Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Books You Can Live Without: Is that Possible?

Although I know this article in Sunday's New York Times does not apply to most people I know, I found it of interest. If you're like me (and most of my friends), you have stacks and stacks of books sitting around all the rooms in your house or apartment. How to part with them and which ones to part with are always the questions.

I have over 15,000 books, and this year I finally parted with about 2000 mystery novels both hardback and paper. Which to choose to vacate my house was a difficult decision. The first batch were mysteries I know I'll never read either because of the author or topic. The second batch were mysteries I've read and don't plan to reread and are not by my favorite authors. I donated the books to the library, sent books to our troops overseas, and distributed to several hospitals. I also put out a good number of mysteries for my bookgroup to enjoy. Still, I haven't made a dent, as the accompanying photo of a portion of my office will attest. Although it looks a jumble, I know where every book resides.

The Editors at the NYT asked several bookie types these very questions. If you haven't read the following article, I know you'll enjoy it and identify with it. Of course, after reading the article, I realized there were a lot more books I 'need' to buy.

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How do we decide what to cull and what to keep? We asked some authors and the owner of the Strand book store for advice.

Read the Article Here.

So what books are you parting with this year? How did you make the decision? I welcome comments.

13 comments:

Ali Karim said...

Happy New Decade Janet, that photo looks like my TBR pile.....

Ali

Janet Rudolph said...

Yep, that's half of my TBR. The rest of the pile is in the bedroom...

Bill Crider said...

Me, part with books? Surely you jest. My TBR pile fills three bookcases (double stacked) and the floor. And a couple of storerooms.

Janet Rudolph said...

I know you've got me beat, Bill. I just needed to purge or the house would have sunk.

Rural View said...

I finally had to bite the bullet and start donating books. We're beginning to talk about selling the house and downsizing. Since I didn't want to tackle the whole getting rid of books project at once, I've been doing it gradually - that makes it much easier.

Anonymous said...

Wish I had the ability to "get rid" of books that I am unlikely to read--but I am never sure what might be next on my TBR list and so, unless they are duplicates (perhaps I am the only one who has occasionally duplicated purchases), they all stay--neatly on bookshelves. They total 30,000 at this writing. And they are growing. Happy New Year and Great reading. Bill Gottfried

Janet Rudolph said...

Bill G, you've definitely got me beat, but do you have another house specifically for book storage?

vallerose said...

I found that article fascinating. The replies ranged from "If i buy a book then one leaves the house" to, "What, remove a book? Impossible."
I fall somewhere in between. Every so often I do a purge, donate bags to rhe library or thrift stores and buy more. The problem is that the purged books then show up on the reading lists for the next book groups. This has happened so often, I am now afraid to remove books from my shelves, even though the shelves are crowded.

Mike Gora said...

I'd like to see a national home tour of homes with the largest number of books. One of the first on the list would be Carl Sandburg's farmhouse, Connemara (see http://www.nps.gov/carl/index.htm). Every time I think I have too many books I think of him. And I only have about 3000, about 1/4 of which are mysteries. I seem to recall that Connemara has about 25,000.

Mike Gora said...

Oops. I just checked and while Sandburg had 17,000 books in his home at one point, he sold about 4,000 to the Univ. of Illinois and the house today only contains about 13,000.

Janet Rudolph said...

only... :-)

Chad - Boi In Austin said...

I think I actually remember sleeping in that bedroom when I was younger, on visit's to Oakland. Can I just say, WOW!

The Waverly Inn said...

I have this same problem and it truly IS a problem! Fortunately, I found a way to both cull some books and yet indulge my passion for literature and reading. In a word, it's a website called "Bookmooch". Check it out, it's self explanatory. Best of all, with the economy as difficult as it is right now, I have cut my new purchases to almost nothing. Truly a win-win!