As a book lover and someone who has dreamed of someday having my own library, I know that we all want something that looks a little like this:
What’s not to love? Of course I want to dedicate a room in my house to just books.
Yet recently, I found myself feeling overwhelmed by the amount of books that I owned and had not read. I had been so focused on accumulating that I had allowed my unread shelf to pile up until it was completely unmanageable. It caused me to stagnate, and when it came time to pick my new read, it was impossible to choose.
If you’re not the kind of person who gets stressed by unread books on their shelves, then go crazy, kid. Buy all the books you want. You are your own person and you are free to own all the books in the world and read them at your own pace. I envy you!
However, if you’re like me and feel the need to purge and start fresh, then this post is for you.
One of the first things that I did was purge the books that I had already read, but may not have liked very well. Personally, I threw out any book that I had given 3 stars or lower, but you can do it however you’d like! I found this to be a great starting point for me because it was good practice in letting go for a person who tends to hoard everything.
Next, I got rid of any books that I owned that I wasn’t interested in reading anymore or anytime soon. Maybe I was when I first bought it, but some time has passed and my interests have changed. So that book that’s been sitting on your shelf, collecting dust for 5 years? Chuck it. You don’t need that weight in your life.
I did this in waves, because I’d go through my books one time and find a few that I wanted to part with. Then I’d look through them again and find a few more. I did this 3-4 times until I felt satisfied that everything left on my shelf was either a book that I’d read or a book that I was definitely planning to read in the near future.
The most important thing to do is make rules for yourself so that this never happens again. You may say, “No, I’ll do better. I won’t buy as many books.” But old habits die hard, and soon you’ll be drowning in unread books again.
I have two guidelines for myself when it comes to buying books now: either I’ve already read it and I gave it 4 or 5 stars; or I haven’t read it, but it’s by an author that I have read and liked at least 75% of the time.
For example, I’m interested in reading Markus Zusak’s newest book, Bridge of Clay. I have read The Book Thief, which was amazing, and I Am the Messenger, which was not so much. Because I’ve had two different experiences with this author, I don’t want to take a chance and waste money on a book I may not enjoy.
For this reason, I’ve put Bridge of Clay on hold at my library. If I end up enjoying it, then I can purchase it and add it to my personal library. If I don’t, then no harm is done and no money is wasted.
I want a big library just as much as the next bookworm, but I want to fill it with books that I love. But, this is just the way that I do things; if you read strictly from the library, that’s absolutely fine and doesn’t make you any less of a bibliophile. If you buy all the books in the world, it doesn’t make you any more of one. We all love to read, and that’s all that matters in this community: not the size of your library or the amount of books you read.