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?