This week on BTT

We’re moving in a couple weeks (the first time since I was 9 years old), and I’ve been going through my library of 3000+ books, choosing the books that I could bear to part with and NOT have to pack to move. Which made me wonder…

When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?

Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)

And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore?  SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?

I absolutely LOVE getting rid of books.  LOVE IT.  YES I DO.  It is so cleansing and nice, and when I have done it, I feel lighter all over and full of rejoicing.

I bet you thought that I was going to say just kidding in this paragraph but I’m not.  I truly truly love getting rid of books.  If I get rid of a book, that means I have space on my shelf for another, more desirable book.  Plus, if I can get rid of books I don’t really want or will never reread, that means that I am not a hoarder.  I am instead a book connoisseur with only the very best books in my library.

In the best case scenario, I list them on PaperbackSwap, causing rejoicing to the PBS member that gets a book for free, and rejoicing for me when I get a credit to get another book.  But I also like to donate them charitably to charity.  Depends what time of year it is.  If the book’s in truly terrible shape I do throw it away.  One of these days I’m going to buy a proper copy of Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown and get rid of the falling-apart one that I have, but it’s going to be a sad day.


28 thoughts on “This week on BTT

  1. I’m loving all the different answers to this prompt! You’re absolutely right–a book removed from the shelf provides space for another. BUT, I just can’t let go of the old ones. Might change once my family finally makes me pick up all those books I left behind once I left the nest!

    • My sister and I were at my parents’ house a few weeks ago, and she was saying, “Why do Mom and Dad have multiple copies of things?” or “Why does Daddy have THIS book?” and I kept saying that’s mine, that’s mine, that’s mine. She mocked me mercilessly and I gave in to peer pressure and brought allllll of my books back to my apartment. They sat around in bags looking forlorn until my father called the next week and said he’d found a free bookshelf for me. HOORAY. SHELF SPACE.

  2. I like weeding out my books, too! Though sometimes I go overboard and get rid of a book I wish I had kept and then I have to track another copy down. lol.

    Also! Yeah, no-one else wanted my copy of Lonely Werewolf Girl even though I waited about a million days for another taker, so if you want it for your sister still you can totally have it. 😀 Email me your address? (

    • I’ve done that before too! Especially with books I think I’ve outgrown, or books I didn’t love the first time I read them – I’ll go back and reread them later and find I have to have copies. It’s terrible.

      Oh, she’ll be thrilled! I just emailed you – thanks so much!

  3. “Book connoisseur” – I like that! I love your view on giving books away.

    I haven’t become too bad with hoarding yet. I get most of my books from the library, and then if I really really like something, I will go out and buy it. But books do seem to accumulate around here anyway.

    • I’m the same way, I rarely buy books I haven’t read already. I do not want to accumulate a lot of books I won’t want to read again. Ever since I had my first apartment, I’ve thought very much in terms of, How much do I want this book vs. How much of a pain is it going to be to put all these books in boxes & transport them next time I move?

  4. I have trouble getting rid of them. They are like old friends. Plus, it seems as soon as I get rid of one, I want to refer to it again! But you’re right: moving can change your attitude about your “old friends”!!!

  5. I always feel happy when I send out a book for PB Swap or Book Mooch, because I know it’s going to land in the hands of someone else who really wants to read it! Books I donate feel rather sad- will they find a reader, or just sit dusty on a shelf and finally discarded?

    • Oh, I know what you mean! Especially because I generally donate books to the university library’s book sale, and feel so sad when I see them there. All forlorn & unbought.

  6. Oh you are good. I know you are right. But I can’t let them go. So far I haven’t exhausted the walls or the carpentry inclinations of my husband, but both are running out…..

    • When I get my own permanent place, rather than an obviously temporary apartment, I know I’m going to buy a ridiculous number of books that I’ve put off getting. All the Betsy-Tacy books in matching editions, ditto Anne of Green Gables, the rest of Salman Rushdie’s books – lots of carpentry will have to go on then. 🙂

    • It’s because when we were little, my mother used to get us to clean up and get rid of anything we hadn’t used in a few years. She’d say “Free yourself!” and I guess all the brainwashing took. 😛

  7. Book connoisseur – love it!!!! Perfect description. I recently did a weeding of my books and didn’t find it as painful as I thought. Big perk is the open space just waiting to be filled!

  8. I absolutely MUST keep the books I enjoyed. But, I’ll also venture to keep a book that has a pretty/artistic cover, even though the story was not quite good (i.e. Mother Ocean, Daughter Sea by Diane Marcellas, which has a gorgeous dragon border around it). I actually never even knew that Paperback Swaps of any kind existed until I started reading people’s blogs. Otherwise, when I desperately want to clean out my bookshelves, I can’t find anyone who’ll take so many books (even the library, for pete’s sake, turned me down once because I had waaay too many books to give them). I have a motley assemblage of books in various conditions, some of them I’m strangely attached too even though they’re falling apart and I could just as easily get a new copy and get rid of the old. My copy of the Secret Garden is disintegrating, but I can’t bear to compost it/throw it out.

    • I have several books that are coming to pieces but can’t be got rid of because they’re ancient and beloved. And I won’t get rid of them – like my copy of Jane Eyre, the copy I first read Jane Eyre out of. I have a better copy now but I’m keeping the old one. Sentimental value!


    I am a book gourmand, a glutton. I have like, three copies of some books, because each edition is differently nifty.

  10. I actually like getting rid of books myself – as you say, it makes room for more, which is just a good thing.

    You own a copy of Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown? Wouldn’t be a hardcover one, would it? I love those books with every fiber of my 10 year old, inner-child-being.

    • Oh I wish it were hardcover. I love those books, and I have a special place in my heart for Betsy & Tacy Go Downtown. I love it how Betsy’s parents make Betsy her own special writing area with Uncle Keith’s old trunk. Wonderful.

  11. I’m a military brat, so I totally get the catharsis of getting rid of books! I happen to have three bookcases, so I can keep as many books as will fit on that, but no more. So I weed quite a bit!

  12. I get rid of the ones that I absolutely don’t like, the ones that I rate as “Toss” in reviews. I tend to keep books that are of literary artistry. Books that are just finished accumulate into a pile because they have to gravitate on me to see whether they are keepers.

    • I don’t always trust my first instinct with a book, even if I hate it. I usually hang on to it for a little while, and try at least one reread, before deciding to weed it.

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