A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I reduced my personal library by more than half. Since that time, I've been asked for more details on how I decided which books to keep and which ones to give away. Apparently lots of people are interested in this because Florinda of the Three R's Blog was asked the same thing.
So I thought, on this holiday Monday, that I'd try to explain my process. Just to recap, I looked at each book individually, holding it my hands while making my assessment. I did not follow the Kondo test, however, figuring that most books bring me joy.
The Easy Yes
There were several categories of books (often overlapping) that were easy to say yes to.
- My favorite authors. This is kind of obvious, but it's true, some authors will always live on my bookshelves.
- Books that moved me when I read them and I still remember why. I don't know about you, but sometimes I loved a book when I read it, but months or years later I couldn't tell you why. If just looking at the book brought back the words or the character or the emotion, I kept it.
- Books that both Mr. BFR and I loved and that we still talk about or refer to.
When culling my library, I was surprised by how many books I had that I was never going to read or reread.
- Genres that I just don't read, such as horror.
- Yellowing, old paperbacks with no sentimental value.
- Books I simply lost interest in. Most of these were DNFs (did not finish) that I kept, perhaps thinking I'd give them another chance.
- Books I've read but didn't love enough to revisit.
As you can guess, the vast majority of the books I had fell somewhere in the middle of immediate yes or no. Whether the book or ARC was new or old, I went through the following process for each unread book--and, yes, it took some time. (And clearly I need to practice using the drawing tool!)
After going through my flow chart, I used following additional criteria to help me remove a book from my house:
- If I also had an eGalley, I donated my print copy.
- If I was only vaguely interested in the book, I checked to see if I could get it from my library or bookstore. If so, I let the review copy go.
- If the print was really tiny, the ARC was poorly bound, or the leading was small and I could get the book or eBook from my library or bookstore, I donated my print copy.