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On Cleaning the Bookshelf

From Barnes & Noble blog is an article providing very practical suggestions to cleaning your bookshelves. I admit I tend to keep every book but in reality it’s not reasonable due to lack of space. Purging is the inevitable option. It’s not easy to pare down my library, but I tend to do it toward the end of the year before my big annual travel home to Asia.

The article raises some good points, and questions every reader can ask him-/herself when considering to purge:
1. Do I ever intend to reread this book?
I have books for which I have developed a sentimental attachments over the years and I am determined to keep them. I’m on a rotation to reread them, so they stay. Time constraint is something to consider when it comes to rereading.
2. If I haven’t read this book, how long has it been sitting there?
It depends on the author and my interest in the subject matter. If it was an impulse buy or a book gifted to me that I am not all that interested in, purged!
3. Am I keeping this book on the shelf to say something about myself?
I don’t have enough shelf space for self expression, so I’ll purge it. Doesn’t the entire book collection say something about myself already?
4. Was this nook part of a phase, and am I still in that phase?
I never assess my library in this consideration. But I can understand I probably don’t need all the supermarket novels that I perused out of boredom during my younger days.
5. Can I remember any significant plot details or characters from this book?
This is usually the deciding factor when purging. If I cannot recall any details or plot about a book, then it’s got to go. It means I wasn’t really all into it. The book has served its purpose and has not made an influence.
6. Is this part of a series, and did I buy the rest of the series?
The chance is if you jump ship after one installment, you’re not going to muster the will to plow through the rest. Time to rid of the book.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this post and sharing the link to the article. I’m downsizing and moving to a house 1/3 the size of what I live in now and won’t have an extra room for a home library. I’m definitely going to check out the article. I know getting rid of books will be hard since like you I tend to keep all my books, but it’s got to be done.

    • You’re welcome. Weeding is a difficult decision for book lovers. Ever since I moved into my new condo, I have weeded twice a year just to make room for future purchases. A good way to start is to rid of all the books whose plots and characters you cannot recall.

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