Getting rid of books may sound like sacrilege to some of you, but I would very much recommend it. As beautiful as books are, they take up a lot of space and I don’t know about you, but I often buy books that I’m really excited about at the time but when I get it home I’m just… never in the mood to read it. And if I haven’t been in the mood to read a book for 6 months, it’s got to go.
Here’s a few books I’m getting rid of and why.
The Stolen White Elephant by Mark Twain, The Night is Darkening Round Us by Emily Dickinson, Circles of Hell by Dante, Wailing Ghosts by Pu Songling.
I bought these Penguin Little Black Books in my ‘I’m going to have a beautiful book collection’ phase, before I realised how much I dislike clutter. These were purely shallow purchases, bought for their good looks, and I’m not interested in what lies beneath the surface.
Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty.
I’ve read and liked all of Moriarty’s books, but this is my least favourite and one of the few that I have no desire to re-read, ever. If I’m only going to read a book once, what’s the point of owning it? You’re going to the Oxfam shop, my friend.
The Vagenda by Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.
I bought this when I first discovered the top floor of my local Waterstones (I’d thought it was all boring non-fiction up there but then discovered the gender studies section!). I bought it when I was reading some very good feminist non-fiction and was hoping to continue enjoying that genre. However, this book starts with basically a history of women’s magazines, which could be interesting but it’s not presented very well. I didn’t give it much of a chance – maybe if I’d read on, I’d have gotten into it, but the damage is done. Now, every time I see it, the word ‘boring’ flashes into my head.
Simon VS the Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.
I enjoyed this book at the time of reading. I think I even gave it five stars, back when I was giving star ratings, but I just never think about it. It’s quite unmemorable for me, and again, if I’m not going to reread a book, I don’t want to keep seeing it on my shelves.
Unless the cover’s pretty, obvs.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.
I’ve read a fair bit of this and was enjoying it, but the hardback is just so big and cumbersome. It feels like a real effort to read it; I can’t twist into the positions I usually read in, and basically have to be sitting somewhere where the book can lie flat, and that hurts my back and neck. Ebooks all the way!
Reality Boy by A. S. King.
This sounded, and stills sounds, like a book I’d love, but I’ve tried to read it a few times and just can’t get into it. It’s the same problem as The Vagenda – I now have it stuck in my head that this book is going to take Effort. It’s another big cumbersome hardback too, and eurgh I just can’t be bothered.
Reader, I Married Him, edited by Tracy Chevalier.
I love Jane Eyre, which the short stories in this anthology are based on, but I must only love the original. I’ve read a few of these stories and not enjoyed any of them, not even the one by Susan Hill, which I was most excited for (I was expecting a ghost, OK?!).
I’m just not really into short story collections but went through a phase of buying them. My favourite bookish YouTubers are to blame (looking at you, JeanBookishThoughts, Reads and Daydreams and Jen Campbell).
Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
I loved these books when I was younger and I do still want to reread them but there’s just something about these paperbacks that feels… in the way. I’m getting rid, and if I really want to reread then I’ve still got a lovely illustrated Da Vinci Code I can read, or I can probably get the ebooks pretty cheap.
Also, I feel like it would be so weird to see someone reading The Da Vinci Code after all this time, do you know what I mean? I feel like I’d get funny looks on the bus.
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett.
I don’t know what it is with Terry Pratchett. I loved The Hogfather but I just can’t get on with his other books. I kept being told to try Mort, which I’ve had several goes at now, or this one, which I got pretty far into and just felt like nothing had happened. I think I’ve got to accept that I’m just not a Discworld fan, unless it’s Discworld at Christmas.
The Case of the Imaginary Detective by Karen Joy Fowler.
I bought this because I loved We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by the same author, but after trying this and reading The Jane Austen Book Club, I think that was just a one-off and Fowler is not going to become one of my favourite authors. Also, it’s really little compared to my other paperbacks and looks stupid on my shelves. I’m so shallow.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.
This was a good read, though not as good as expected, and not one that I think I’ll pick up again. It’s in the vein of Michelle Magorian’s books but doesn’t have the same emotional pay-off. It’s going.
Emma, Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
I always want to be a massive Jane Austen fan, and I think a lot of my friends think I am, but I’m not really at all. The only one I’ve ever managed to get through is Pride and Prejudice, which I did really enjoy but have never re-read. (Don’t tell my old uni lecturers this as I was supposed to read Sense and Sensibility for my course… I wrote most of my essay based off of the awesome film with Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.)
Mine is a lovely illustrated copy that my friend got me such a long time ago, but I’ve never read any of the stories in it after all these years so it’s got to go. If I do ever get the urge to read them, they are all free on Kindle.
Wenceslas by Carol Ann Duffy.
This is a very pretty illustrated book but it is literally one poem and I didn’t even read it at Christmas. I just can’t help thinking it’s a bit pointless every time I look at it.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.
I tried, I really did. I loved Fangirl but didn’t like any of the Simon and Baz scenes so lord knows why I thought I’d enjoy this book. It’s basically just got such a pretty cover that I thought it was worth it, but it saps my energy every time I remember it’s there. Let’s list all the things that are shit about it, shall we?
- Wtf sort of a name is Baz for a vampire
- It’s a blatant Harry Potter rip-off. I know that’s sort of the point, it’s meant to be a homage, but all it does is remind me that it’s not HP and will never be as good as HP.
- It doesn’t know its audience. It has language in it that is quite clearly more suited to children’s literature (the spells, the villain’s name) but then they use the F word and talk about Simon’s hard-on all the time. It’s clearly a book written for people who read Fangirl and nobody else. Can you imagine picking up this book without having read Fangirl first? You wouldn’t know what the hell was going on.
- It’s just not engaging. The story is action-packed and plot-driven but it crawls along despite this. It just feels like it’s been done badly.
So yeah, I hate Carry On but I love the cover and that’s why I didn’t throw it out months ago.
So those are the books I’m donating to friends or charity this month. I’ve not been buying many books lately, so it’ll probably be a while before I do another declutter. My shelves are actually filled with books I’ve mostly read now, it’s nice. I urge you all to bite the bullet and chuck out those books you’re never going to read!