Weeding to fit
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I have new bookcases -- three walls of them! BUT, it's already obvious that everything is not going to fit. I'm shelving things sidewise in piles; I've pulled several hundred things; I'm looking for more to pull. So, do any of you have "weeding criteria" like a library? I need psychological umph. (My family and friends say any woman who owns 3 boxes of just the North Carolina Historical Review needs a psychologist, but that's why I hang out on LT with the other nuts who understand.)
I, too, have friends and relatives who think I am plumb nuts to have so many books and magazines. I have had to do some inventory control - so, 1. fiction: if I have read it, don't particularly plan on lending it to anyone, and don't expect to want to re-read = it goes. 2. nonfiction: if the topic is one in which I am more or less not so interested in and if the used book stores might take it = it goes (to a used book store). 3. if it is a magazine and it is more than a year old, I have to conclude I am not looking at it again = recycled. 4. if I am pretty sure the used book store will love it, and I expect I won't be re-reading it = to the used book store.
Very seldom, I find some book so old or irrelevant or poorly made that I recycle it. I feel a little better because at least it is not going to the land fill.
I have tried to restrict myself from going to bookstores, except the used bookstores where I have credit. I try to use the library but that doesn't work really well because I check out too many and then can't read them all before they are due.
When all else fails, I get more bookshelves. I have moved from a place that was too small. Ah! I am glad the folks here understand I am not nuts, just really love my books and all the joy reading gives.
There are always book trading sites, like bookmooch, paperbackswap, and titletrader. But that's for the books you've already decided to get rid of, unless you choose to give up some to wishlists.
I mostly get rid of books that I know I am never going to read again.
Or, to turn it around, I try to only keep books that I know I'm going to read (or use, if they're reference) again. For the most part, anyway - I have a few books that are in the 'I'm collecting everything by this author' category, but so far there are only two authors I want to do that with. Otherwise, I expect to read/use all of my books again.
When I get around to joining one of the book swapping sites, I will be weeding out all the books that don't fit those categories.
This is a good problem Dragonfly. You may want to factor in value in your culling decision.
This has led to an interesting discussion with friends. I never realized there were so many people out there who don't reread books. Of my 400 odd fiction titles, most of them have been read at least several times -- a few 20 times or more. All the scholarly nonfiction is another problem. When you've shelled out the big bucks for a book and you don't have access to an academic library, it's sometimes hard to decide that you're "never" going to address that topic again. So far this week, I've mostly pulled stuff dealing with Florida topics since I no longer live in Florida. If it's Florida in the context of the Revolution or something like that though, that's a harder decision since I'm very interested in the Revolution. I need to check -- is bibliomania in the DSM?
If bibliomania is in the DSM, then my picture is there... is bold bright attention-getting colors!! There are some other pictures there... but you can't see the faces with all the books surrounding them!!
Warning - this post will be of no help if you are trying to get rid of books.
My number/variety of books in my library and the number/variety of books that I read has, just in the past 2 or 3 years, reached the point where I frequently find references in the book I'm reading either to books I've read or to events, passages or characters in books I've read. For me, it's way cool to be able to walk over to my bookshelf and open a book to the page/passage that my current book is referencing. I can read the reference in context, refresh my memory, look at my margin notes, etc., and then continue with my reading with a fuller understanding. On top of this, I can often find, in books I've bought but not yet read, the text that is quoted or referenced in my current reading.
Example? - In one hist. novel, there was a scene with four men traveling to meet Owen Glendower, the Welsh rebel. One of the men was a character in another book I had read; the other three were described in a biographical reference book in my library. Three of the four turned out to be direct ancestors which I had tracked down in my geneology research.
After years of trying to defend buying books twice as fast as I read and keeping all the books I read (unless they turn out to be rubbish or I have a duplicate), I can finally answer with a strong argument for keeping my library intact.
Told you this wouldn't help.
Last summer, I learned that there are people in nursing homes hungry for reading material--usually the few with physical, not mental, disabilities. For some reason, in the nursing home I visited, patients did not avail themselves of the local library's shut-in services, even after I brought the program and phone number to their attention. There did seem to be an active book exchange among some patients and staff, and there was a small inhouse "library".
Mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, memoirs, and novels were most in demand, but surprising to me, not romances. Inexpensive large-print books from library sales were appreciated by people with failing vision. I bet magazines with their pictures and large font titles would be welcomed even by patients with dementia!
We moved house about 18 months ago, and I did a fairly brutal cull of fiction - it's something I never thought I'd do, but the moment was ripe, and somehow I managed to say 'OK! Trashy detective novel #6007, out you go!'. I intended to sell them (I'm in an area with many second hand booksellers) but in the end the piles and piles of volumes just defeated me, no way could I carry them all in one, or even five trips. Eventually a friend who has the disease even worse than me came over and took 1/3 of them off my hands, and then another friend with a connection to an op-shop came and removed the rest for me. I thought: I've done so well, but AAARGGGHHH when I tried to shelve the remnant of our library at our new house THEY STILL DON'T FIT!
Apart from half a dozen questionable purchases in the meanwhile (man, I just don't learn!!!) I'm really left with the problem of non-fiction. And I just can't work out how to weed my non-fiction. How can you know what you'll want to refer to/lend out later? Most that I don't feel highly attached to are either : professional stuff for a past and/or possible future job, reference or unread (I really was meaning to get around to it, and may do so one day, and by crikey, I paid for the blessed thing!! ). Oh and then there are all the cookbooks. Should I just scan the three recipes (average) I have ever made out of each of my hundred or so cookbooks, and send the books out the door?
I could just get more shelving, but the group title underlines what I have certainly found to be true... only a very short term solution... and you have to house the shelves somewhere!!!
(I guess I could have cut this response down to a simple : me too!!!)
Take your time. If you are patient you may find some of your books will spontaneously choose one of your friends to go home with....or maybe you'll figure out how to run a book shelf across the top of a doorway. It'll work out, I bet.
My husband's parents did that for paperbacks -- put a shelf just far enough down from the ceiling to fit paperbacks, and ran it all the way around the inside of the house.
Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!
I am right there with you all on this. I have plans to buy two more sets of shelves, but I don't have a lot of wall space where I can put more units, thanks to wall sconce my landlords put in that totally break up the walls. But, I really do need to do some culling. I don't want to, though!
I don't re-read a lot, but I do sometimes, so I don't want to get rid of anything that I might want to re-read. I could be more critical about what I am really likely to read again, though. I agree that it is hard to get rid of non-fiction, and I like to have classics on hand for quick reference, if not totally re-reading them. I am also surprised by how rarely people re-read books. I love re-visiting books I have enjoyed in the past. I haven't been re-reading as much lately because I have a lot of books that I haven't read yet, so I want to get to those before I do a lot of re-reading, but even so, I have re-read 7 books this year.
I have to say, this isn't the best forum to ask about book culling, we are all having this difficulty! Whenever I get new bookshelves, they look so nice for about a month or so, and then the books start piling up.
Only just found this group but I feel really at home already reading about others with serious shelving problems! We (my husband who is just as bad! and I) have managed to keep things vaguely under control by an early decision to buy some good library bookshelves (Remploy's Lundia hardwood) about 25 years ago and then limiting our collection to what would fit. If I remember correctly we bought about 6 tall (2m X 90cm) and two shorter but wider shelved units originally and then increased this two 9 tall ones a bit later when we had a bigger house. At that stage we reckoned that was as many shelves as we were likely to be able to fit in any house we could afford. We did have a good cull when we moved about 3 years ago (with the internet we were willing to get get rid of some none fiction kept 'just in case we need to look up information on that topic') but already the shelves are full again! With swap sites available now (and my increasing age) I have got slightly better at getting rid of fiction book that realistically I am never going to read again. Library thing has also helped in that I am maybe more willing to pass on a book now I can at least record that I once owned/read it (however, overall, LT has probably increased the number of books by alerting me to others I'd like to read).
So, not really a lot in the way of suggestions - but it's great to find fellow sufferers.
When I first uploaded my books with ISBN’s I went through them and rated a few 'one star' with the intention to take them to the used bookstore. I still have not done it.
There is just no way our books will ever fit in our house's bookshelves. We're already out of wall space for the most part, and we have things double shelved, boxes in the basement full of books, piles on my nightstand, piles in each child's room...
Yeah, whether or not there's an ICD-9/DSM code, if there's a dictionary entry it's got my name on it.
I joined BookMooch primarily to get rid of the few things we'd never use again--like homeschooling materials I don't consider reference works and books on crafts like woodworking and glassblowing I'm really never going to take up, but then I have all those lovely points to use...and so very many books yet to read out there in the wild.
And then there are the children. I have to provide them with a wide variety of materials to keep them interested and occupied, don't I.
We could have worse addictions, right, LeesyLou? I still have a little bit of wall space, but not much. I need to move someplace with more bookshelf space. I was looking to buy a place last year, and my real estate agent laughed at me, because one of the first things I did in every place was start to estimate where I could put bookshelves.
My problem is space and *weight* - I have a Victorian terraced cottage, built in 1870, the internal walls are lath and plaster and will bear no weight at all and the load bearing walls are all er..... bearing loads. Unless I start on the bathroom I don't know where I can go next.
I have culled all the pulpy stuff and most of the duplicates in the direction of the charity bookshop and still they keep coming into the house.
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