08 December 2015

The art of letting go of books



In the last days I have read some books, but most of my bookish activities had to do with looking through all of my books and sorting out those I liked, but didn't love. Years ago I kept all the books I read, then only the ones I enjoyed, now I'm going one step further. 


I decided to ask myself some questions:
Does owning the book make me happy? 
How do I feel when thinking about the book? 
Will I reread the book in the future? Am I still interested in the story?
Do I need/want several versions of this book? If no, which version should go? 
The questions are helping me to let go of some books, I'm not forcing myself to let go of a certain number of books, but it's time to really think long and hard about which books I want to have on my shelves.

In the last two years I sorted out a lot of clothes, used up cosmetics and make-up and made sure to only buy things I needed or loved. I own less now and feel better because of it. I no longer let the things I own define who I am and how I feel, I still enjoy owning certain things in life, for example books, but created some distance between what I own and who I am. 


I'm still in the middle of this sorting out books process, so far I sorted out about 150 books which is a good number for me. Some books were easy to sort out, with others I struggled. I'm taking the time to do this slowly so my brain can get used to letting go of certain books. 

In the last days I reread some passages in books I wasn't sure about, at times I loved reconnecting with the story and of course then the book was allowed to stay, other times I didn't feel anything positive when rereading the pages, so the book was sorted out. 


I plan to finish this process later this week. I'm already packing boxes full of books to sell, give to friends, donate and so on, right now there are still books in piles on the floor everywhere and this drives me crazy, so my goal is to get the books to their new homes as quickly as possible. 

I'm not sure how much shelf space will be empty once I'm finished and it's not that important, I will still own a lot of books and I don't feel bad about that. It's all about having a home library full of books that make me happy. 

Btw, I'm filming part of the sorting out process for my booktube channel, if you are interested in the videos, check out the shelfmas videos on my channel. 

Happy Reading!

12 comments:

  1. Oh! I just did this myself (and posted about it today). I got rid of a total of 68 books; either I had multiple copies somehow, didn't like the book, wasn't going to read it, DNF'ed it, or wasn't ever going to reread it. I still kept all the "maybe books", because I didn't want to take it overboard to begin with. I think I did pretty well. None of them were hard to let go. Maybe next year I'll make some more difficult decisions using your questions.
    Here's the link to mine if you're interested: https://boekenbooksbuecher.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/unhaul-2/

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    1. Letting go of the maybe books is sometimes so hard, I still have around five of these on my shelves, but I'm ok with it.

      Happy Reading!

      Delete
  2. Except for a very few very favorite books and authors, I pass on books I read. Most I won't read again, and it doesn't do me or the book any good just sitting on a shelf. I find more joy in giving them to someone who will read them and enjoy them. I've passed a lot on to my sons' high school because they have a very limited budget and it was hard to keep a fresh selection in the library for students and faculty. Some go to my mom and sister. I do occasionally swap on PBS, but haven't done that too much in awhile.

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    Replies
    1. Great that you have found a system that works for you. I also know some readers who own only very few books even though they read a lot, not everyone feels the need to keep books in their own home. And yay for supporting a local library, I do the same with the German books I sort out and some of the English ones (of course the library only has a limited space for English books).

      In general I'm fascinated by seeing how other people handle keeping books or not. There are so many interesting ways to handle owning books. I love to reread books so it makes sense for me to keep what I enjoyed.

      Happy Reading!

      Delete
  3. I started cleaning my bookshelves and it has been liberating. I only kept a couple of books I want to share with my kids someday, but the rest have been sold, donated or gifted.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I also kept some books that I would love to share with my niece and nephew someday, I hope that both will love books as much as I do.

      Dito on feeling liberated after letting go of some books, at times sorting out books was hard for me, but in the end I now feel better when looking at my shelves than I did before.

      Happy Reading!

      Delete
  4. All very good questions when trying to cull the pile. I have been really good over the last several years about ridding myself of books that I either will never read, or will never read again. My library loves to see me coming. :) It frees my mind to focus on the books that I really want to spend time with.

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    1. My library loves the books as well, as do my family members and friends.

      Happy Reading!

      Delete
  5. This is a very good idea! I am still not getting rid of books because it really involves a lot of thinking and emotions, and time. Also I have a new shelf coming in soon... but it is important, and maybe this will help me, too: those books can make someone else happy. happy reading! MOOSE

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    1. So true, I wouldn't sort out books in stressful times, I only do it when I'm relaxed and when my mind is calm, otherwise it doesn't work for me.

      Happy Reading!

      Delete
  6. It just started getting easier for me to let go of books. I'm taking it kind of slow-ish. If it's signed or I loved it I keep it. If it was Meh or less, I give it up. :)

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    1. Taking it slowly is something I can really recommend, I have sorted out books bit by bit over the last years and now I'm finally at a point where my shelves are pretty much perfect for me.

      Happy Reading!

      Delete

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