I get rid of stuff pretty regularly (clothes, books, appliances, etc) and it has definitely come time to unhaul a few more books. I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been at least a little encouraged by having recently finished Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. So, without any further ado, here’s what I’m unhauling:
The following is a list of the books in case you can’t read some of the titles (…since I screencapped the image from a Facebook post I made to see if any of my friends want to claim my books before I take them to the charity shop! haha)
THE DHAMMAPADA by Anonymous (non-fiction)
THE VEGETARIAN by Han Kang (fiction)
THE WOMAN WARRIOR by Maxine Hong-Kingston (highly(!) fictionalised/narrative(?) non-fiction)
THE ICARUS GIRL by Helen Oyeyemi (fiction)
*THE REDEEMER by Jo Nesbo (fiction)
THE SECRET ADVERSARY by Agatha Christie (fiction)
BAD FEMINIST by Roxane Gay (non-fiction)
CORALINE by Neil Gaiman (fiction)
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RIVER by Jamaica Kincaid (fiction)
THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS by Albert Camus (non-fiction)
KITCHEN by Banana Yoshimoto (fiction)
*SNOOP by Sam Gosling (non-fiction)
THE HOBBIT by JRR Tolkien (fiction)
THE GUEST CAT by Takashi Hiraide (fiction)
*AN ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH by Chris Hadfield (non-fiction)
*Asterisk means I haven’t read it but the main reason I get rid of books I haven’t read is because I acquired them on a whim and still haven’t read them a year or so later and have no strong desire to change that situation.
There’s something really nice about getting rid of things in general and I definitely feel that when I make room on my bookshelves. I know there’s a quote about not really loving a book if you’ve only read it once, but that’s bullshit…IMHO. The book has served a great purpose by serendipitously coming to you at the right time to give you just what you need. That’s enough. That’s all one can hope from it. If it is able to do more upon further re-readings, then great! And that should be treasured too. But the love is no less real if you don’t feel any desire to challenge your previous wonderful experience of the book. Life is too short to be bullied by aggressive re-readers who want you to read the same way they do before permitting you to be able to say you love something or call it your favourite.
As someone who doesn’t reread often, when I’m honest with myself about whether it’s worth keeping a book on my shelf, it’s not really that hard to let things go even if it’s a book I loved. Those are the books I often gift to friends to share the love. Ironically, I sometimes find it more difficult to unhaul a book I didn’t love because I want to give it a second chance to impress me or to at least give me something before I get rid of it. In fact, I’d say I’ve re-read more books that I first hated(!) than ones I’ve loved. And that has been really interesting for me. Which isn’t to say I’ll re-read all the books I’ve ever disliked… But some of them have definitely benefited from the second chance.
Clearing out my shelves is often also a great opportunity to think about what things I want to keep and discard in my life generally. I find it really healthy for my mental well-being and it’s interesting to learn new tiny things about myself through this process of decision-making and discarding.
How about you?