Friday, 21 July 2017

Discussion: Unhauling Books

My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years and are moving into our first flat together in a matter of weeks. In the past, our respective book collections haven’t been a problem because we have both had multiple places to house them. But with the moving date looming, I’ve had to face the reality of how many books I own for the first time. Spoiler: it’s a lot.

My solution is to unhaul books, because I know for a fact that I have books on my shelves which I have no intention of reading, but it wasn’t until last week that I found out my boyfriend is very much against this.

Let me first explain my unhauling process:

  1. Is this a duplicate copy?

I don’t own many duplicate copies of a book unless I have it in multiple languages but occasionally 2 of the same book sneak onto my shelf. One such example is A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin: my boyfriend gave me the TV tie-in copy for a birthday, which I didn’t want to get rid of because it was a gift, but when I saw the cover that matched the rest of my collection in a charity shop I bought it. I recently sent the 2nd copy back to a charity shop because it’s such a big book and I don’t need two of them and my 1st copy means much more to me.

NB: the exception to this, of course, is Harry Potter. One day, I’ll probably have enough copies of the Philosopher’s Stone to dedicate an entire bookcase to them a.k.a. The Dream.

  1. Was it a gift?

I usually keep all books that were gifts (see above). Someone took the time to pick it out for me, so the least I can do is give it a home...unless it was really bad, in which case that home might be the nearest secondhand bookshop.

Not an unhaul stack, just a nice one

  1. Have you read it?

I tend to leave books alone that I’ve read unless I really didn't enjoy them. Books I haven’t read get put through the ringer a bit more.

I had a terrible habit when I was younger of buying books I thought I should read or - more accurately - buying books that fit with the person I wanted to be. I have some German classics on my shelves that have sat there for years because I hoped that one day I would be a person who could read and enjoy Goethe. I wanted to be the girl who was interested in Rainer Maria Rilke enough to read his diaries (I’m not). When it comes to these books that I actually have no interest in reading, I have no qualms getting rid.

This last one is the one that bugs my boyfriend most. He argues that the books are worth keeping on the shelves anyway because you might want to come back to at a later date. This is true of course, but my counter-argument is that if that time comes, I’ll just borrow it from the library. I would rather that my current bookshelves make me happy rather than fill me with disinterest.

What are your thoughts on this? What makes you unhaul a book? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy reading,