Monday 24 September 2018
It’s the first day of school holidays and I’ve already completed a task on my to-do list. I’ve had a cull of things near and dear to me. It’s no secret that I love a good book . . . or hundreds. In fact, I love books so much that I had bookshelves full of them, a bookcase full of them, towers of books on top of the bookcase and the floor near the bookcase, and a stack of books right next to my bed in the waiting-to-be-read-next pile. I had more books than I knew what to do with. Yes, yes, I know, books are to be read; don’t be a smarter$e.
Anyway, today, after much deliberation, I grabbed a whole load of bags, packed up an absolute sh!tload of those books, and took them to a guy in town who sells second hand books. I parted with 15 large garbage bags of books. Yes, you read that correctly: 15 large garbage bags. 15. So, that puts me down to about 1/3 of my original collection of books. And just like that, suddenly I have a bit more room. I’ve got shelf space, bookcase space, and I’ve reclaimed a good portion of floor space. I knew I had a lot of books. I could see them, and I read the majority of them. But holy sh!tballs, now that they’re gone, I really had a lot of books!
I made some tough decisions about which books I was going to keep and which ones I was letting go. Much to my surprise, I let go of all of my Stephen King collection with the exception of On Writing because it’s a writer’s guide, and Pet Sematary because that was the very first Stephen King book I bought, and it’s still my favourite King work. But the rest of them, especially the newer ones that he wrote post-accident, well, to my mind, they just weren’t as good as the classic King novels. Let me backtrack slightly, when I wrote ‘Stephen King collection’, I mean I had almost every single Stephen King novel and short story written. I had every King pre-accident including those written as Richard Bachman, but stopped buying them around 2011 when the cr@p stuff started coming through.
I got rid of the majority of my true crime books. My shelves no longer look like they belong to a budding serial killer or mass murderer. I think I’ve indulged that side of me well enough over the years that I can afford to let go of those texts. I kept a couple of true crime texts – ones that cover police procedure more than psychoanalysis of the criminal. Definitely less creepy texts to have on my bookshelves.
I also got rid of some texts that I had when I was in high school over 20 years ago. Yes, that’s how much I don’t like letting go of books – I kept texts from when I was in Year 11 and 12. God, that looks worse now I’ve written it down than it sounded in my head. I’m a total book hoarder!! I did keep most of my university texts because they’re things like The Norton Anthology of Poetry and Stages of Drama and they’re books I can still use in my job now. I only kept the good ones though.
What else did you keep? I hear you ask. And that’s a very good question. Well, I kept my Jeffery Deaver novels – most of the ones that I owned. Okay, to be fair, I kept all of Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme novels, the Kathryn Dance novels, and three short story books (Twisted, More Twisted and Trouble in Mind). I kept my Kathryn Fox novels, my Michael Robothams, my David Walliams, all the Harry Potters, my books about Marilyn Monroe, and a small variety of others.
It was a highly cathartic experience to shed all of those books. I know that sounds like a weird thing to say, but I do feel like I’ve exorcised pieces of my past by getting rid of so many books. And the upside of this purge, this cull is that I’ve decided not to buy so many books again. I’m going to keep getting Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance novels because hey, Jeffery Deaver. Oh, hey, why am I trying to justify my future literary purchases to you? Shut up! You’re not my mother!
All that book culling has me inspired to cull other stuff . . . like all the DVDs I have. I’m thinking that they might be next on my to-do list. Oooh, it feels like I’m going to have a busy school holiday offloading some of the sh!t that I own. Incidentally, I do recommend going through your stuff and offloading or decluttering or whatever the hell those weird ar$e life coaches call it. Get on to it now . . . well, not now because you’re reading my blog . . . after you finish reading my blog. Yeah, get on to it then. 😉