Despite having given away bags and bags of books, I still have too many, i.e. too many for the space I live in and the bookcases I own.
I live in a medium-sized flat and I have only twelve bookcases, three of which are really stupidly designed, with shelves that are too deep and too widely spaced to make sense — unless they weren’t made for books, but to display tall vases or something. To maximise the height and depth of these shelves, books need to be double-stacked flat. It’s not a friendly arrangement. Looking for books makes me want to scream, although that’s not all the fault of the shelves — I haven’t organised my books in years. (BTW, I did not buy these shelves. The ex-husband did. Yes, blame it all on him, harhar.)
Anyway, I don’t have limitless space for books. For years I have kept stacks of them in the cabinets above my wardrobe, but what’s the good of having books you love if they have to be out of sight?
I have already done a few rounds of culling, but I need to do more so those hidden-away books can come join the others.
Questions I need to ask myself when I do my next sweep:
- Just how many copies of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books do I need?
- Should I keep a book just because someone I care about gave it to me?
- If I have Keats’s complete poems, should I also keep a slimmer volume of his poetry just because I like the portrait that’s on the cover?
- How likely am I to read a biography of Leonard Wolff? And do I need to own it just because it’s by Victoria Glendinning? (These questions apply to about half a dozen biographies. Eg. Mary Shelley, because Muriel Spark wrote it?)
There are a whole lot of classics I should send marching (they will probably always be in print, and/or can be found on Project Gutenberg); also, a great many books that belong to the ex-husband. These books are, however, staying put for reasons I won’t get into. Grrr.
I think I shall start culling again today. Stay tuned for the final results (Leonard Wolff will probably be there).