The Grand Cull Commences!

Having written an impassioned piece a couple of weeks ago about my dilemma on which books to keep once I’ve read them, I’m starting a grand stock take of all my books, and in particular my humungous TBR (to be read) piles.  Before any book goes back on the shelves, I will decide whether to keep or cull.

For old classics that I’ve not read yet it’s straight-forward – unless they’re collectable or have particularly good supporting material, as long as there’s a cheap e-book version, I don’t need to keep a copy.  I’ve sent two bags full mostly of these books to the charity shop already.  Modern classics are more difficult though, I’ve inherited a pile of paperback novels from my late Mum by authors such as John Steinbeck – but as the Kindle versions are expensive I’m loath to let them go. However, I may not get around to reading some of them for years.  A quandary beckons …

Then what to do about books like these two?

The Iron King is about Philip IV of France, set in the 14th C, by Maurice Druon and translated from the French my Humphrey Hare (1956), billed as a ‘blood-curdling tale of intrigue, murder, corruption and sexual passion’.

Thomas by US author Shelley Mydans was published in 1965 and is a novelisation of the relationship between Henry II and Thomas A’Becket.

Both are manky old paperbacks, but could be good fun reads – both about periods of history I’m very dodgy on (I know they are fiction, but they are based on fact so I would learn something!).  Also being totally O/P I’d never find them again – is that enough?  Should I …

Keep or Cull?

Another area where I’ve been more successful is in culling doubles (or sometimes trebles).  Over the years I’ve treated myself to some collectable or luxury hardbacks – Folio Society editions for the most part.  As they’re almost too nice to actually read (I know!) I had kept my paperbacks too, but they are going – so out go paperbacks of Suetonius, I Claudius, The Once & Future King, F.Scott Fitzgeralds, amongst others.

Another nice thing to emerge from sorting out my books is the possibility of having a bookcase of themed reading – books on Arthurian and related myths and legends, and also fairy and folk tales for instance, will fill shelves on their own and mix fiction and non-fiction happily.  I’m normally a strict Fiction A-Z by author, Biography A-Z by subject, and Non-Fiction A-Z by author kind of indexer!

I have a long way to go, but today I’ve filled another bag for the charity shop and listed some others on Amazon to sell, so I am making some progress towards bringing my home TBR library down to more manageable proportions.

How do you decide what to cull from your TBR?



11 thoughts on “The Grand Cull Commences!

  1. I just cleared out over 50 books from my collection. All kinds – paperback and hard cover. I look at it and if I did not love it first time around, I doubt I am going to love it ever again. I am still hoping to clear out more.

  2. Will you ever read those two books? If not, they should go.

    I’ve started culling too. Ironically, the reason is because a room is to be converted into a library and you can’t get as many books on shelves as you can piled up on the floor. Plus I have to make space to build the bookcases in the first place. It’s an upside down world sometimes!

    • It’s difficult – I probably won’t read them, but I might …. 😀

      I’ll be gaining room for 2 more bookcases soon, so hopefully, so of the piles can come off the floor, but that still leaves a lot of books to move like you. Hope your plans go well.

  3. If you think you’ll read those two books, I’d say keep them since they’re out of print, but I see you’re thinking you probably won’t. Maybe do a little research and see whether they’re highly regarded? Or do what I’ve done a few times—post them on a swap or sale site and hold onto them until a buyer/swapper turns up. If you get a chance to read them before then, great! If not, they’re found good homes 🙂

  4. Oh you’ve got to keep the O/P two! But of course it depends on how much space you have;P Of course you can read them and then give them away!

  5. Good luck with this!
    I’m all for the themed reading layout – that is the closest any of my books have come to being organised. Just the thought of having to arrange any of them alphabetically gives me a headache.
    I do need to follow your example though and begin a cull.
    I really am going to have to be ruthless and clear out anything that I have already read but can’t guarantee I will read again but then I think that maybe one of my daughters might want to read it at some point and I’m back to square one!

    • I know exactly how you feel Liz. Luckily my daughter is only 10, so I can dispose of paperbacks she might read now – she’ll probably be wanting her own kindle in years to come anyway!

  6. I’ve been on a never-ending cull for the last year now, and am pretty brutal with books – they don’t last long unless they’re exceptional. I’ve also cleared out the loft so am feeling pretty pleased with myself. May I suggest, if you have to question whether its cull or keep, the answer is always cull!

  7. Culling. I have such difficulty doing that! I like your reasoning about the classics. I think I will do the same for most of the cheap Wordsworth editions. But then, I seem unable to throw copies of my favourite classics away..

    • If they’re favourites, I’d keep them. But those cheap editions aren’t so easy to read – small print and all that.

  8. Thanks for all your comments. Just thought I’d let you know, I’ve decided to keep the French novel above, and ditch Thomas, and I’ve filled two more bags for the charity shop – but that’s just the start.

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