Good Reading : September 2009
my say I have decided that I will celebrate the coming arrival of spring by cleaning out my bookshelves. You might say, ‘What? Are you crazy! How can you part with them!’, but, I feel the need to make space. To tidy up. To declutter. I’m really feeling quite decisively minimalistic at the moment. I want space and order. This I am attempting to apply to the whole house. As books invade most living areas I’m starting with them. So no more of three-deep stacked books on my shelves for me. After all, I need to make room for a piano. I need more live music in my life. So … I’ve decided that it’s only my favourites that are going to get to continue to live with me. And that’s it. To achieve this goal I am going to have to be cold-blooded about it. There can be no weakening at the knees. I’m going to pick each book up, and go with my first instincts. That’s it. I am going to pick up and look at each book then ask myself five questions: Can I remember reading it? Did I love it? Does the book have a place in my reading timeline? Do I want to reread it? Does it serve a purpose? (This one’s for the non-fiction books!) If I answer yes to three of these questions I will be putting the book back on the shelf. If it’s no, then the book will be finding a new home. It will be black and white, no greys. I can already see in my mind’s eye the books that will be invited to stay and a few I am sure will be leaving on the next bus out. I might even make a list of each, just to see how decisive I’ve been. I know the ‘stays’ list will be longer than the ‘gos’ list. But I must remain focused. Maybe I shouldn’t even pick them up as touching them might weaken my resolve. But what will I do with the books that are on my shelves but I’ve never read? Oops, that’s a bit naughty isn’t it. Visitors might think that I have read them. War and Peace, A Brief History of Time – there’s just a few. I really do want to read them. But they’ve been there for years. Should they stay or go? Then what to do with them? Donate them to my local library? To charity? And why not sell them? I thought you might have this problem too. So we’re on the case and doing a bit of investigating. We’ll report back to you in a future issue with some information. I’d very much welcome hearing from you as to what you do with your preloved books. My cleaning out will surely progress over the next month or two. I am determined to reorganise and downsize, although I am not known for my strong willpower (but I think that it is generally attributed to me by my lack of resistance to chocolate). Of course, I suppose I could remove the three deep stacked books by simply buying another bookcase. It would certainly save a lot of work now, wouldn’t it?