The only way I can cull my book collection is to be methodical. And it’s no use asking the Marie Kondo question, do I love this book? Of course I do, either for the pleasure it has given me or the pleasure it will bestow when I do eventually read it. Books that I have no feelings for don’t even pass through the front door (apart from the occasional unsolicited review copy). So the questions I asked yesterday were as follows:
a) Of the unread, do I absolutely, with all my heart, still want to read this book?
b) Of the read that are not part of a collection, would I like to reread you?
About 5 minutes into the exercise it became clear that I asked those questions last time and so I added a third:
c) Of paperbacks, should I ever wish to read/reread you, could I borrow you from the library?
It’s an indicator of my lack of confidence in Lanarkshire’s libraries that I only added less than 10 paperbacks to the cull pile as a result of this question – which is a bit daft when you think about it. If I donate a book to the library, of course it’s going to be there if I want to read it. (Well, you’d think so, but there have been at least two occasions when that was not so.)
After 6 hours working through 2 rooms and about 1500 books, the output of my labour was this.
Clearly I need to find more effective questions for the next cull. What do you suggest?
Still it wasn’t all about numbers, though there was a impetus in balancing 2016’s purchase allowance equation: Purchases = (books read + books culled) / 5. So even though I’ve culled 278 books in total this year, I’ve still bought 25 more than my allowance.
There was also the issue of physical balance as the toppling book stacks in the library were a definite health and safety risk and the latest collapse only just missed me. Well I can’t claim that those particular stacks are now any shorter, but they are looking much more stable. I can also confirm that there is a carpet in the room, having removed many smaller stacks from the library floor to the overflow area in the front bedroom (which will become a second library when there are bookshelves).
So more of a tidy-up than a fully-fledged cull, but still with one positive outcome. I have reclaimed my reading sofa! So Sergei and I can now stretch out/snuggle up as the mood takes us as we take on the TBR, which now stands at only 1925 volumes high.