I’m back this Friday participating in another Let’s Talk Bookish post! It was created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and co-hosted with Dani @ The Literary Lion. However, in April of 2022, Aria @ Book Nook Bits took over! For this week, our topic is: Unhauling Books, suggested by Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages!
Here’s this week’s prompts: How do you feel about unhauling books? Do you get rid of books often? Or do you hold on to every book you buy? How do you decide which books to get rid of? Are there any books you would never get rid of?
So, let’s dive a bit into my opinions on unhauling books, my decision process and my most recent unhaul!
My Opinion on Unhauling Books
So, based on the fact that I mentioned I did an unhaul recently, it is probably not a surprise that I am a proponent of unhauling books! It isn’t something I do often (usually once every few years or so). The “infrequency” of it is because it’s not something I used to ever need to do, since I didn’t always have a lot of books.
However, books are something that I’ve always “collected”. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. Books were always what filled up my wishlists for holidays and birthdays (still to, tbh). But, my parents couldn’t keep up with my reading, so I utilized the library a lot. That continued into college, when I didn’t have room in my dorm for many books (nor budget, as I was only making $60 every two weeks for three years).
It wasn’t until I got my own apartment and could buy my own bookshelves that I started actually buying books more “regularly”. However, many that I own are ones my parents have bought me over the years, gotten from secondhand bookstore or ARCs.*
*I recognize that ARCs are a privilege and not something everyone has access to. Same with bookstores, funds to buy them or hell, even libraries. As I detail numbers below, please know I share them for transparency sake and with this acknowledgement in mind. Thank you.
How do you decide?
I actually decided to do an unhaul last weekend, in prep for this post, believe it or not. Which was a great way to prepare for this post and also help me realize how I actually do decide what to keep and what to purge.
First, it’s deciding if I need a haul. Like I mentioned, this usually only happens every few years, especially since I’ve gotten pickier about what I buy and know my tastes better. In this most recent haul, the following factors helped me decide what to do keep and what to sell/donate:
- Bookshelf space: I currently own four and a half bookshelves and don’t have space to add more, unfortunately. I had books piled on top of books and it was becoming a bit overwhelming. So, even if this topic hadn’t come up, an unhaul was in my future.
- Interest in series/author: Some books, I bought or put on a wishlist because they sounded interesting at the time, but never ended up reading them. Others, like urban fantasy and YA, I grew out of and no longer really have any interest in.
- Read status: I am currently trying to read every book I own. Which, according to the spreadsheet, is currently 65% unread. That will go down a bit with this unhaul, which feels refreshing.
- Demographics: Like I discuss a little bit more below, growing up, I didn’t realize the breadth of books, authors and diversity I had access to, growing up in a small conservative town. Some authors just don’t live up to creating the diverse worlds and characters I now expect and want of my books.
Some recent unhaul stats
So, knowing all of that, in my latest adventure unhauling books, how did I do? Well, according to my spreadsheet (courtesy of Kal @ Reader Voracious), I owned 345 books at the start of the haul. They lived across four and a half bookshelves.
I ended up unhauling almost 70 books. Prolly a dozen were books I didn’t enjoy when I read them. A good handful of them were books I’d gotten a while ago with the intention of reading them, but never did. And now, with my goal to read every book I own, they felt like a chore, not an excitement.
Another good handful were by white male authors that I’d owned for a while (like George R.R. Martin) that just…don’t do it for me, anymore. I’d rather fill that shelf space with female, queer and BIPOC authors now, thanks. Not to say I still don’t own books by white male authors. But now, you gotta really stand out to take up that shelf space. Sorry not sorry.
So, that’s how I feel about unhauling books! Now it’s a matter of time to actually get the books donated (without buying more, let’s hope) and update my spreadsheet to match. Plus Goodreads and StoryGraph. All tasks for a different day, but I feel good about this unhaul. Plus, now I get to rearrange my shelves and perhaps utilize some of that free space to include some nerdy decor!
What about you? Do you like to collect books (/are able to, financially and logistically)? Do you ever find yourself with the desire or need to unhaul books? If you do, how do you decide? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and see if your process is similar or drastically different from my own!