Although I love books, I’m fairly unsentimental and declutter mine regularly.
With the exception of a few special ones from my childhood, I seldom get attached to a specific edition. Of course, there are novels that I always have a copy of: The Lord of the Rings, The Dark is Rising Sequence and others. But if a new, prettier edition, comes along, I’ll replace one with the other without a second thought.
In the past few years, this tendency to declutter my books has increased. I think it’s a result of me now consuming most of my novels in audiobook format. I’ve become more intentional with what books own.
I don’t want cluttered shelves filled with books I’ll never read again. I want a carefully selected collection — one with beautiful editions of books that mean something to me.
I thought it would be interesting to dive into my pile of newly decluttered books and take a closer look at why I’m letting some of them go.
When “True Blood” premiered in 2008, vampires were my thing. Because I enjoyed the TV-series, I bought this book and quickly got hooked on the series. I loved it.
However, they’re not that good.
They first half of the series is entertaining, but not well-written. The second half… and the end is a train wreck. Despite that, I’ve had a lot of fun with these books.
But, twelve years have passed. I still love vampires, but I’ve long-since lost interest in the paranormal romance genre.
I haven’t read a “Sookie Stackhouse” book since the final novel came out in 2013.
It’s time to say goodbye.
The Name of the Wind – The Kingkiller Chronicles
I read this book when it released in 2007. I bought the second “A Wise Mans Fear” in 2011 but decided not to read it until the third part, “The Doors of Stone” had a release date.
I’m still waiting.
I loved the first book. But it’s been nine years since I bought “A Wise Mans Fear” and there’s still no date set for the third book. There are rumors of an August 2020 release, but it’s unconfirmed by both the author and his publisher.
I’m not holding my breath in anticipation.
I sincerely hope Rothfuss will finish this series. He’s an incredible author. If the third book ever gets a confirmed release-date, I’ll be first in line to purchase a hardback edition of the complete trilogy. But, for now, I need the shelf-space for books that offer closure.
The Wolf – Under the Northern Sky Trilogy
I enjoyed both. I plan to read the third book when it comes out.
However, despite enjoying these novels, I didn’t love them. They entertained me, but didn’t leave a lasting impression. I don’t see myself ever feeling inclined to reread them.
I bought this paperback copy of “The Wolf” on a whim. I listened to “The Spider” on audiobook, and I don’t have any interest in buying a physical copy of it.
I’m a collector at heart. The thought of owning just one book in a series makes my brain implode.
I can’t do it. It has to go.
This is another paranormal romance series, but with a Steampunk setting.
Soulless, the first book in the series, released in 2009, and I read it shortly after. This series is significantly more well-written than the “Sookie Stackhouse” books, but it’s still paranormal romance.
This is a book I’ve read quite a few times. Ten years ago, this series was a favorite.
But it’s been a long time since I read a book in this series. The only time I ever take the boxset off the shelf is so I can dust underneath it.
It’s time for them to go.
I’ve not read this book. It represents a whole IKEA bag of books I haven’t read. Books that remind me of who I wanted to be in my early twenties.
At the time, I was studying human rights and political science at university. I dreamed of volunteering for some high-profile NGO.
Then I hit my mid-twenties. Things like an apartment of my own and a steady income suddenly felt important.
I gave up my volunteer plans for a paying job working with intellectually disabled. I don’t regret it.
And yet, for almost two decades, I’ve packed and unpacked that IKEA bag over and over. Books about deep, complex conflicts or human rights issues.
They’re books I wish I wanted to read.
But, I’ve had seventeen years to read them. If I really wanted to, I would have by now.
I’ll be thirty-eight in less than a month. It’s time to let go of the person I wanted to be at twenty-one.
So, there you have it.
In real life, these five books represent about four moving boxes of decluttered books.
Do I feel any regret or sadness in letting them go? Not really.
Every time I look at my—frankly quite bare—bookcase, all I see are cherished books. Books I’ll read again and again. Books that are beautiful and loved.
And I see shelf-space. Space I’m saving for specific books I plan to invest in when my budget has room. Or for when I’ve saved up the money needed for the more expensive editions.
I prefer this view to shelves stuffed with books that mean nothing to me.
So, what do you think? Have I committed a book-lovers version of sacrilege, or do you also declutter your books?