to the used bookstore tomorrow.

What did I get rid of? Here's a partial list:

- The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Let's be real. If I ever want to read a Shakespearean play, I'm not going to want to pull out this heavy volume with its small print.

- Three books on designing usable web sites. They're good books, but I've already absorbed their lessons. I wouldn't go back to them for anything.

- Four books of history by Simon Schama. I'm glad I read these, but I can't foresee reading them again, or using them for reference. I've already incorporated key tidbits into my personal crib sheets on French and British history. Much better they go to the Freecycler who's so very excited to be getting them.

- Two books about the book business. These were fun, easy reads — but not something I'd pick up a second time.

- A book about cats. I love cats, but I don't love this book. It's on its way to a fellow cat lover.

- A book that's developed some bad associations. It might be a great book, but I really need it out of my home.

- Seven books I've had for years and never read, and still feel no great desire to read.

And now I have plenty of room on my bookshelves for the books I truly want to have — and even room to add some more. I also did some re-arranging, so the books I use the most are more accessible.

It feels really good.

Related Posts/Newsletters:
Loving Books and Letting Go
Is It Time to Bid Adieu to Some of Your Books?
3 Perspectives: Not All Books Are Keepers
Clearing Out the Bookshelves
Letting Go of (Some of) the Books


Marcie Lovett said...

I love the quote from Leo Babauta! Yes, discarding books is hard for a lot of people. I was proud of myself for letting go of 12 books this weekend, but you've got me beat!

Why was I holding on to those four Happy Hollisters books? No one I know will read them and I'm definitely not going to re-read them. The Bobsey Twins, however, I haven't been able to part with. Maybe in a future go-round...

Jeri Dansky said...

Marcie, it's nice to know I had a book-clearing buddy, even though I didn't realize it at the time.

Sabrina said...

Great Job! I love it when I have the time to weed through things I haven't used or looked at in a while.

JustGail said...

Thanks for the lead by example post, Jeri. So, you didn't get struck by lightning for thinning the collection? That's encouraging, as I'm *still* working up fortitude to do this. Sitting here at work, I can mentally remove books with ease, but once I'm home face-to-face (face-to-cover?) with them it's another story. I'm not giving up though!

Julie said...

Thanks for the great quote on books, it's so true. I've decided to really go through my books at last - being an English Major makes books multiply and take over the house. Good inspiration to take on this task.