The Book Keeping Test
When I was a child I believed that all books had to be read to the end. I’m surprised that this determination to plough on with, say, ‘Travels on a Donkey’ didn’t put me off reading for life.
Now I keep a living library built on a one-out-one-in basis because I don’t have room for books that won’t be at least riffled through a second time. During Lockdown, though, I’ve raised my game, lowered my tolerance bar and begun serious binning (ie shipping out to charity shops), dumping anything that fails my Book Keeping Test.
The Six Question Book Keeping Test
- Is it treasurable?
- Will I go back to it?
- Does it make me interested in the subject/writer?
- Does it make me want to read sections aloud?
- Is there something that won’t let me say goodbye to it?
- Is it a guilty pleasure?
I have not regretted binning any of the books that were weeded out, although I prevaricate sometimes. For example, I have bought/binned ‘Shadow of the Wind’ three times and failed to finish it each time.
One caveat: I buy a lot of books on Kindle for the purposes of disposable reading. These are books I pick for life’s boring tasks, standing in queues, sitting in waiting rooms or dropping as I fall asleep on trains. And if I come across a gem I’ll also buy it in paperback. Kindle as a vetting system. I guess everyone has different criteria for the saving of books. What’s yours?
Pictured above, yet another peculiar little library in our flat, this one built into the end of a clothing cupboard.