Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Book purge 09 – Non fiction, part 1

I decided to start with the non-fiction books reasoning that:

A. I am more of a fiction fan so they might be marginally easier for me to purge in a calm & rational manner

B. They are what is the first two bookcases of the office and are more likely to be grouped together in other bookshelves.

Mostly B was the driving force because I am attached to all these books & can rationalize keeping every last one of them.

I approached the first bookshelf and tried to be detached about it’s contents – history.

Oh but I *love* history. Especially Tudor era history which is the bulk of the books, and the history of women from ancient to Tudor times, which is most of the rest of the books, and London, which is the rest of the rest of the books. So I can’t get rid of ANY of them.

….stares at the shelves for a bit, fingering the titles fondly…

Ok, maybe I do not need 5 autobiographies of Elizabeth I, maybe just my 2 favorites and I never really liked Mary, Queen of Scots so we can get rid of those books too. There are rather a lot of books on the role of women in various ages…perhaps it is time to admit that thesis will never be written & if it was would probably want more recent sources than 1989… Yes, it is my ‘field’, but honestly, what in the past 15 years have I done in that field except engage in online arguments about the history of midwifery? And when was the last time I did that?

My goodness, just how many “history of London” themed books does one woman need? And wow, that is a lot of books on the kings & queens of England. Really, I think I have more than the local library does. Possibly the boys might find some of them helpful over the next decade should they need to write a report on an English monarch. But do kids these days even look in books? Don’t they find everything on the internet? Even if they do look in books, do I really need 11 books on the subject?  Probably not.

What about these travel essays tucked up here behind these knick knacks? Obviously they are not being re-read or the knick knacks would be behind them. Are collections of essays worth keeping when you only really enjoyed 3 out of 16 of the essays, though probably 7 others were good reads, maybe just not worth rereading? What if you can’t recall any of the essays? Do you keep it and reread it & then decide or do you toss it on the theory that since you can’t remember the book it must not be that good?

…stare at the bookshelves awhile longer…

That would require a lot of rereading if I am going to go down that path. Not that that is a bad thing but it is going against the goal here of removing books. These travel essay collections are likely to end up on the library shelves rather than their sale room. So theoretically I can still reread them at my leisure.

Why do I have a bunch of Day in the Life photography coffee table books? A Day in the Life Australian from 1982, A Day in the Life Soviet Union from 1987 (possibly of some historic significance), a Day in the Life Italy from 1990, etc…some of these really should go, stunning photography or not. I haven’t looked at them in years.

That removed about 40+ books from my collection. A bit more than a shelf’s worth but by reorganzing them I gained almost 2 shelves and filled a whole box, plus have a small stack for listing online.

tune in tomorrow for Non-fiction part 2 – the esoteric


Too Many Hats said...


Have you thought at all about getting a Kindle and not having to take up more bookshelf space with new reads?

I think there is even an app for the IPhone that is a Kindle app.

Jenni Jiggety said...

It's quite an undertaking you've got yourself into there!

Creative Junkie said...

isn't there a site (maybe it's a part of amazon??) specifically dedicated to selling books? Maybe you should try selling them?