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Dark Puss

Hi, does she (or can you) explain your quoted extract? Why is my first encounter with a book the right time to read it? I have not found that to be true in practice for several books I have read.

Barbara MacLeod

I think a lot of this subject depends on where you are coming from, i.e. books for a lot of people are 'friends' or 'companions'. Clutter? Never!


I agree with Dark Puss, sometimes books have to mature on your shelves like a fine wine, waiting patiently for the time you need them most! I also think that, although our favourites retain a special place in our hearts and on our bookshelves, there are so many wonderful books in the world, why deprive yourself by restricting your collection?

Victoria Corby

I don't agree with her at all! I've had books in my bookcase for years before the moment becomes right to read them and I devour them. I've also started books, wasn't enjoying them but knew that I might sometime later and out them back. Trying again later doesn't always work but I've had some really good surprises.


I've just read a book that has been on my shelf for 4 years, and surprised myself by enjoying it so much, having found it difficult to read originally. My collection of books is large, but couldn't bear to part with any of them, although I'm fast running out of room!


Not in so many words, but in the context in which she is writing, i.e. of disposing of surplus items and organising what remains, she sees unread books as ones whose moment has been missed as she argues that if you haven't read a book in the x years since you got it, the initial spark of attraction has petered out and it's not something you should keep over something else which is more meaningful to you. I'm not explaining it very well, and I don't necessarily agree with her, but I can see what she's getting at, particularly as she is writing as a decluttering/reorganising expert, not a bibliophile.


The author advises people who wish to reduce their possessions to a significant degree and reorganise what remains, so that explains her attitude - for her, less is most definitely more!


Her advice is meant for anyone with space constraints, or who feels 'weighed' down by their possessions. As I know from personal experience, a large number of unread books can be quite overwhelming in more ways than one.


With all due respect, I don't think I could let Marie Kondo near my books! I too have kept some things a very long time before reading them.


Same problem here!

Dark Puss

Thank you, that certainly makes sense to me. Since I don't buy books any more the dying spark of attraction problem isn't an issue. What was in my mind was when I access an existing book from my parent's library or one of the public/university libraries I use and although it might seem like the right book at the time I pick it up it often isn't and I may come back again a decade later.

Dark Puss

I could part with many of my books; indeed I'm likely to have to do so in the nearish future I suspect. It is a fantastic luxury (which I sadly do not have) to be able to have thousands in a flat in London and be able to move/sleep/live with other people etc.

Dixie Lee

Her advice makes sense in a world where there are libraries (and librarians) dedicated to preserving books. That world is gone, sadly. Libraries are dumping books that don't circulate or are 'worn' at a great rate, and acquiring multiple copies of popular junk like Grisham and Patterson or nasty teenage 'graphic novels' instead of aspiring to preserve one copy of worthwhile books. When I moved to this town where they spent 20 million dollars restoring the library building, I was shocked to find but one single volume of Trollope in the collection - Doctor Thorne. They buy few books, but the DVDs and other media are taking over the collection! In this age of cheap online versions of out of copyright works, old books such as Trollope are not such a problem, but what about the obscure but well-loved books of the 20th century? When I discover a new author, such as Angela Thirkell, it takes months for all the books to arrive via Interlibrary loan - and they come out of order too!


You make a very good point, Dixie Lee.

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