This year, Beloved and I haven’t had an argument. Or rather, we haven’t had a specific argument – OK, not really an argument, more a discussion which has been known to get heated – that normally occurs around now. It’s known in our household as the Great Book Cull.
We love books but don’t have time to read as many of them as we’d like. We aim to read a book a week each, but normally fail. Fortunately our tastes coincide – we both primarily read SF – but not perfectly. As a result each year brings about fifty new books into our house which need to be properly shelved (as opposed to piled up on the TBR shelves). Shelved or – brace yourself – thrown out. Now ‘thrown out’ actually means given away, to friends or charity, but even so we are in a minority amongst our friends in that we do not keep every book we read. I understand people who build extensions for their libraries but we made do with four large bookshelves, double-stacked.
However, finite space + 50 new books a year = hard decisions. Some books we agree on at the time. ‘Have you read this?’ ‘Yeah it’s great.’ ‘Right, that’s a keeper.’ And on to the shelves it goes. Or: ‘I really didn’t get on with this.’ ‘Me neither.’ And to the Oxfam bookshop it goes. Anything else gets put on the ‘pending’ pile. In January or February, we go through the pile. And discussions ensue. Because no matter how much one of us loved a book, if the other one hated it/would never read it, do we really need to keep it? And how about those books we both liked but aren’t sure we’d want to read again?
Last year, even after the Great Book Cull, the shelves were full. And so we conceded defeat and bought another bookcase. This involved moving existing furniture and a trip to Ikea, both activities which hold no pleasure for us, but as a result we could unpack our groaning bookcases. And this year, able to see what’s what and with the illusion of space, we’ve shelved as we’ve gone along. So, no heated discussions necessary.
Oddly, all the shelves in the new bookcase now have something on them. I suspect the Book Cull will be back next year.