to give all my books to the charity shop?

(246 Posts)
Boomba Sun 19-May-13 22:31:08

I'm fed up with all my clutter. I'm not really a hoarder, but very short on time and want to streamline so I can keep clean and tidy.

Ove got loads of books. In the sitting room 2 bookcases stacked 4 deep on each shelf.

I don't have time for reading anyway ant more. I've got a kindle

I feel strangely attached though. And a bit sad, that I don't have time for reading

Do you keep your books??

noisytoys Sun 19-May-13 22:33:27

Get rid of them. You will feel liberated and free from the clutter and enjoy the space smile

LittleFeileFooFoo Sun 19-May-13 22:33:53


I used to keep masses of books. I now have only those I really want, about 25 in total. The rest of my "collection" is in good hands at the library!

It's liberating to get rid of clutter and books only keep gathering dust.

And I love books, how the smell, feel and all that, but keeping them is no longer necessary.

McNewPants2013 Sun 19-May-13 22:34:42

How can you not have time to read but can read books via a kindle.

I can't give away my books, in the year I have been reading I have collected loads and arranged by colour so my book case looks lovely

MrsVamos Sun 19-May-13 22:37:36

Firstly, YWNBU to give your books to the charity shop, so that people like me can buy them, if I don't already have them !

But. I couldn't do it. I have in the past done a couple of book swaps, friends and relatives I would swap big bags full of books with, and now I bitterly regret it.

I kept certain favourites, but I wish I hadn't swapped. You know when you have a good book but can never remember the title, author ?

It grates on me. I have loads of books, and add to my collection by going to charity shops. My DCs love rummaging for books too, we are a family of readers, apart from DH.

I have a feeling we are perhaps also book collectors. smile

HeliumHeart Sun 19-May-13 22:38:15

Get rid! I realised I was hiding behind my wall of books as some kind of visible passport to my intellectuality ;)

Went through the lot and got rid of all fiction plus all useless non-fiction. Drove the lot to the Oxfam book shop at Victoria and felt completely liberated. Over a thousand books - what was I hanging onto them for???

Boomba Sun 19-May-13 22:39:09

I don't have time to read the kindle either! But I mean, if magic were to happen and I gained time...I could use my kindle grin

See, my bookcases don't look lovely...they look toppley and dusty

I think I would feel liberated, just not sure I can do it. Maybe if I bagged them up without looking at them...

KansasCityOctopus Sun 19-May-13 22:39:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dilidali Sun 19-May-13 22:39:34

I gave away all my book to the library, bar the ones I really love and actually re-read. After a comfy bed the next thing I need is a sofa, a bookcase and a lamp. I would never get rid of all of them.

Dawndonna Sun 19-May-13 22:41:22

I could not do it. Over 3,000 books here.

Boomba Sun 19-May-13 22:41:33

I keep thinking, I'm keeping them for dcs...but dd1 ain't gonna be a reader!

Yy, to the visible intwllectuality grin blush

AudrinaAdare Sun 19-May-13 22:42:32

I don't ever think of books as clutter, unless they are the Twilight series or Fifty Shades of Shite. I prefer to think of bookcases in every available space as additional insulation wink

LadyBeagleEyes Sun 19-May-13 22:43:33

Do it, keep the ones you loved and may read again.
You have a kindle, you don't need them.

RescueCack Sun 19-May-13 22:43:34

Do it. I did. Such a relief. We actually freed a whole room up and got a lodger. Those books were costing me hundreds per month put that way! I use a kindle and the library. We still have one wall of books, and one other bookcase, but that really is plenty.

KansasCityOctopus Sun 19-May-13 22:44:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lurkerspeaks Sun 19-May-13 22:44:56

I keep the ones I really love and (embarrassing admission) those are mostly low brow fiction. Comfort reading.

The rest I gleefully hand on to friends/ the charity shop. I also get a lot of books back that way which is great.

I have a kindle but I really don't re-read much stuff so apart from travel I don't use it much.

My aunt and uncle are literally drowing in a lifetimes worth of books. It is a big inspiration to keep on top of the situation!

GoblinGranny Sun 19-May-13 22:48:00

I have many that I keep and many that I take to the charity shops. And a kindle.
Of course YANBU, if that's what you want to do, do it.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 19-May-13 22:52:39

Whittle them down!

SomeBear Sun 19-May-13 22:52:59

I've cleared my book collection right out down so it only contains books I love, will read again or will want to share with my DCs. After a decade and a bit of marriage, I've also managed to get DH to admit that some of his books were past their best. We seem to move every couple of years and to not have to carry 30 boxes of books again is very liberating. I have a Kindle, DH listens to audiobooks so there is no need for real books. I like the way full bookshelves make a house into a home, but it looks like they are going the same way as record shelves and CD racks.

I got rid of all mine, there were hundreds we live in a tiny flat and was fed up with dusting them, I have a kindle now and use the library, if anyone buys me a book I read it and pass it on.

SirBoobAlot Sun 19-May-13 22:58:27

I can't get rid of books. I just can't do it. My house is like a freaking library, there are books everywhere. I have a full book case, shelves on my desk, my chest of drawers is also covered, there is a stack on top of the cushioned box, three cardboard boxes full under the bed... And I've had to convert the single wardrobe full of shelves into a book case too blush There are also random piles in pretty much every room...

Think I might have a bit of a problem blush

DON'T DO IT OP! The books need you!!! grin

SirBoobAlot Sun 19-May-13 22:59:05

Oh... And I have a kindle as well. Doesn't stop me buying books though blush

MegBusset Sun 19-May-13 23:01:16

I did this about four years ago, when we moved to a tiny house with no storage, and had two children - had over 1,000 books and gave 90% of them away. It was tough but actually quite liberating, it really made me concentrate on choosing the books I loved the most. I Freecycled them and like to think of them all finding their way to new homes!

Now we're in a bigger house I have got four bookcases and the book count is creeping up, but finances have been tight lately so I've been using the library rather than buying, again quite liberating. I gave away my Kindle though, couldn't get on with it at all!

Numberlock Sun 19-May-13 23:02:58

Having palpitations at the thought of getting rid of books!

atacrossroads Sun 19-May-13 23:03:57

I did this two weeks ago - MASSIVE relief but took me 3 years to do it!

Numberlock Sun 19-May-13 23:04:22

Your house sounds like my idea of heaven SirB.

bonkersLFDT20 Sun 19-May-13 23:08:06

I was forced to give loads away when DS2 was born as we needed the space, but they were ones which didn't have memories for me.
I couldn't do it with most of them because when I'm looking through the shelves they conjur memories of what I was doing when I read the book.

I now borrow from the library a lot more so tend not to make those sorts of memories in the first place.

If I HAD to give them all away I'd write down the titles (or take a photo of them all or something) so I could remember them.

Peanutbutterfingers Sun 19-May-13 23:08:26

If you're not going to read them again get rid, only instead of charity shop find out if any residential homes or community centre would like them

mrspaddy Sun 19-May-13 23:08:35

I love books and own a significant amount. I have recently thinned out my bookcases. Charity shop pile (novels), I kept my textbooks from University (sentimental) and I teach so my school books are the biggest collection. I bought polypocket folders and photocopied the only pages I use out of them, slipped back to back.. slimmed 2/3rds of them. Have a few for reference.

Kept books my husband bought me, three bibles (communion/wedding gifts).
I am now very happy. Also going to go back to using the library.

ShadowStorm Sun 19-May-13 23:09:16

I only keep books that I love, think I will read again, or are useful as reference books. All the rest get given away.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 19-May-13 23:10:54

I did this after falling in love with my kindle. The charity benefitted and i have far more storage space. I dislike bookcases though so to be fair they were all hidden away so you cant see any difference visibly.

Unami Sun 19-May-13 23:11:36

I could never think of books as clutter - it worries me that people could. To me clutter is all that stuff that you can't find a use for - the lamp stand that just needs a new shade - the soda stream you might get out one day - the bag of clothes that don't fit anymore.

Books aren't clutter, because they aren't useless, or purposeless, unless you know in your heart of hearts that you're never going to read them again, use them for reference, or wish to pass them on individually at the right time.

I know some older, very bookish, people who got rid of their life's collection of books, and it was actually very sad, as if they were preparing for death, or turning their back on life, or simply declaring that they didn't need their education anymore.

It also depends on the books. If I've bought something for light reading and wasn't impressed, and don't really want it around, then I would get rid of it to a charity shop or amazon, as soon as I was finished with it. But there are collections of books I will never get rid of, that I will gladly move from place to place, because they mean a lot to me.

If the books are just stuff to you, then sure, get rid of them. Though I
I know some proper hoarders, and can honestly say that having a lot of stuff you like, or that means a lot to you, is not the same as hoarding.

If space is becoming a real issue, then I would do an inventory and divide your books into three lots. Those that you definitely want to keep, those you can easily get rid of, and those in-between. Get rid of the one's you won't miss and see how you feel about the rest. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

TigerSwallowTail Sun 19-May-13 23:12:22

Do it, I give mine away all the time, it means I have more space for new ones. I get a lot of my books from charity shops to begin with though. I have a kindle too but still like to have a book physically in my hands to read through too.

Unami Sun 19-May-13 23:20:28

Also, I couldn't get a fraction of the books I want to read from the local library or charity shops. Charity shops around me only seem to have the same old copies of Bridget Jones' Diary and Man and Boy. The library isn't much better. They're all 99p books.

Kindles and tablets are handy for reading on the go, but I'd never rely on them as a repository, as I'm fully expecting all new platforms and software to become obsolete/outdated very quickly. I feel that if I relied on digital formats, I'd end up having to rebuy books fairly often throughout my lifetime. Paper books take up a bit of space, but they last.

Boomba Sun 19-May-13 23:24:51

Do it. Don't do it. Do it. Don't do it....

You lot are no help at all! grin

ComposHat Sun 19-May-13 23:26:50

Don't do it. How will anyone coming to the house know that you are dead, dead clever?

I have borrowed a kindle and hate the fact that no one on the bus can see that I am the brainiest person on the bus with my big and difficult books.

Now for all they know I could be reading a Dan Brown novel or one of those endless volumes of Jeremy Clarkson' s idiotic rantings.

SirBoobAlot Sun 19-May-13 23:27:27

Numberlock my idea of 'sorting through' my books is changing them from subject to alphabetical order... grin Drives my mother around the bend.

Not helped by the fact that there is an amazing second hand book shop in my nearest town, with a spiral stair case and everything, which tends to sell books on my specific interest very cheaply... Oops.

usualsuspect Sun 19-May-13 23:28:24

Do it, they are just books.

Nothing bad will happen if you don't have a houseful of books.

Jan49 Sun 19-May-13 23:30:01

I've cut right down on books after several house moves involving downsizing. We probably had 2000 at one time and I liked the idea of having our own personal library but it just became impossible to fit them in the space and having to pack them all up for moves felt like a burden. I did a major declutter a few years ago.

We now have about 400 books - just 2 tall bookcases in the living room and 1 small bookcase in my ds's bedroom. I don't bother to keep books unless I think I'll use or read them again. I've also read more books since having less. If I want a book to read I only have to look at one bookcase of fiction. Maybe it's easier with less choice. I think anything can be clutter if you're never going to use it and don't get pleasure from keeping it.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 19-May-13 23:38:39

Do it. If you're not going to read them again and someone else would, then it's best to pass them along.

ThisIsMummyPig Sun 19-May-13 23:41:40

I did this just over 3 years ago, as I wanted to put DD2 in the room.

I didn't count the books, but there were five shelves, each about 8 feet long, full of books, which went. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I sobbed.

I bought some of them back blush. I was very hormonal.

I now have two normal sized bookshelves, and I haven't missed them one little bit.

mum2bubble Sun 19-May-13 23:43:17

Keep good, interesting factual books. Get rid of the bulk of your fiction (only keep a few sentimental re-readable ones).

StillInBigKnickers Sun 19-May-13 23:50:01

What kind of books are they?

I know the proceeds will go to whichever charity shop you donate to, but you could also donate to an old peoples home or hospice or similar direct. Bit more leg work, bit more of a rosy glow afterward smile

ZacharyQuack Sun 19-May-13 23:55:11

Do it. The books want to be read, to be loved, to be wanted.

They don't want to sit in dusty retirement, to be resented and thought of as clutter.

If you love them, set them free.

MidniteScribbler Mon 20-May-13 00:38:30

I recently did a big clean out. If I didn't have an emotional attachment or if wasn't one of my read over and over books, then out it went. That included a heap of house renovation books, gardening books, craft books, etc. I took them all down to the local residental care and respite centre. They were so thrilled. I knew I did the right thing when one of the residents who had helped me unload the car came running up to me in the shops, threw his arms around me and said "I love you for giving us books." He still does it every time he sees me lol!

SwedishEdith Mon 20-May-13 00:50:34

Kindles and tablets are handy for reading on the go, but I'd never rely on them as a repository, as I'm fully expecting all new platforms and software to become obsolete/outdated very quickly. I feel that if I relied on digital formats, I'd end up having to rebuy books fairly often throughout my lifetime. Paper books take up a bit of space, but they last.

I have a kindle but don't rely on it for completely this reason.

iclaudius Mon 20-May-13 00:56:08

Do it

pollywollydoodle Mon 20-May-13 01:31:06

don't do it...unless you want your fuel bills to go up when the extra insulation goes

try pruning gently and see how it feels

justwondering72 Mon 20-May-13 06:37:57

Do it. We moved several times in a couple of years, and its very hard to justify lugging piles of paper and glue and ink around - it really feels like dead weight, especially knowing that most of them never get opened. So we gave away virtually all our fiction, except for the ones that do get read over and over, pruned all the non fiction and still have several shelves of travel/cooking/history etc to browse through or refer to when needed.

I do like the look of nice bookshelves, but felt very liberated when 90% of them were gone. We rarely hang onto fiction these days.

Numberlock Mon 20-May-13 06:39:00

Numberlock my idea of 'sorting through' my books is changing them from subject to alphabetical order...

Loving your work SirB.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 20-May-13 06:44:07

ComposHat grin when I got my kindle I got rid of all my classics, because they're all free in e-editions so it made sense for me to just download them all. But now I look like someone who doesn't read classics! The shame! (Not really)

I don't understand "haven't got time for reading", but surely there's a compromise here? Get rid of enough books that they're only one deep on the bookshelves, leaving you with your favourites.

MyPreciousRing Mon 20-May-13 06:58:48

Try pruning them first so that you keep two bookcases with just one book deep on each shelf.

That will leave you with still a lot of books and they will look good too. Win win?

In six months or so maybe lose one bookcase entirely if you haven't regretted at all the first cull.

I have had several 'culls' over the years, now down to around 200 books from several thousand. Feel much much better for it and the house looks much much better for it.

cory Mon 20-May-13 07:48:43

Even if I was fed up with my books I wouldn't give them away until dc have moved from home: my happiest teenage memories revolve around browsing through my parents' large and eclectic library. If my mother had decided which books were worthwhile for me I would never have developed the habit of reading widely which has been an enormous help in my career. And the books dd reads over and over again are not necessarily the books I thought I'd read over and over again. I look on my library as a facility I provide for my children as much as anything else.

trice Mon 20-May-13 08:36:57

I got rid of three bookcases full. I kept one shelf of absolute favourites. It was marvellously liberating. I think I read more now, but I pass the book on as soon as I finish it.

KittensoftPuppydog Mon 20-May-13 08:40:45

Keep books you know you will read again and ones you haven't read yet.
I repeatedly cull, or I wouldn't be able to get out of the house.
Some books I've re bought several times so I won't get rid of them again.

flipchart Mon 20-May-13 08:43:26

Give someone else the chance to enjoy your book once you have finished with it.
Pass it on.

I keep some simply because I want my children to be exposed to the idea of reading. If they see books they pick them up and explore them. My kindle is just another computer to them otherwise!

DeepRedBetty Mon 20-May-13 08:54:58

I run a cull when I tidy up and find there's not enough room for them all on the shelves.

Disclaimer... I did end up accidentally buying a new bookshelf in the auction the other day while waiting for a rather nice television table to come up. That's put the next cull off by another year or so! okay so the corridor to dd1's bedroom is now a foot narrower

Manyofhorror3 Mon 20-May-13 08:58:58

Don't do it! I did this and then spent a fortune buying loads back! Put them in storage a d then when you get them out it's like meeting old friends!

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Mon 20-May-13 09:00:17

I am a get rid of, nearly, every single book. I have only reread a few books in my life so I don't see any benifit of keeping books.
My late teens and older DC's and my DH all read a LOT, if we didnt take our books to the charity shop we wouldn't be able to move.

Most modern books go yellow if you kep them long .

My local Oxfam Books gets great prices for their second hand books. It good.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 20-May-13 09:06:11

Do it! I really agree with the person who said she realised they were a passport to her intellectual levels. I think I've done that too a bit. Keep books to be seen to read, or ones that mean I'm cool.

You have inspired me op. I'm chucking the lot now smile

Oh god, I can't watch <covers eyes>
Every time I say I'm gonna whittle my books down I dread it. I hate it. Last time I got rid of about 30 books and it was horrible. Gonna have to do it again soon as moving and I don't wanna!

MiaowTheCat Mon 20-May-13 09:22:19

I pass books on quite happily - it's rare I feel sad at the idea of a book going on to a new life and new owner.

DH can't. He just cannot get rid of books and owns about 80% of the bookshelf space in this house (although his sister's coming to visit so he's currently frantically hiding all the books he borrowed from her and never returned). When he moved in with me his parents brought all his books down later on - was like some kind of tearful reunion with his childhood friends.

Annoying thing is - he never reads the fucking things! I read more than he does (kindle in the baby changing bag) and I've stopped buying him books for Christmas until he's finished reading the ones I bought him three years ago.

Librarina Mon 20-May-13 09:26:52

I think part of your difficulty is that most people blur the distinction between the object of the book and the act of reading. We wish to be known as bookish, we take pride in having read so many books so do we display them on our shelves to show the world that we appreciate reading, or are we showing the world that we have lots of books?

I was very much a 'book on the shelf' person; as a librarian my books were very much bound with my identity. I love browsing the shelves when I visit other people's gives me a sense of who they are. But really that's only the first time I visit, after that I have to actually talk to them and find out that way. I then met the lady who held my current Librarian post before me. She is incredibly widely and well-read. Doesn't have a TV, worked in Libraries for 50 years before retiring to run the book section of her local charity shop... and she said to me "I don't need to keep books to prove that I've read them", and her absolute confidence in her own literary presence was utterly convincing.

Now, I keep the books I love, that bring value and joy to my ongoing life. Everything else, the candy floss, the latest big thing, the slightly wide-of-the-mark gift is read then passed on, either to a friend, charity shop or I'll add it to stock at work (especially useful with best sellers when we never have enough to go round)

And I've got a kindle (Bad Librarian Emoticon)

icklemssunshine1 Mon 20-May-13 09:28:12

I did when I put my house on the market to de-clutter it but I donated mine to my local library smile

Hullygully Mon 20-May-13 09:28:59

never ever ever ever will they get my books from me

Mintyy Mon 20-May-13 09:33:57

Wot librarina said.

itsonlysubterfuge Mon 20-May-13 09:34:20

I love my books. I have far too many. I've read all the chapter books at least once, most I've read twice. I've also started to over-indulge and buy my daughter books (she is 10 months old, but loves books). My husband says if we ever win the lottery and get a dream house he'll have to buy me a library to store them all. In the mean time, I stack them wherever I can find a place to stack them.

arcticwaffle Mon 20-May-13 09:34:45

I give away loads of books, I used to travel a lot and work abroad a lot and I got in the habit of passing them on. These days I mostly keep them for the same reason as Cory, I have 3 dds who read and I want them to be able to browse the bookshelves. But once they've left home I'll probably give lots away again.

You can get any classic back for free on Project Gutenberg, and I find it a lot easier to read the weighty small-print classics on a kindle than in book form. And you can get any other old favourite back for abou £2.80 on Amazon marketplac, so it's not hard to go back and re-read an old fabvourite if you do find you miss it.

I like to think of other people being able to read the books, even if I did go back in 20 or 30 yrs to re-read, they'll have sat on a shelf unused for decades.

CrazyOldCatLady Mon 20-May-13 09:36:48

I moved a couple of thousand from what used to be our study when we needed it for DD. They went as far as the attic.

I can't bring myself to get rid of them in case the kids want to read them some day.

Though they've had library tickets since they were 18 months and 2 weeks old, respectively; if the library had the books, the kids could read them all they liked and we wouldn't have to dust them. Hmm...

Blueskiesandbuttercups Mon 20-May-13 09:39:05

My degree was Eng Lit.I've kept all my old classics and a few good quality newer books I would read again.A book has to be really good if I'm ever going to read it again.

So my maxim is,will I read it again?I'm not into books as ornaments iykwim.

Then we get onto the subject of children's books <deep sigh>

My house is groaning and I'm addicted to buying them.Bizarrely I struggle with getting rid of books for children and I'm more likely to read them again.

I have recently done a picture book cull but it was hard- dc are 9,9 and 8. blush

kelda Mon 20-May-13 09:41:19

I don't like clutter. But I would never consider books clutter.

Give them away by all means, so that people like me can buy themsmile

I'm about to do mine. We are decluttering and DH has agreed to get rid of at least 1500 (1/2) of his DVDs so as a quid pro quo I have agreed to cull my book collection sad

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Mon 20-May-13 09:52:48

I had to cave in and cull some books when DH got me my kindle (in all fairness he did also cull his CD collection which was ridiculously large--) and gave 7 waist high moving boxes of books to charity. --DH doesn't know they were from the attic in the last house and not my shelves I kept a few hundred and the house has more floor space but it was looking a bit bare so I've started buying books again wink.

It's great having a DS who likes reading the same books because I can pretend buy them for him me.

CocktailQueen Mon 20-May-13 09:53:38

Oh no, I can't get rid of books. I declutter everywhere else - kids' clothes, toys etc - but not my books.

curryeater Mon 20-May-13 09:54:53

Do you have children? Browsing well stocked shelves is something they won't be able to do in libraries or bookshops, as libraries are disappearing and both libraries and bookshops become more and more skewed to narrow ranges of the very marketable and fashionable.

Ragwort Mon 20-May-13 09:57:45

I keep a couple of book shelves' full, reference books, a few old favourites that sort of thing.

In my spare room I also have apporx. 75 books waiting to be read blush.

It is so liberating to sort through your books, really, who is going to re-read their universtity reference books grin.

My parents have recently 'down sized' and it has been a nightmare getting them to sort through their books, so please do it, so your children don't have to in the future !

hackneybird Mon 20-May-13 10:00:16

I think there is something wrong with a house that doesn't have books on display. I'm know I'm being a total snob, but there is something really learned and erudite about having a well loved collection of literature on the walls (no matter what type of literature it is). It just adds so much character.

Having said that, I totally agree with pruning one's collection in order to keep it manageable!

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Mon 20-May-13 10:01:57

Epic strike through fail blush I was very disappointed that my local library wouldn't take my books. All in great condition etc, but I was told that it wasn't their policy. Which is a shame because I have had a wide range of books and the amount of children's books that I have given away as the DC's outgrow them would be enough to allow them several copies.

The local hospital takes them for the children's ward so I donate the DC's books to them and some of mine to the various wards for the patients. Someone else might as well have the pleasure of them smile

valiumredhead Mon 20-May-13 10:02:24

We got rid of over 400 books when we moved, so liberating. We still buy books but when we have finished they go straight to the charity shop.

I now have a kindle smile

Mintyy Mon 20-May-13 10:03:18

"I think there is something wrong with a house that doesn't have books on display."

And ... BINGO!

themaltesecat Mon 20-May-13 10:03:30

Agree with the poster who mentioned kids.

If you've read Freakonomics, you'll recall that one of the factors that determined greater intelligence was growing up with books in the house.

themaltesecat Mon 20-May-13 10:04:01

"Decluttering" doesn't apply to books.

lagoonhaze Mon 20-May-13 10:06:16

Dont do it! I love looking at bookcases when I visit <nosey cow arent I?>

Lazyjaney Mon 20-May-13 10:09:16

I gave loads of mine away years ago. I have now built up a bigger collection!

My one piece of advice is keep the books you really treasure or you'll just buy them again smile

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 20-May-13 10:10:42

I love reading, but I've culled my books.
Something wrong with a house that doesn't have books?
How judgy is that?
It could also be said that people that overtly display their books are snobs, who want visitors to think how clever they are.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Mon 20-May-13 10:12:56

And aren't books supposed to be read?

Keeping books you know you won't read it again is pointless imvho. They are real dust catchers too if anybody in your house has a dust allergy.

TwasBrillig Mon 20-May-13 10:13:39

I used to have a rather large collection of books, buying several a week and when I first got onto amazon went a bit mad. I had a lot of uni type reference books I thought I'd use. However I started to move quite a lot and they lived in boxes in my dad's attic, in our attic etc and still moving several book shelves worth.

I'm not quite sure what caused the turning point but I decide to actually cull the books, getting rid of anything I'd not read in the last 2 or 3 years and anything that would be easily obtainable on amazon (most novels). A cull as opposed to my previous attempts at 'thinning'. Different mindset - not what could I bear to part with and won't miss but more what can I pass on with the aim of reducing by half.

Its very releasing. I used to be emotionally attached to books in a big way but started to declutter elsewhere and its the same feeling of release and freedom. With each move I tried to cull again, then finally went through my dads attic, and then books from my childhood -just keeping a few favourites.

I like the librarians approach above that you don't need to prove you've read it. My self esteem is no longer tied up in them. I love books and read a lot, but I on longer feel bound to keep them. I have a few shelves of recently read books in the sitting room that can be passed on to visitors or talked about etc but I won't let them take over again!

Don't get rid of them all - but I bet if you went through them properly you could get rid of a huge percentage, only keep as much as you can store and browse properly, otherwise what's the point? Your kids can't read them if they can't get to them!

We went through our books recently and got rid of a huge amount just on basic terms out-of-date/crap non fiction that can all go, fiction that isn't worth reading twice? Gone.

LaRegina Mon 20-May-13 10:15:01

YABU - I could never get rid of my books. I hardly read any of them anymore (other than cookery books probably) as I have a Kindle too. But I have two huge bookcases in the alcoves in my sitting room and I would never clear them out because they look so lovely blush

I know that's probably a bit sad.

CheungFun Mon 20-May-13 10:17:04

I did have a clear put when we moved house a couple of years ago and it was hard, but I feel my bookshelf looks better for it. I think I now have approximately 280 books. Realistically there are some that I won't read again, but these will be donated to the charity shop once my bookshelf starts looking too disorganised again. I have re-read a lot of my books since moving house and organising my bookshelf, so perhaps this is the way to go OP?

TwasBrillig Mon 20-May-13 10:17:11

Re the freakanomics -I would imagine that having tons of library books, seeing parents reading etc, having just one bookshelf of adult fiction would do to fulfil the criteria. Having walk to walk bookshelves doesn't really add anything.

The big thing is if children see books read, and normalise it as an activity. There's sadly a large number of families where that isn't the case (hence bookstart etc).

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 20-May-13 10:19:32

I love having books but have pruned a few times and am moving towards only having the ones I really love.

It makes for sparser bookshelves (and presumably visitors assume I'm not that intellectual grin) but it's a happy medium.

Would you feel better if you sold them than giving them away? I've had quite a lot of success with Amazon.

TwasBrillig Mon 20-May-13 10:19:52

Walk to walk. Meant wall to wall. Certainly in the case of books in boxes, or books in the loft, or books on the shelf behind other books, as we were doing, is all very pointless.

Mintyy Mon 20-May-13 10:21:17

I couldn't give a stuff if people think I am not intelligent because I don't have my living room cluttered with books. Not a flying fuck!

I am more well-read than most and made my living for years and years through reading.

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Mon 20-May-13 10:22:39

A home without books is a body without soul (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

This explains it all smile

I have started to collect all my childhood books again. Mainly picture books like Hector Protector and the Quanglewanglewee that my dad still has in his house because they remind me of sitting with my dad while he read to me and hearing his voice rumble through his chest. I may have several copies of Wind in the Willows because of that smile

TheThickPlottens Mon 20-May-13 10:23:47

Do it. Join a library and let them store all your books for you. At least that's my idea of it.

I love books and read nearly everyday but don't keep them. Only the instructional ones if they are any good.

There are millions of books out there, too many to ever get through so I prefer to read something new than re-reading.

I bring the children regularly to the library and buy them age appropriate books. Not having 100+ adult fiction books on my shelves does not mean I'm anti books or literature. When i was growing up I was brought to the library and encouraged to choose my own interests. There was no book banned no matter what the topic.

I do love looking at others peoples book shelves but am massively private and hate people taking the piss out of me for reading romance and fantasy. Reading is for my pleasure and not to impress others.

Sunnywithshowers Mon 20-May-13 10:23:56

I lived in a tiny wee house and got into the habit of pruning regularly. I'm currently going through another cull: I've got rid of hundreds and am likely to get rid of a few hundred more.

I'm keeping my classics and my much-loved books, the ones that are falling to bits from rereading, and some reference books.

NetworkGuy Mon 20-May-13 10:25:25

I have 3 bookcases still in flatpack, and 30 to 40 banana boxes (mostly computing stuff, but books in there too) in the two sheds, which have not been touched since I moved in, January 2012.

I still have about half of the computers (my sister and I took around a dozen to the council tip in October/November 2011). It really felt like half my life was being trashed at the time, but essential to empty the house for auction, and now I'm in 2 up, 2 down (well, 2 up + tiny bathroom, and 1 of the down is the kitchen) it was good she was so tough. I still have at least half a dozen laptops, 5 iMacs, 42", 40" and 32" (+4x 22") TVs though (the latter group used with some tiny, almost silent, 'nettop' computers... so small can be fitted to back of a TV and are almost invisible).

If you can rid yourself of a portion, eg to a charity shop, then great (but I'd make sure it was one you don't go past, so you are not tempted to check which items have sold, nor what prices they have been marked at).

The books I have (tiny number of sci-fi) are nearly all computing, mostly bought on holiday trips to USA, and I had to buy an extra suitcase to bring them back. Many came with CDs and were reduced from $50-$75 to $10-$15 but that was 10 years ago, and most have only briefly been used. I also bought two 'corner' cases from British Heart Foundation when I went on a 400 quid spending spree, the day they opened in March 2012, and have not yet dragged them upstairs, but this week I hope to swap bedroom to front and 'office' to back (as sunny days are too bright and I cannot see the screens well enough, even with the blind closed)

Needingthework Mon 20-May-13 10:26:35

Agree with Mintyy and TheThickPlottens.

Scruffey Mon 20-May-13 10:27:05


Me and dh both read a book and then give it away immediately (or sell on eBay). I hate clutter.

There are no books on display at our house. I couldn't give a stuff what anyone thinks about that.

My dc both have books but I will be encouraging them to pass them on to younger friends at the appropriate moment.

TwasBrillig Mon 20-May-13 10:29:10

Ooh like that last sentence there! Good point.

I remember my dad taking me to the library next to school every Saturday and we'd both change all our books. There was always a pile of charity shop books to be read at home too. I take my children regularly and certainly they have a love of books already simply as its part of our family dna.

I'm hoping to encourage my daughter to think decluttering is a normal activity we do now and then. She's very good at collecting toys together she doesn't play with and I regularly help her cull her mountains of books.

TwasBrillig Mon 20-May-13 10:36:40

The thick plottens last sentence that was. People have posted in between!

Lovely to hear some like minded philosophies.

NetworkGuy Mon 20-May-13 10:38:29

Two of my three sisters (actually the younger two not the eldest) have started to 'declutter' so when they leave earth, their children are not faced with a mountain of 'junk' (not just books, but all sorts of memorabilia).

Perhaps because finally they and their husbands are retired, they see 'the end' coming in the next 20-40 years and know that when it comes to house clearance, their children would just hire a skip... hardly anything would be likely to be 'adopted'.

It was quite a sobering thought when they (independently) mentioned their current 'project's. Sorry, not the lightest of ideas when several of you mention DC, but something to consider in 30-60 years smile

apatchylass Mon 20-May-13 10:40:36

Ooh not sure about the liberation from clutter. I'd get rid of all other clutter before most books. I do cull them once or twice a year. About 200 go to oxfam each time, but more come into the house. Kindles are OK, but I love to read in the bath, flick backwards and forwards through books, and most importantly DS 1 is a bookworm and strays upon all manner of books by looking at our shelves. He's a really precocious reader because of this. Wouldn't be if all the titles were locked away on a kindle.

You never know when a child might want to start reading. Libraries and Kindles are brilliant but it's not the same as having all those lovely ideas lined up in your house, whispering to be read.

trice Mon 20-May-13 10:42:29

Ds is a terrible hoarder. He has every Beano since 1981 as he inherited a collection from sil. His room is almost unusable. He won't let me remove any of them. It is a worry.

But "Books do furnish a room " grin

I am in the colourbetising school of book loving (see profile pic) and could only give away the brown books, because they are hard to arrange smile

We love our made-of-trees books. DD even works in a charity bookshop, but the traffic is all one way..IN to the house, not out

kelda Mon 20-May-13 10:45:04

'I do love looking at others peoples book shelves but am massively private and hate people taking the piss out of me for reading romance and fantasy. Reading is for my pleasure and not to impress others.'

So true.

I have a big bookcase on my staircase. A friend commented that it was full of 'chick lit', simply because the pink/purply books are the ones that stand out.

I did ask her what is the problem with chick lit, and even if a book has a girly cover, that does not necessarily make it chick lit - Marian Keyes being a case in point.

kiwigirl42 Mon 20-May-13 10:47:14

I've got <ahem> one or two more books than normal too. They are just all so lovely and full of such beautiful words though. I've got a lot better though and recycle (friends/ charity shop) any I won't read again. I tend to buy books second hand anyhow so now if I find an amazing book (just read Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck - really powerful) I treat myself to a decent copy for my bookshelf. It has to be unforgettable for this treatment though.
I also have knitting/ spinning/ craft books but figure they don't count ...

MaterFacit Mon 20-May-13 10:57:49

I've got about 1000 books (about a quarter of what I had a few years ago).

They are a mix of academic/high end non-fiction and trashy fantasy/horror novels that I read and reread in the bath or stick in a coat pocket/handbag. Much of it is expensive/not available on the Kindle and not available in the library, although I do use the library a lot as well. I read between 150 and 250 books a year and I enjoy (enough to keep a book) about 25-30 of those. Well written zombie novels are hard to find so I tend to keep those I find!

Its not to do with intellectualism or showing off as all the books in the lounge are my trashy novels grin, my serious books are in my study. When I was younger I would have cringed if anyone had seen my zombies/Mercedes Lackey collection, now I don't care.

Mintyy Mon 20-May-13 11:02:58

Incidentally, anyone who lives in London or is interested in London, I can highly recommend this book - am enjoying it hugely at the moment.

Sunnywithshowers Mon 20-May-13 11:12:51

Thanks Mintyy among my 'keepers' are books about London. It's fascinating.

Mintyy Mon 20-May-13 11:16:19

Oh I highly recommend. G'wan and treat yourself.

KylaKevin Mon 20-May-13 11:16:32

You have done a good work to charity your books because now it will be read by many people.

I have been debating this for the past 10 years especially as I move about every 2 years.

But I feel that my bookshelf is the only thing easy to keep orderly in my life house, so it has survived all de-cluttering attacks.

PavlovtheCat Mon 20-May-13 11:20:56

Get rid. Then, you have lots of space to buy new ones! For when you might one day find time to read by lamplight with a glass of wine again.

PavlovtheCat Mon 20-May-13 11:22:16

we put ours in the loft as DH could not bear to get rid. We have about 30 out now. plus a ton of children's books. DH used to be a huge reader, but now he listens on audio books instead. It's a bit sad as the kids don't see him reading. I am not a huge reader. I like the idea of it, but I always fall asleep reading.

Tailtwister Mon 20-May-13 11:24:28

We have rather a lot of books. I love my cookery books and probably have around 200. The children have loads too (too many tbh), I'm guessing a few hundred at least. Then there's all the other books, mostly DH's and a conservative estimate for them is probably about 1000.

I very much doubt I could get rid of them all. I probably could let a good few go though. Some of the trashy paperbacks bought for holidays are obvious targets.

PavlovtheCat Mon 20-May-13 11:27:58

you must never get rid of cookbooks. What if you get rid of the one that has that perfect biscuit recipe in, or that cocktail you never got round to making and now you are holding a dinner party where it will be perfect?

kiwigirl42 Mon 20-May-13 11:29:53

damm it Mintyy! now got this London book en route on top off all the others!

happybubblebrain Mon 20-May-13 11:38:17

The way energy prices are going you might need to burn them to keep warm one day soon. If you don't want them around you now, can't you store them somewhere like the loft?

I would get rid of 3/4 of your books, do it shelf by shelf, charity shops need books, you will have more space & need to spend less time dusting. I would aim to keep some books, not just for yourself but it is nice to share and pass books on, to friends and even maybe your dc one day. You get talking about a book or author you like with a friend or colleague they might never have read, you pass a book on it is great. For the books you keep find the least dusty way of storing them - we have a bookcase dh made it is only deep enough for one line of books, makes books easy to find and takes up a small amount of space.

Not a kindle fan - though I do sometimes read ebooks I much prefer holding a real book, can't imagine ever giving books up. I would have a library in my dream home.

Mintyy Mon 20-May-13 11:43:50

A nice thing to do with so-called holiday books is to leave them in the cottage or caravan in case anyone else wants to read them. I do love getting to a self-catering cottage and finding that they have a few books, usually of the type I would never read, to browse through.

2margarinesonthego Mon 20-May-13 11:47:54

I need to do it (get rid, I mean). I've got books all over the place, and the ones that are actually on bookshelves look a mess and are piled up, a couple of shelves have crippled under the pressure but I have still piled the books onto the slanting shelves. It's so blooming depressing.

My issue with getting rid of them is that I never finish anything (generally, in life!). Pretty much every book I think "well one day I'm going to read that in its entirity so I can't get rid". The reality is that I never will.

Mat leave coming up - I'm going to spend that time whittling them down. But tbh I've paid so much for them that I'm not sure I can just give them away, and we could really do with the cash at the moment.

It's a big problem for me but I know I will feel better if I just get rid of them.

nipersvest Mon 20-May-13 11:50:14

we have loads of books and shelves in every room. i have to say, a lot of my friends and family have none anywhere in the house.

Khaleese Mon 20-May-13 11:50:49

I removed half of our books ( hundreds) liberating.

Do it!

working9while5 Mon 20-May-13 11:56:18

I did this earlier this year. Literally gutted my book collection, to the extent I even rebought one or two I loved for Kindle.

What I did instead was create my "nooks" ala Pinterest. I have two reading nooks now, one for me (and dh theoretically but he doesn't often use it) and one for the kids which is basically a converted wardrobe that was a really funny shape (really wide with depth but not really great as a wardrobe, we are chest of drawers sorts of people anyway). I'll see if I can find a pic to post in a minute.

We only have a 2 bed semi-d that is ex-council so I am not talking about fitting up a mansion here. It was great fun to design and I love the space, it has been much nicer than just having an endless put of books everywhere.

working9while5 Mon 20-May-13 12:06:15

Ooh I have just uploaded my first Mumsnet pics to my gallery! See what you think. I had LOADS of (maternity leave) fun getting these sorted.

I loved this idea when I was decluttering because it still emphasises the value of books in our home without having stuff strewn all over the place or dusting up.

2margarinesonthego Mon 20-May-13 12:21:16

working9while5 god I love that idea - thanks for posting. I may have some mat leave fun of my own!

StrokeOfBadLuck Mon 20-May-13 12:21:18

I have far too many books, mainly reference. I love it that whatever the question, however esoteric, I have a book or a pamphlet on the subject... It's really encouraged my children to read - far better than Googling.

Now they are at secondary school, they often browse the shelves and pull out a tome. My dd is quite an expert on self-sufficiency (thank you, John Seymour), and my son was oiling an old coin he'd found - the best way to clean it, according to my coin-collecting book.

StrokeOfBadLuck Mon 20-May-13 12:23:00

W9W5 - love the wardrobe too. You also have the same wooden box as me smile

Ceraunia Mon 20-May-13 12:23:00

I collect books so I wouldn't give them all to the charity shop, some are old and valuable and I hope to pass on to my children.

If you're talking mass market paperbacks then yadnbu.

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 12:23:11

no time to read thread, I have to go to A&E, I think I'm being traumatized by the idea of a bookless house.

empty bookshelves = death sad

dexter73 Mon 20-May-13 12:24:44

I read loads of books but when I have finished them I pass them on to someone else or give them to the charity shop. I very rarely read a book twice as there is always a book that I haven't read before to read instead.

kiwigirl42 Mon 20-May-13 12:25:34

houses with no books or pictures on the walls seriously freak me out. My DFIL always says 'empty walls = empty minds'

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 12:27:40

does wine on the wall count as a picture? wink

dexter73 Mon 20-May-13 12:28:53

Now pictures I find very hard to get rid of!

WhizzforAtomms Mon 20-May-13 12:36:06

Don't do it! You will regret it and never be able to replace your collection (bitter experience).

ErrorError Mon 20-May-13 12:43:57

I don't have nearly as many books as some of you, but I've spent a lot of the weekend categorising and putting them into boxes because there's just no space to stack them anymore. I couldn't bear to give them away though. I feel sentimentally attached to most of my books because I always remember how I was feeling when I read them, or what the stories mean to me. Even the trashier chick-lit novels. I can devour those in a few hours, and I know as soon as they're gone, they would be the only ones I wanted to read!

Viviennemary Mon 20-May-13 12:47:05

I'd think twice. I love my books. Why not say get rid of 25% of them or 50% or whatever figure you feel comfortable with. I got rid of around 250 books but I've still got loads.

2margarinesonthego Mon 20-May-13 12:57:11

I've just had a thought that gets rid of my books without actually getting rid of them.
I've got a second home abroad and what if I just moved my books over to that? It's practically empty and needs filling.

Only trouble is that we were hoping to rent it out for holiday lets - would you be annoyed if you rented out a house for a week and it was full of someone else's old books??

It's in a part of the world where there's not much else to do but read, and English books would be hard to come by.

(I might move all my half-finished cross-stitch pictures over there too in the hope my visitors finish them off for me grin )

saintmerryweather Mon 20-May-13 13:00:47

theres a lot of bollocks on this thread about books. ive sorted out my books to get rid of, theyre going to a carboot soon and whatever is left is going to charity, ill have about 50 left and i probably wont buy more since ive got a kindle. just get rid op, if its worth keeping then keep it.

nobody would be impressed by my collection of dick.francis, sophie kinsella and philippa gregory, but then again im not trying to impress anyone.

plus im.saving trees by using my kindle

RescueCack Mon 20-May-13 13:07:12

honestly, those of you talking about sharing your collection with your children....

My 4 and 5 yr olds also have kindles, the family amazon account means they can scroll through and investigate any book they like, with a nice large text size and even text-to-voice for hard words. Digitalising our book collection opened it to them too.

And there is no danger of them not thinking reading is normal now our house has been reclaimed from the paperbacks! We always have a kindle in my bag - I can choose something to read to them if we're all waiting or read for myself if I'm waiting for them.

As I said upthread, we still have one wall of the dining room and a bookshelf in the living room, but the ever encroaching piles of paperbacks are over and the relief is palpable - the dusting is no longer a guilty to-do list item. It's a 5 minute job!

I love my books and have loads around the house...but not double stacked. When we moved a couple of years ago I did a small declutter, and got rid of the embarrassingly crap airport pulp fiction that I didn't really enjoy the first time round and will never read again.

Due to the kindle, am not accumulating so much now. Could do with an ongoing declutter, but don't really have the time.

The DSs love their books too, but I am trying to keep a handle on the expanding collection. Find it hard to get rid of books I had as a child that they have read or have no interest in....

samesizetoes Mon 20-May-13 13:21:36

I downsized my book collection years ago and never looked back. I donated most of my books to hostels, womens aid centres or released them into the wild via bookcrossing and kept only a few to read at a time. Libraries, book swaps and the odd gem found in a charity shop is enough to keep me going.

I can't bring myself to own a kindle when there are millions of hard copies out there waiting to be read and passed on.

kmdwestyorks Mon 20-May-13 13:24:28

charity shopped all mine when the DD arrived to make space for her toys etc. she appears to have filled it with..................

Books, but cute, toddler friendly, slight tattered/chewed/redecorated ones that she gets very ungratefully distressed about if i mention she might have outgrown and want to rehome them.

do i sound a little bitter?

CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 20-May-13 13:24:29

we try to operate on a one in one out policy
<must buy kindle>
there's no way I'm buying more furniture just to accommodate books.

LaQueen Mon 20-May-13 13:30:16

We have hundreds, infact probably well over a thousand books in our house. I love books, and never throw a good book away.

I have read, and re-read virtually all of them - and they're like memories to me. I scribble notes in them. Often, DH will write something nice in the margin of the book I'm reading. I tuck the little pictures/notes the DDs have scribbled, into them.

I fell in love with books/reading when I was oh, about 3...and it's been a life long love affair, that will never end smile

dexter73 Mon 20-May-13 13:32:03

theres a lot of bollocks on this thread about books
I totally agree with this. Just because you don't hoard books doesn't mean you are empty-minded.

olivertheoctopus Mon 20-May-13 13:34:10

I fecking hate the bookcase in our house (confined to spare room). I also read on Kindle or books from library and hate the messy looking piled high bookcase. DH won't let me gid rid in case the kids want to read the books. Like they won't be Kindle'd (or fiture equivalent) up to the eyeballs anyway. I do a sneaky cull every now and then of 10 books at a time. Neither DH or I tend to buy 'real' books any more anyway so hopefully I am chipping away at them faster than we buy.

issimma Mon 20-May-13 13:35:42

I gave a box to the charity shop after much deliberation. Six months later, and I'd be hard pushed to name a single book that went! So, do it op grin

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 20-May-13 13:36:03

'Just because you don't hoard books doesn't mean you are empty-minded.'

I don't think anyone is saying that. Some people just like books, whether as objects, for the memories, for the emotional connection ...

LaQueen, no one has ever done anything as nice for me as writing in my book smile but I'm totally with you on the sentiment.

hackneybird Mon 20-May-13 13:38:30

Ladybeagle yes I'm being judgey in saying that 'there is something wrong with a house without books', but I don't care. I also don't think that having books on display is necessarily commensurate with wanting to show off and be clever. I happen to like the aesthetic. I love the appearance of rows of books, and the warmth they bring.

I don't really care so much what sort of books they are. As another person up thread says, a book collection says so much about a person. A friend of mine isn't a massive reader, it's just not her thing, but she is very well travelled and she has a lovely collection of travel guides. I love that and it says so much about her and who she is.

I think it's a great idea to have a well curated collection of one's favourites, whatever they are, but to pass on books that don't inspire.

dexter73 Mon 20-May-13 13:44:43


"houses with no books or pictures on the walls seriously freak me out. My DFIL always says 'empty walls = empty minds'"

"empty bookshelves = death"

"I think there is something wrong with a house that doesn't have books on display"

"A home without books is a body without soul"

BeCool Mon 20-May-13 13:49:42

Get rid - you house will be a lot less dusty for a start.
I keep non-fiction books of interest to me & cookbooks - just 2 shelves.
And 2 shelves of childrens books.

Novels are now all gone - they are either on kindle, or read and circulated back into the world asap after reading.

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 13:53:13

for or against ladyclarice ?

LittleBoxes Mon 20-May-13 13:54:02

I hate the idea that people might think I only fill my flat with books to impress other people. For me books are an emotional thing, not an intellectual thing. I can spend ages gazing at the spines of all my old friends on the shelves. It's hugely comforting just to know they're there. And I know exactly how many I've got because I've got software to catalogue them all!

I think it's other hopeless bibliophiles like me who have the more visceral reactions to the idea of getting rid of books. It's actual horror, not judginess grin

LaQueen Mon 20-May-13 13:54:03

I really don't see that having lots of books in your home, can be deemed showing off - I think you'd have to be (secretly) pretty insecure about your own abilities, if you could be intimidated by, or feel the need to sneer at, someone else's book collection hmm

I have a totally random mix on my book cases...everything from DH's prized Douglas Adam's Penny my childhood Jane Austen...right through to my linguistics reference texts.

LaQueen Mon 20-May-13 13:56:27

I agree little I have always, always loved books. To me, they're almost like friends (does that make me sad...I couldn't give a toss), and I have so many memories attached to them.

I love how they look, I love the weight of them in my hand, I love the smell of them. Everything. Books fascinate me, they always have, and they always will.

dexter73 Mon 20-May-13 13:58:28

Having lots of books isn't showing off, just as not having lots of books isn't soulless/wrong/empty minded. It's just a personal choice on what to use your space for.

ubik Mon 20-May-13 14:02:21

I'm guilty of buying a kindle book - and then buying the hard/paperback version because i want it in it's entirety. The kindle just isn't good enough, I want the actual thing - can you get therapy for this?

I have some very old 'Three Musketeers' books my granny won as a prizes (she was v clever, grammar school girl forced to leave at 15 as her father didn't see the worth in educating girls) and some lovely old fairy tales with illustrations by Cruikshank.

I love books. I couldn't care less about decluttering.

ubik Mon 20-May-13 14:02:48

sorry 'its'

telsa Mon 20-May-13 14:05:17

I have thousands of books - part of my job I guess. I can't imagine not having every wall full of books. I hope that as the children get older, they will pick books off the shelf (lots of art books, philosophy, novels, poetry etc), as I did at my parents' home and develop passions. Can't do that with a Kindle (old stuck in mud, me!)

We do have periodic culls though to fit the new ones in - but there are some I have had for decades and would never shake off.

specialsubject Mon 20-May-13 14:09:23

big big cull after 3 moves, and I am now down to three medium sized bookcases of stuff that gets read repeatedly.

and I have an excellent local library - what a brilliant concept, grab a book just because it looks like it might be interesting.

if no books (of your own) what do you do in the bath? :-)

HmmmIwonder Mon 20-May-13 14:16:37

Get rid of some, you must have some rubbish ones in there (hiding those Dan Browns..?), just to make some room but don't throw them all out! Your kids/grandkids/ friends might spot something they really fancy and you'll feel totally justified in keeping them.
I threw out a load of books I had at university and i'm not kidding you i still wish i hadn't (and that was a good while ago!).
Mind you, it's probably worth remembering they really don't last forever. I had a copy of On the Road from the 60s, that my dd wanted to read simply because of the cool cover, but when she picked it up the spine disintegrated and the pages all fell out. She never did get round to reading the shiny new Penguin version i bought her to replace it..!

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 20-May-13 14:29:30

dexter, yep, you're right. It's a fair cop. grin

I'd still say that the overwhelming pro-book sentiment on this thread seems to be 'I love them' rather than 'You're stupid if you don't have them'.

girliefriend Mon 20-May-13 14:34:26

My dad collects books and when we were younger at least one room in the house was given over to his books. If anything this put me right off keeping books and now when i finish a book I think 'will I want to read this again?'

If the answer is no then it goes to the charity shop

If yes then I keep.

I like the idea of passing books on and as I get most of my books from charity shops it sort of feels like it goes full circle.

dexter73 Mon 20-May-13 14:38:03

LadyClarice - Luckily most people don't think like that but I was just drawing attention to the ones who do! Most people love books. Just because you don't keep hundreds in your house doesn't change that.

scarecrow22 Mon 20-May-13 14:41:07

I have got I'd if maybe half my books in the last two to three years. I find it easier to weed then a few shopping bags at a time - I get tougher and braver each time smile

flatmum Mon 20-May-13 14:44:54

No I don't anymore, not since got a kindle and tablet. All the childrens bedrooms and the playroom have lots of chidlrens books in and there are some recipe books in the kitchen and technical/craft books in the office - but all fiction has now been sold on Amazon marketplace or given away. I don't miss them at all and it is great to have more shelf space and less cluster.

It does make me laugh when people on here say that people without obvious books on display in their living spaces are uneducated/uncultured/thick. I read every single day without fail (can't sleep at night without reading), read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including a lot of technical stuff for my job and have BSc and Masters from 2 RG unis. I do see their point about people who don't read at all but I dont think you can judge it by visible displays anymore.

QuiteOldGal Mon 20-May-13 14:48:11


I have culled a lot of my books as I have a kindle.

Unfortunately DH likes to obsessively collect old books of his favourite subjects and directly there is a small space on the bookcase another book appears. The thing is as a lot of them are from bookfairs and old book shops they take on a bit of a musty smell but nothing will make him part with his books so I just have to keep it managable.

He also insists on keeping them in the living room, I have suggested putting them in the boxroom but I think he likes to admire them confused

carlajean Mon 20-May-13 14:50:38

haven't got time to do whole thread but helium heart comment on 'visible passport to intellectality' is spot on. I used to think that visitors would look at all my books and think how well-read I was but realized they don't care. such a liberation.

Jux Mon 20-May-13 15:13:58

When I met dh he had about 1000 books and I had about 2000. Then mum moved in with us and I have now got all hers and dad's books too. Then my brother died and all his books are here. DD, meanwhile, was getting older and needing more books too.

I reckon we've probably got about 10,000 books in our house now. I have probably read most of them. About 1000 are reference, and we probably have 20 different dictionaries and I know we have at least 2 complete sets of Encyclopaedias. There is no way I would get rid of books. We actually need a separate house for them though. grin

And right now, dh is saying he has run out of things to read!

StoicButStressed Mon 20-May-13 15:21:34

YAN - def notgrin BU if, having decided TO get rid of your books you give them to a charity shop.

But for me, I just couldn't (with exception of very child/age-approp ones that my lovely DS's have grown out, but even then with the exception of 'special ones).

I love books; love reading; love that ALL of my 3 boys are voracious readers; and love the fact that, to all intents and purposes, we do actually have a library in the houseblush

DS3 (11, 12 very soon) and I have a l'il ritual of every 6 weeks or so going to the kids cinema club in a really sweet cinema in a town near us, then walking to Cafe Rouge for (cheapest poss!) lunch but only AFTER we have been in all 3 charity shops on the way where he will have £x to spend - and that is ALWAYS books. So I'm grateful you give them to charity shops IF giving them away (also as he tries to make sure he spends his money in the Cancer Research shop as his Nanny/my Mumma died a little over 3 months ago from that, so him getting books aside, is a vital source of income for those charities).

But no, I couldn't ever get rid of my/our books and one of the mantras someone else told me re DCs and books is ingrained in my brain -

"If you have great manners for others but also enjoy your own company; both of those and a love of books mean you can go anywhere in the world and enjoy yourself" smile

MisguidedAngel Mon 20-May-13 15:53:00

"There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more ..." (The Smiths). When I met my current OH and went to live on a boat I gave away/sold a houseful of furniture, kept books, pictures and ornaments in storage and eventually gave them away too. I only regret the books - they were a 25 year collection and like a time line of my life. Now we live in a house and I've got books everywhere again. I have a core of old favourites, classics and reference books and loads more that I will probably just read once and give away - or promote to the keepers.

I love visiting people who have lots of books, I can hardly keep away from the shelves especially if they have interesting esoteric reference books. Can't get on with kindles, but I think they must be great for holidays.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-May-13 16:02:16

I read somewhere you need to make room in your bookshelves for more knowledge to come into your life
Bit woo but I like the theory and now cull with abandon.

Lweji Mon 20-May-13 16:12:29

You never know.

I loved the old books I found at my grandparents. holding on to one in case it is worth millions

GeorginaWorsley Mon 20-May-13 16:17:49

I agree with those who love houses full of books,we have 2 large floor to ceiling bookcases in the living room,one in the hall,one in the kitchen,plus DC'S have them in their bedrooms.
Occasionally cull books that I haven't particularlyliked,but I re read on a regular bases others.
I have a kindle,but really only read that on holiday or if it is a kindle only book,IFYSWIM

anklebitersmum Mon 20-May-13 16:20:17

oh my..I am on a book ban at the moment as we have 4 big bookcases and all of them are 3 deep and bulging so I certainly haven't said 'yes' to 4 more boxes from my auction mad Mum

can't get on with a kindle has to be a big papery thing for me so I'd say 'No' to getting rid unless of course you're popping them round to my house grin

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 16:27:39

I've done two massive book clear-outs. It has been liberating. smile The first time, I removed the bookcase in my bedroom because I realised the dust wasn't good for me and no, of course I couldn't just dust them! I got rid of about 400 books then. The second time was about a month ago, when I finally admitted to myself that, since I hadn't opened a single one of my undergraduate textbooks in over 25 years, I was fairly unlikely ever to read them again! grin I found a really good home for them, and a couple of hundred others, because a friend of mine has links with a university overseas which is building up its library.

SoniaGluck Mon 20-May-13 16:38:49

It could also be said that people that overtly display their books are snobs, who want visitors to think how clever they are.

See now, I do really struggle with this because I am sure this is one of the reasons why I don't declutter my book shelves. I really am afraid that people will think I'm thick if I don't have book cases groaning with classics.

And I know it's ridiculous because, although no mastermind, I know that I'm reasonably bright and I have read most of the books that I own. Also, I don't know quite who I am trying to impress.confused I have no idea why I feel like this and I know it's daft but I still can't bring myself to cull the books.

I also agree, ubik that somehow a Kindle just isn't quite as good as an actual book. If you find a therapist, let me know.grin

KansasCityOctopus Mon 20-May-13 16:45:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lavenderhoney Mon 20-May-13 17:05:14

Yes, I have all my books, except crappy ones which I give away. They are everywhere plus the dc seem to be book fans and they have loads as well. I can always be relied upon to say yes to buying more bookssmile

I use the library to see if i like a new author and love 2nd hand bookshop a and fetes with old books. 50p for ten! All lovely old bookssmile somerset Maugham etc.

I did pile up some duplicates and other ones I wasn't that keen on to appease dh who wanted room for his books but the charity shop wouldn't take them as they weren't brand new!!

So I gave them to the old people's home which was better as they can't get out and rummage anyway.

woozlebear Mon 20-May-13 17:18:34

I rarely re-read books, and I have a Kindle, and a fairly minimalist house (very few pictures on walls, no ornaments other than candle holders), BUT, my instinct is to have as many books around as I reasonably have space for (which currently means two ceiling-height alcove units in the sitting room and a wall of shelves in the study). I hate getting rid of a book that I've really really enjoyed, even if I don't intend to re-read it. I like being reminded of them, and I feel phsically attached to them once I've read them. Plus I just love the look and atmosphere of books. I love having quite a lot of un-read books around, too - like having a library at home. To me a house without books wouldn't feel like home. It's odd because I am ruthless to the point of weirdness with everything else (photos, mementos etc).

Some of the best read people I know have no books around their house. It doesn't signify anything, it's just taste. DH and I are both the same (although he does re-read stuff a lot) and both of us grew up in houses covered in books, so a lot is probably conditioning, too.

Fillyjonk75 Mon 20-May-13 17:40:26

We have loads of children's books and will have a clear out once they get too old for them, keeping a few favourites. My mum kept a few of my favourite books which DDs now read.

DH is a bit reluctant to clear out novels he has read and will not read again, but I am fairly ruthless with mine. I don't buy books that often now anyway. I get them from the library, buy e-books or buy them in a charity shop then take them back. I have kept all the classic novels I've/we've read for DDs to read when they are older though, but lots of bog standard paperbacks have been charity shopped. We also keep non-fiction books for reference, though I would like to cull a few more.

My next project is getting rid of CDs though. Then DVDs once it can all be digitised more easily.

Jux Mon 20-May-13 17:45:35

Well, OliviaMMumsnet, I would say that you need to keep room in your life for more knowledge. You can always buy another bookcase, you know wink

I've kept some special books and some I haven't read. Anything else has been sent to the charity shop.

I have managed to duplicate a lot for nothing on my Kindle, so those books I think I 'might' read again I still have electronically.

I just don't have the space.

Filly I spent hours the other evening sorting all my cds into alphabetical order. I have bought 5 folio things for them (from the 99p store!) and will eventually put them all in there. Some of them I just don't want to get rid of as they are from my yoof grin. I would so love to get rid of all the DVD boxes as well but DH won't let me touch his collection.

shufflehopstep Mon 20-May-13 18:43:07

Books should be alive. They're only alive when they're being read so if you don't have the time, let them live with somebody else. I give away almost all of my books once I've read them. Just a small number that I loved so I keep in case I want to read them again. I also have a Kindle for when I go on holiday.

Pass them on to someone else who'll enjoy them or give them to a charity shop, they'll thank you. grin

ThenWeTakeBerlin Mon 20-May-13 18:50:42

I'm minimalist in every area of my home except books. I still cull though and have about 200, which is probably the limit for my tiny flat.

I too feel a bit twitchy at homes with no books at all. You don't need heaving shelves, even half a dozen library books makes a house a home. May be unreasonable but that's how I feel smile

formicadinosaur Mon 20-May-13 18:53:14

I have 'thinned mine out'. Use to have five book cases worth but now have three. Many well loved and used, the rest given away.

badguider Mon 20-May-13 18:57:15

I keep about half the books I buy - anything I would go back to again or want to lend to a friend saying 'oh you should try this one...'
Many of my books are out on loan at any time.

Trashy crime fiction gets sent to the charity shop... as does anything I really didn't like.

So I still have a lot of bookcases full of books but they are not really out of control.

FairyPenguin Mon 20-May-13 19:00:46

&#372;e used to have loads of books, but most of them we'd both read and knew we wouldn't read again (despite saying we would). So now they get passed on to friends/family/charity unless we really definitely will read again.

We have a new rule that if the bookcase is full (with all books stacked vertically, and only 1 book deep), then we are not allowed to buy any more books until we give some away. (shh, but DH doesn't know I've hidden some charity shop bargains in a drawer!).

The children's bookcases though, are overflowing. But I think it's good for them to have books, so hate clearing them out. They love reading.

Ilikethebreeze Mon 20-May-13 19:02:45

Could the cost of downloading books go up massively in the future?
Are all books ever published available on kindle nowadays?

Tried my DDs kindle but didnt like it.

KatyDid02 Mon 20-May-13 19:32:19

I am thinking about doing the same thing, I have about 5 bookcases in the dining room that have not been looked at for months, a lot are non-fiction books that a school somewhere would be glad of but my children have outgrown now.
We could have so much more space in the dining room, it's too cramped as it is at the moment and I know the books will never be read.

beatricequimby Mon 20-May-13 19:35:10

My books are part of who I am, like pictures or ornaments. I give away ones I don't like or can't imagine rereading or lending but many of them remind me of of people who gave them to me or the place where I read them.

I love looking at other friends' books. You don't really browse what someone else has downloaded onto their Kindle. Its just not the same.

bigTillyMint Mon 20-May-13 19:35:11

Norks I LOVE your colourbetising bookshelves - fabulous!

I have a few books around downstairs - mainly ones I have read and enjoyed and might possibly read again. I cull regularly, but now I have a Kindle, it's not so much of an issue!

However, we have loads of kids picturebooks - partly down to my career! DD will not part with any of her novels - they are like old friends - even though she never reads other than for schoolwork and FB nowsad

Iaintdunnuffink Mon 20-May-13 19:39:23

I got rid of nearly all of our adult books, I kept a few that looked good in my living room ;) I also scanned in all the CD's and DVD's, put them on a media server and sold them. It's so nice to have got rid of loads of clutter.

Lavenderhoney Mon 20-May-13 20:11:21

I never loan out books anymore- I don't get them back. I've had to replace a few and they have been removed by guests and never return, old ones too, not new novels or anything.

If I ever feel tempted again, I'm going to ask for a depositsmile

I love all my books, I've even got all my children's books which the dc are showing interest in. Bit mouldy but still readable.

negrilbaby Mon 20-May-13 20:14:27

Part of an article in Bloomberg Businessweek:

Around the world, the catch-all measure used to proxy for parental commitment to education is the number of books in a child‘s household. This measure predicts student educational outcomes better than class sizes, or expenditures per student, the length of the school day or better class monitoring. Hanushek and Woessman have found that among 27 rich countries, the United States sees one of the strongest relationships between parental book ownership and child learning outcomes. In the U.S., kids from homes where there are more than two full bookcases score two and a half grade levels higher than kids from homes with very few books.

Have never been able to get rid of books. Most of mine get read and re-read!

pointythings Mon 20-May-13 20:15:10

I've just given away about 170 books to our local hospital, who are opening a library in a refurbished mental health ward. But they were all books DH and I would not read again, and we only did it because 1) it was for a good purpose, and 2) we are now 'allowed' to buy more books.

I can't imagine our house without books. And we probably have about 3000 too.

crashdoll Mon 20-May-13 20:55:57

I've never felt an emotional attachment to books as objects. I've felt emotional attachments to books as words because they saved me as a child, took me away from a bad, scary world into one where I felt safe. To be honest, if you'd judge me for not displaying books on every shelf and every surface, then I wouldn't really want you and your judgey pants in my home.

Meggymoodle Mon 20-May-13 21:08:47

This thread has had about the worst possible outcome for me. I've been reading it thinking how sorry I was to have got rid of some of my books and I've just been and bid on a load on ebay......blush

pointythings Mon 20-May-13 21:24:55

crashdoll we would judge you in our house - to be a kindred spirit. flowers.

I mean, how nice is it to be able to offer your guests something to read as well as something to eat/drink?

babytrasher Mon 20-May-13 21:33:35

By all means get rid of most of your books (surely, you must want to keep a few???) - but the real tragedy is the households who've never had a book. sad

I teach in SEN EBD boys school. Virtually none of them have even a single book in their homes. One boy was interested in a book I had (Marcus du Sautoy's ^Num8er My5teries^) so I gave it to him. But his mum threw it out as it was crap. angry

My golden rule which I try really hard (but mostly unsuccessfully) to keep is *Don't buy a book you have not already read - that's what libraries are for*: makes sense when you think about it... confused

ThenWeTakeBerlin Mon 20-May-13 21:41:35

That's so sad, babytrasher sad

I grew up in an uneducated family, the only book in our house was the Yellow Pages. I've always been an avid reader though, I have school and libraries to thank for that.

TheSnowFairy Mon 20-May-13 21:48:24

My grandfather worked for Penguin books so I have a ton of those - we have a bookcase along one entire wall which is full, plus a smaller recessed one.

My dad had a library in his old house and I think I'm yearning for one even though we have no spare rooms!

My kindle app is, however, exceedingly useful for when I want to read in bed without disturbing anyone grin

Arisbottle Mon 20-May-13 22:03:31

My house is filled with books but I am willing to admit that part if the reason did that is so I can show people I am not as thick as they may assume .

LadyBigtoes Mon 20-May-13 22:37:39

I think books look nice! I hate cutter and am on a constant mission to declutter and battle against the rising tides every day, but I wouldn't include books in that. We have literally thousands, but we've had ceiling-high built-in shelves made for them so there are no topply, looming or mismatched shelves, and the books look neat and packed away. I think it makes a beautiful wall when it's lined with all kinds of colourful books.

I actually hardly ever read any books atm apart from for work, because I'm so busy and tired and can't read enough of a novel at a time to sustain my way through it. Yet I often, often think "I know I have a book about that" or "I want to look at this or that poem/diagram/quotation" or "I feel like having a go at that book I bought 4 years ago and never started" and then go to find the book - I would hate it if I had that urge to get a particular book then found I'd got rid of it.

I'm a massive web user and can find anything on google, but my books are like friends.

LadyBigtoes Mon 20-May-13 22:39:16

aargh clutter

allagory Mon 20-May-13 23:04:58

I am 45 years old. In precisely 5 years' time my present employer will decide that like all women of a certain age, I am Old And In the Way. They will pay me off and I will struggle to find another job. Maybe I will try a business of my own that will limp along. Maybe I'll have to move to a smaller house. But when that time comes, I am really counting on all those books still being there for me.

EatenByZombies Mon 20-May-13 23:24:36


Give them to be instead grin One can never have too many books, just not enough space.

JoyMachine Mon 20-May-13 23:52:25

I agree with whomever upthread said their books are a timeline of her life.

Impossible for me to get rid of them- it would be erasing my history.

funnyperson Tue 21-May-13 00:08:17

What cory and hullygully said upthread.
Local library doesn't cut it, only has badly written 'romantic' novels on the shelves; local elderly people have poor eyesight. Our books are personal family friends. Loved for life. Still mourn the loss of the irreplaceable library when I moved country. Whosoever upthread says books are only a show of intellectuality has no heart.

EatenByZombies Tue 21-May-13 00:11:15

Wow did someone say that books are only a show of intellectuality? I missed that.

Apparently the Meg, Mog and Owl books that sit beside my Murakami novels just lowered by IQ quite a bit wink

Arisbottle Tue 21-May-13 01:23:15

I don't think books are just a sign of intellectuality, for me they certainly tell the story of my life and I am sentimental about them.

However for me and I suspect many others ( but clearly no one on MN ( they are a way of saying , yes I am dirt common , most of you lot would label me a chav and avoid me but I have worked bloody hard and am actually bloody clever .

nooka Tue 21-May-13 05:41:31

My house is full of books, it's a family failing smile I go through them every year or so and cull the ones I don't think I'll read again, but that leaves several hundreds, and as as both my children are also bookworms the volume is only likely to increase over time. It's still a smaller collection than my parents or really anyone from their generation in the family as they've had more time to buy and to read.

My books aren't for show. They are for me!

BonaDea Tue 21-May-13 07:13:21

When DH and I first moved in together and has far fewer book shelves which were more than filled as soon as I moved in, we instituted a 'one in one out' policy. We both went through and weeded out the books we wanted to keep, put those on the shelves so we both had roughly equal amounts and then started the policy. If you buy a book and need to make room you have to get rid of another. Obv you can only chuck your own books!!

We now have much more shelf space and our reduced collection didn't fill what we had. But it is getting quite full now (kindles notwithstanding!) so the policy will come back.

I actually think it has made our collection much higher quality as all the rubbish is gone and we've only kept the great books. My test is - would I want to read it again, be in a position to recommend and lend to someone or would I like DS to read it.

Have the clear out!

GoblinGranny Tue 21-May-13 07:55:36

I used to work in a school where few of the children had books at home. I kept the class library fully stocked from charity shops in my parents' home town, mixed in with what the school had.
Every half term, I let all the children choose a book that they really wanted to keep, from my stock. Most did choose one. Then I'd restock.
Worth every penny. smile

JollyOrangeGiant Tue 21-May-13 08:01:31

We did this recently. The hospital and nursing home didn't want them so we took them to a local charity shop.

I kept one bookcase of fiction and one of non fiction. And DS has about 200 of his own. I kept ones that are not easily replaceable in electronic form.

I don't regret it. I also don't have time to read. I bought two books in October and haven't opened them yet. I've read 6 books this side of Christmas. Maybe once I have older children I'll have more chance to read.

Guerrillacrochet Tue 21-May-13 08:19:51

I have lots of books but have thinned them out over the years due to space limitations, and some of those that I gave to the charity shop were the smarty pants books that I never got round to reading (sorry Chaucer). I had a kindle for Christmas this year and having been sniffy about them previously I now absolutely love it to bits... it means I don't have to get backache from hauling round Game of Thrones.
I'm also in China at the moment and being able to download from Amazon makes me feel a bit less homesick.
When we were getting ready to come here our shipper told us that said we had to limit to 50 books. FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY shock. That was tough. And the fact that we had to list all the titles and couldn't include anything 'politically sensitive' reminded me of the amazing power that books can have.

MsAverage Tue 21-May-13 08:24:40

I treat them as all other things in the house: "Is there any chance that someone will use this thing / wear this shoes / read this book in the next 12 months? No? Out".

Interestingly, I used to read a lot, but now days every time I take a book in my hand at home I feel... guilt. Normally I read in the situations, where you have nothing to do else: on the tube, in the planes, home when ill (in other words, during "brown time"). So, when I read a book at home I feel that I waste my "green time", which may be used with family or somehow productively.

Librarina Tue 21-May-13 08:29:01

I think everyone on this thread should read 'Ex Libris' by Anne Fadiman, it's a lovely little book about a lifelong relationship between this woman and her books

Also, 'Howards End is On The Landing' by Susan Hill about not buying books, and just reading those you already have...

And, 'The Yellow Lighted Bookshop' about the joys of rooting around in bookshops.

Then you can choose whether to keep them or pass them on to another book lover!

KhaosandKalamity Tue 21-May-13 12:26:07

Not the books! You've got to be pretty strong to be able to even consider it. I'm so bad that when the library sells old worn, often torn, books I have to go buy some because I can't stand the idea of an unwanted unloved book. Drove DP nuts, until I explained it made him look smarter.

Samu2 Tue 21-May-13 12:27:44

I have a houseful of books and they aren't going anywhere, ever.

I am actually considering buying some of my faves on the kindle in book form. I love the ease of the kindle but also love brand new books in my house.

KhaosandKalamity Tue 21-May-13 12:30:34

Hm... I should add that in reality I know the sheer number of books doesn't make him look smarter, which he would know if he even glanced at the titles. But he doesn't read, and the harmless white lie allows my collection to thrive.

Samu2 Tue 21-May-13 12:32:40

I should add that I have a heap of Danielle Steel and Mills and Boons that I hide in a cupboard grin They were my grandma's and I wouldn't want anyone to think I love that stuff hmm

amazingmumof6 Tue 21-May-13 12:32:55

MsAverage thank you so much for the green time/brown time phrases.
I always had that distinction in my head between time spent active( get things done) or passive ( stuck in the mud) but never could quite coin a term. this is Mumsnet at it's best for me!

thank you so much and if you don't mind Ill spread the word! thanks

diddl Tue 21-May-13 12:46:22

What is this "getting rid of books" of which people are speaking?

I have a Kindle for when travelling-but I prefer books, I think.

I put my faves on the kindle plus a couple of hundred more that I fancied.

I'm wondering if I'll ever get them all read!

No time to read-thought everyone read for half an hour or so when they first got into bed.blushgrin

JollyOrangeGiant Tue 21-May-13 12:55:33

Diddl, at the moment I take the laptop to bed and finish off my work for the day. When I'm less busy at work I either read or crochet and watch a box set. I'm making a blanket for DC2 and it needs to be finished before they arrive in August. I sadly can't crochet and read at the same time!

Lavenderhoney Wed 22-May-13 04:18:01

I re read all mine too- they are a barometer of how I feel at the time, or need cheering up, calming down. I re read cs Lewis as my dc are too young to read at the mo, and regale them with the magicians nephew in the car. They love itsmile

nooka Wed 22-May-13 05:39:37

I don't see reading as wasting time or passive. It's either mind expanding or recharging time for me. Nothing better than curling up with a good book. But then I live with a family of gamers, so we quite often companionably slope off into our different worlds for a few hours of an evening. And then come back together to discuss, rant etc. I do plenty of active things too (usually with a stand by book just in case!) but reading is my major hobby, and has been since I was quite small.

working9while5 Wed 22-May-13 07:21:41

A lot of the books I am sentimental about from my teens and early twenties are in my bedroom the guestroom at my mother's house.

If I had a different sort of home, I would love wall to wall beautiful books, but I live in a 2-bed ex-council where space is at an absolute premium and excessive books really add clutter and dust. My dream would be a beautiful old Grade-listed building with a room entirely for reading but right now, that's not achievable. There are three book areas in the kids' room and two other book cases in the house but really any more and we wouldn't have space for things that we need on a daily basis.

Soulless? Pah. I have three Kindles, so lack of reading material is never an issue and the children are well aware they are books. It's just a shift to a different world I think.

amazingmumof6 Wed 22-May-13 07:40:23

I re-read Eve's Daughters every January. I need the hope and push it gives me in the beginning of a New Year when I tend to feel a bit low.

I could not get rid of it and just get it on a Kindle.

But I can't fault people if they get rid of some of their book - bought 3 books yesterday from a charity shop about cupcakes, macaroons and beading. thanks!

CouthyMow Wed 22-May-13 07:41:39

Get. Rid. Of. Books.

Does not compute.

Nope. I could build myself SN extension from the books we all own. Literally!!

LaQueen Wed 22-May-13 08:23:36

Agree with you diddl I was forcibly bought a Kindle, by DH, to take on holiday because we once had to pay excess luggage (bleddy Ryan Air) due, most likely, to my 12 books loving packed in my suitcase grin

But, I don't think I have ever thrown a book away, and often adopt them when others are throwing them out.

My Mum has recently moved to a new retirement complex, and it has a proper library - I am just itching to get in there, and see what they have smile

wonkylegs Wed 22-May-13 08:27:50

I can't get my head round disposing of books even though I'm in the process of cursing how many we have whilst trying to pack to move house. I have removed a few shite ones -reluctantly- to the charity shop this week.
I have a kindle but it's supplemental not a replacement, it could never replace the beautiful books.

Most likely every edition of Catherine Cookson and Danielle Steele LaQ. grin

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Wed 22-May-13 08:36:02

Most old books are not beautiful, the are dusty with yellow pages. Books are just a medium for a story. I understand that people can be attached to a 'story' but not to a scruffy old book.

TweenageAngst Wed 22-May-13 09:02:19

My relationship with my books is emotional. My life is marked out in books and as such I have a (probably unhealthy) attachment to them.
My childhood was a very lonely isolated one and books were my window on the world I used to read with a dictionary on one side and a world map on the other. Books gave me an escape from the wretched loneliness of a bullied child and fired my imagination. I used to dream of going to the places in my books as a way of escape and as an adult I have been to many of the places I read and dreamed about as a child..
I look upon them as my friends. And as such I have always really struggled to get rid of them.
However I have come to the realisation that I am no longer a lonely child and have been slowly culling my collection, it takes ages because I consider each one individually and sometimes discovery long forgotten joys and have to re-read them. I feels great to see the piles of boxes getting smaller and I love each and every one of my edited collection on the shelves.

CouthyMow Wed 22-May-13 14:44:08

I have bookshelves in my loft for the books I don't have space downstairs for. My own personal library.

But by all means, drive to my local town, give them to the Charity shops, and then I can buy them...

<<Rubs hands with glee...>>

MyDarlingClementine Wed 22-May-13 15:24:13

Same as Cory way back when, I could never get rid of my books until at least DC old enough to leave home, I too have many happy memories of looking at book spines and wondering what stories were in there when younger, we had book cases everywhere so whilst eating my eye would fall on a title, or watching tv, etc.

I have pruned out those lighter novels, all except Sophie Kinsella whom I love.

MyDarlingClementine Wed 22-May-13 15:26:01

* not to a scruffy old book.*

Oh no, I love dog eared pages and know that someone else read the book I abhore people who are anal about their book pages being turned....I love the look of a loved and lived in book.

Lavenderhoney Wed 22-May-13 20:32:50

Oh yes, I love holiday cottages with left behind books and I always edge over to people's bookshelves when at their house.

I was once at an all day party, needed a break from it all, escaped to the book room, got very engrossed in a room with a view as I hadn't read it for years, and was rather short with a man who came and interrupted me. He retired gracefully. Didn't realise it was Lenny Kravitzsmile never saw him again to apologise either.

Mintyy Wed 22-May-13 20:37:44

"I don't see reading as wasting time or passive."

Couldn't agree more. Doesn't mean I want to hang on to all of the books that I have read. They are two completely different issues.

arcticwaffle Wed 22-May-13 20:56:42

I have a rather intense emotional relationship with my kindle. A whole library in my pocket, one that will never run out. I feel very reassured by that.

I used to get quite anxious about running out of books on holidays and journeys, pre-kindle.

Lavenderhoney Thu 23-May-13 06:09:35

I don't have a kindle but I have some books on my iPhone for when I have to wait for the dc.

I think I'd miss perusing my shelves, plus when the dc get older, we might fight over it.

Might be good for travel though. Hmmm...

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