It has been ages since I last did a discussion post and I’m so pleased to be bringing one to you today. Discussion posts are some of my favourite things to read from other bloggers, and they are always fun to write and chat about afterwards, so I do hope you enjoy reading this one!
The above question is one that I’ve often thought about, usually when I’m trying to ram yet another book onto my already overflowing bookshelves. It also quite often pops into my mind when I decide I’m going to purge my shelves of multiple titles, before inevitably putting every book back because I just can’t bear to part with any. I often, and by often I mean daily, lament the lack of storage space in my house, and if I could condense my book collection down, even just by half then it would make a huge difference space wise, and yet I never do.
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I have two double bookshelves, I have never shared a photo of them here, or on Instagram because quite frankly I would be too embarrassed. When I say that they are fit to burst I really mean it! Periodically I will give them a tidy, or attempt to at least, and sometimes I go wild and even try to alphabetise them, or organise by author/genre etc, but the organisation never lasts. In a nutshell I have more books than shelves, and because of that there are titles piled on top of titles, books rammed into every nook and cranny and the result is a librarian’s nightmare – no correlation and no possibility of finding something specific easily. It’s a shame really because whilst I can somewhat handle the chaos – I’ve learned to live with it, there are some really beautiful spines hidden away that deserve to be seen. The only saving grace is that my bookshelves are inside the cupboard in my front room so I can at least close the door and pretend I’m not letting the book community down.
There is of course a solution to this dilemma screaming out isn’t there, in fact it couldn’t be more obvious – get rid of some of the books. Which leads me nicely back to my original question: Do you/should you keep books that you have no intention of re-reading? There are so many books that I own which if I’m being honest I probably won’t pick up again. That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed them, but I rarely re-read. It has to be a really special title for me to pick it up more than once. There are just so many books out there and far too little time to get through them all (particularly for a slow reader like me), that I simply struggle to find the time to re-read any. In fact, if I’m being completely honest some of my most treasured books that I would love to re-read haven’t made their way into my hands for so long, meaning those that rank lower on the list really don’t stand much of a chance.
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So, why am I holding onto them?
I actually don’t know. It seems pretty silly to do so now that I sit here writing this. I should really donate some so that other readers can enjoy them. A book is meant to be read after all isn’t it, it hardly seems fair to subject some of mine to a life of languishing forgotten on my shelves. However, it is very easy to say that now, the actual act of getting rid of them is one that just fills me with dread. I sometimes wonder if subconsciously I feel like less of a credible bookworm, and indeed book blogger, the smaller my physical collection is. I’ve certainly felt out of a place when I’ve seen hyped up titles doing the rounds and I’ve not even heard of them let alone picked them up and read them, and goodness me if one of those titles sounds like something I would hate then that really gives me the shivers! So, to then consider that I may not have enough books, or the ‘right books’ (whatever they are!) is a rabbit hole I really don’t want to go down!
I feel as though this question, at least for me personally, is one of those scenarios where I would give different advice/answers than my actual actions reflect. I would say no, you shouldn’t keep books that you have no intention of re-reading, unless there is a particular justification to hold onto it, say sentimental purposes for example, and the reason I would say to get rid is because well, what’s the point of holding onto them, they quite literally take up space that could be used for something else, and also they may be a potential favourite for a new reader, so they deserve that chance to shine elsewhere. I wish I could follow that when it comes to my own books, or at least provide a credible answer for why I can’t, but frustratingly I just can’t seem to do either. I fear I may be destined to a lifetime of haphazard, gasp inducing, messy bookshelves. I guess I better ensure that any future home I have has a cupboard that I can hide said shelves away in, so I can keep my dirty little secret.
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If you’ve made it this far then thank you and well done, I fear it may have been a bit of slog to get to this point! I have no further clarity than when I started, but at least I’ve confessed as to the state of my bookshelves, so you won’t be expecting any of those gorgeous ‘shelfies’ that other far more put together members of the book community share.
I’d love for you to join the discussion and answer the question: do you/should you keep books that you have no intention of re-reading? And any other points/musings that this post may have prompted are welcome also. As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!