Big shock – I horde books. There's no denying it and I know I'm not alone in this. Because I loathe hoarding in general I am always trying to invent new ways to get myself to pare down my stacks. With the possibility of another move in the next few months, I am dreading the process of boxing, loading and unloading our more-than-healthy library again.
There are three main groups I have to tackle:
Books I've been meaning to read but still haven't: For example, I read “The Poisonwood Bible” a decade ago and ever since, I've snatched up every Barbara Kingsolver book I come across, but I've yet to crack the spine on a single one.
Books I read and liked but can't remember much about: Even as I sit here, I can't remember their names. Clearly they didn't have the mournful tone of Katherine Dunn's “Geek Love” or the breathless pacing of Thad Nodine's “Touch And Go” or the swooning feeling of Brendan Halpin's “Dear Catastrophe Waitress”. No, these other books are ones I liked but did not love and still they've made the cut again and again.
Books that go with other books: I think of these as “the collections” and they take up an inordinate amount of space on our shelves. Some of the books in these collections are beloved, but most I keep for reference, or because they look cozy beside one another. There is the Religion and Other Mythologies collection, a whole shelf of Philosophy and Political Theory, big fat smart books, most of which I've merely browsed. There's another shelf full of Feminist Theory and Queer books, which I am loathe to dismantle. I mean Julia Serano's “Whipping Girl” is going NOWHERE, but do I honestly NEED to have “EcoFeminism” within reach at all times?
I'm never going to re-read “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” but it broke my heart and somehow I can't bear to part with it. And the artsy book I bought about William S. Burroughs is better than any book I own BY William S. Burroughs, but it seems silly to own the bio book without having his actual work snuggled up next to it.
Still, this time, I'm serious. Everything short of beloved MUST GO. So I've been thinking that I need a set criteria, perhaps a weeding-out list. If you have a system that works for you please let me know. And if you want to come over and take some books from my horde to add to your own stash, please feel free!