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Musing Mondays: Keepers


Do you keep all the books you ever buy? Just the ones you love? Just collectibles? What do you do with the ones you don’t want to keep?

I wish.

For a long time, I did keep virtually every book I bought unless it was one I really disliked. For a long period of time, the largest number of boxes when I moved were those with books and LP records. Yet the realities of the quantities accumulated over decades and the space available for bookshelves in a home eventually brought my keeper habits to an end.

As I’ve indicated before, I implemented a new routine in the last couple years. Now once I’ve read a book, it is evaluated for whether it is “shelf-worthy,” i.e., whether I willing to commit my now limited shelf space to it. There’s certainly no strict guidelines. It is more intuition and gut reaction.

Any book that doesn’t make the cut goes in a box earmarked for the used book store and/or library. Each of those books has a chance for a reprieve as, before the box leaves the house, I peruse it to make sure all of them are “goners.” Yet even then, I still periodically weed through my shelves when space constraints dictate it — usually one shelf collapsing on another.


Get rid of a book? No way. Every one is a brick keeping the building standing. Books are my life.

Joshua Ferris, “Books You Can Live Without

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2 comments to Musing Mondays: Keepers

  • When I traveled solo through the world, I kept all of my books. However, combining libraries with my partner has forced me to be more discriminating. I still keep most of my non-fiction books (especially books about religion). However, I do give away most of the novels I read, unless they move me deeply (like The Poisonwood Bible and The God of Small Things).

  • I’ve been putting off building new bookcases until you blog about the ideal standard for bookcases. Please do so soon, because my books can no longer wait in piles all over the house.