Booking Through Thursday: Weeding


When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?

Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)

And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?

It used to be that I’d weed out the shelves when they truly were overflowing — or if one shelf collapsed on another. With the number of review copies I get, though, I’ve changed my method over the last year or so.

Now, whenever I finish a book, I make a preliminary decision whether it is “shelf-worthy.” Akin to being “sponge-worthy,” the question is whether this is a book to which I am willing to commit my shelf space. If so, it goes on the shelves. If not, it goes in a box near the bookshelves that is earmarked for the used book store and/or library.

Ending up in the box is not necessarily the end of the line. Before the box leaves the house, I take another look at the books that have accumulated in it. On occasion, this additional review results in one or more being deemed shelf-worthy. They will then be safe unless and until space constraints mandate the pain of weeding throughout the entire collection.

There is such seduction in a library of good books that I cannot resist the temptation to luxuriate in reading.

John Quincy Adams, Memoirs

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