The four things that make me keep a book forever.

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, London


When we moved to London, we threw out SO MUCH STUFF. We thought we’d be moving into a pocket-sized apartment, and planned accordingly. It was hugely refreshing, and though we ended up moving somewhere way bigger than we had expected it made me determined to keep throwing things out.

I’m a natural hoarder, so this was a big step for me – and particularly when it comes to books. I have always had stuffed shelves, but I resolved that from now on, particularly since I get so many books these days, I will only keep them if they fulfil one of these particular criteria:

1. It’s crazy beautiful.

I’ve not got too many books that do this, but people have bought me special editions of things occasionally that are beautiful, and a joy to hold, read and look at. These books aren’t going anywhere.

2. It’s really rare.

One of the main thoughts that goes through a book-hoarder’s mind is what if I really want to read it again but I’ve given it away! But, really, most books can be found again in a library, or online, or on amazon. I’ve got a few books that this isn’t the case for (The Lone Pine Club series, anyone?) which I’m going to hold on to.  Some of these, too, might have inscriptions or have come from my Grandmother, etc.

3. It’s holding up our bed.

Our bed is terminally broken, but is held in place imperfectly by a few stacks of books. I don’t even remember what these are any more, but I’m pretty sure I could get rid of a whole load of them. One day when we move again…

4. I really, really love it.

This one is why a lot of my collection is books I read as a teenager, or were important to me at that time. And now there are books that I want to be able to read again, to lend out, to refer to when I want to. It’s quite a rare occurrence, for even books that I really like I’ll give away if I think someone else will too.

So this is why I’ll hopefully never end up in a house where one can’t move for books. Of course, it also means that if I end up with a mansion with a library I’ll have some work to do…

How do you decide whether to keep a book or not?

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5 thoughts on “The four things that make me keep a book forever.

  1. Hopefully books that conform to rule 3 do not also feature in rules 1,2 and 4???

    I have based my blog on being more aware of the books that I have trapped in my bookcase. I am working up to releasing many of them into the wild and hopefully hearing from them again once they’re out there?? I think that the books you keep have to be the ones that define you. I would add a sub-category to your list for “books signed by the author that you have met.” These are becoming a growing feature of my library, I joined a writing group and it is full of talent!

    Good luck with your purge

  2. Hahaha, I love the bed-criterium. Well done you for sorting out your books! This sounds like a good list. I should probably use it sometime, since my bookcupboard is beginning to look a bit overstuffed. I find it SO hard to throw out anything though :(.

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