Culling a book collection

I recently read at Read in a Single Sitting the contemplation of book culling. I was about to respond to that post, but then decided that I would write the following post and then share the link. Crafty I know, but why type the details twice?

As I have allured to in recent weeks, we are having a change of direction. That change will undoubtedly mean that our belongings, those inherited and purchased will need to be seriously looked at. As we downsize and then potentially move overseas, even for part of a year we have to seriously look at our possessions.

For more than 25 years I had never culled a book. Then in 2005 I found Book Crossing and shared a few books using that medium, but I did not find that overly satisfying. I looked again at my book collection and divided the books into those I would keep and use – mainly non fiction, and those authors and fictional books that I would re-read.  The rest I have either sold via eBay or Amazon or given away to charity shops.

As I sit and write this I can see a rather full bookcase and I know if I strain my head and turn a bit I can see another 2. I can wander downstairs via the landing and will find another 3. Each one full of books. How can I part with any? Each one has a story to tell, not just the one within the covers, but also of how it came to live with me and be read and enjoyed.

Some of these books are genealogical, some are linked into part of my family and I would not be willing to part with them.  Hubby, although not a reader, has a rather substantial collection of fishing books and we have already agreed that they should be kept.

So, we have started in the reverse. Downsizing in the UK is not really a problem. We plan to sacrifice one of our spare rooms into an Office/ Study where we will house our books and my genealogical material. This house is 4 bedroom and if far too big for us!

Our overseas relocation is a slightly different story. At the point of shipment we will confirm together the amount of containers that will be paid for as part of that move. I am pondering on 3. There will be only a few electrical items taken – laptops, Christmas tree, I know, but I am the least festive person on the planet and I rather like our tree, so its relocating with us! The rest of our main electrical will not. The same goes for furniture nothing will be coming with us, apart from a couple of small pieces and the rest of the containers will be filled with our personal things – those inherited and photographs and books, and some inherited and special china.

On discussion with a friend, she advised me that I was cheating making the culling decision and perhaps she is right, but at this moment in time I don’t want to cull some of those books. So I shall at some point go back through the collection and have another clear through, but as my Grandmother always said “if in doubt, don’t do it” So I shall follow her advice and see where that leads us.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
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2 Responses to Culling a book collection

  1. Thank you! We have a bit of a while to go, but have to be organised – it reduces the stress!


  2. Good Luck with your move!


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