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I agree with that approach to how to treat books once you've read them. On the other hand I have a lot of books I've not yet read because a) I read lots of different genres and b) like to have a good choice for my next book in each genre.


Yes, I too would find it hard to restrict my shelf to just six books, but perhaps the authors would allow half a dozen in each genre.


To get rid of books is indeed a terrifying thought, too much for me to contemplate at the moment. The 'to read' shelf sounds like a good plan, although I fear I have more than half a dozen!!! More self discipline required methinks!!


I must have another cull because the shelves are more than full again, but the 'current reading' plan would be tricky for a book reviewer/book blogger to implement, I think. Worth considering, though.


I agree with the advice about culling books but only because I hate clutter and unwanted books fall into this category. The rules about to-be-read books and buying books are just plain daft. Read whatever you like whenever you like in whatever order you like. And I shall buy a new book whenever I like thank you very much, never mind how many others I have not finished.


You've got me laughing, Sue!
If I were speaking in defence of the authors, whose role as bibliotherapists is to advise someone who presents with a specific problem, I'd say it's sound enough advice for a compulsive book-buyer, but like you I think it's perhaps too prescriptive for those of us who are happy in our current buying/reading habits.

Dark Puss

I'm with Sue, except that I obviously don't need a current reading shelf in my life.


No, you can hardly be said to be a compulsive book-buyer, DP!
I've been looking at the list of 'reading ailments' to see if there's any from which you might 'suffer', but I don't think there are.


Any advice about the books under the bed? I was once given a 'how to organise your life' manual (can't think why anyone would buy such a thing for me!) and the bossy author, who had a decluttering series on TV, suggested that each member of the family should be 'allowed' to keep one book downstairs, and that you should cull all reading matter regularly, keeping only your 'favourite self-help books.' Which I think said it all! That was one book I chucked without a twinge, though.


I'd have chucked it too!

Christine Harding

I theory I agree, but in practice I can't do it. I force myself to have a cull every couple of years, to make room for more books, and I feel like a murderer, even when I get rid of books I don't like and know I will never read again. And if I don't take them to Oxfam immediately they mysteriously find their way back on to the shelves again... They're like homing pigeons...And I can't pass by second-hand books that I want to read - if I do I may never see them again!


Four major culls in my book life. The last by flood and NEVER AGAIN. In fact I've been more ruled by organized buying. Major Replacements twice--the flood of course and then many years previously gradually realizing which books I wanted to replace (British and French mostly ) because they weren't available in the US. This was pre-internet days of course.

Now I find books more and more precious and never want to dispose of them. I'm still buying, even with Kindle titles now readily to hand.

Margaret @ BooksPlease

Oh, this is so difficult! I don't like the idea of deciding in advance which book to read, I like to read what I want, when I want. But I have to cull books, painful though that is - just not enough space otherwise. The trouble is that as fast as I make space more books arrive to fill it up again.


I have had three major culls before downsizing my home. Then I arranged to have just 48 feet of book shelves in my new abode. However the first set of shelves were wide enough to double I bought another bookshelf for overflow in the spare room. Now when my DIL visits the first thing she does is to ask what books she can take to charity shops. I recommend a regular DIL visit, or some similar friend or relative. I do try to borrow rather than buy but then I sometimes find a borrowing leads to a buying.


Too hard! I agree with Sue. However, I did give two bags of books to Oxfam yesterday. Smugchops.


I don't know why this feels like bearing my soul but I confess to bringing in a bag of books for the discard table at my library. But some of them end up in my locker because I can't bear the thought of someone buying them right there in front of me. After a few weeks I either cart them back home or put them in the bin on my way out, hoping they will be gone before I get back to work.


I agree with the culling part, and do fairly well donating to keep control of the numbers. The part that I cannot do is the TBR shelf. The vast majority of my purchases are extremely cheap used books which I grab when they are available. If my purchases were new, then I could control myself because I could purchase a given book at any time in the future. Oh heck! I'd still break the six book rule! Library books are my main reads and luckily they HAVE to be returned.


What a very good point, that library books HAVE to be returned. A good reason to make more use of my library..

Victoria Corby

I try to cull regularly, have to or we'd suffocate under an avalanche of books but the rules about deciding what you're reading in advance and junking anything that stays around for too long is absolute nonsense. I often leave books for a year or two and then gobble them up because the moment to read them has come. the idea that you can't buy a book unless you've read one is even bigger nonsense. What are you supposed to do when you come across a good second bookshop? Or a charity booksale

Dark Puss

Also Freda there is (for me anyway) much less of a psychological pressure to finish a book you don't get on with if you have borrowed it from a library. I also like the "random" choice aspect that borrowing entails; I'm not at all sure I would do that if it cost me money on the spot.


10%? Good grief! Unthinkable! I had a cull 20 years ago when when we moved house. Since then I've had to buy about half of the books I got rid of because I missed them. But I do admit that not everyone has my re-reading habits. I only cull books I am sure I won't re-read, and I'm not always right about that.


Theoretically this is very good advice for me. Sadly in reality I score an epic fail on both counts although I am well aware that I really shouldn't acquire any more books as the number of those waiting to be read will probably see me out!

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