Almost every book lover has to face a serious problem: to make room for all the books that we own! At the moment, I haven’t got enough space for more than two small bookcases, so I really can’t keep all the books that I read and buy. This wasn’t always the case, though. Not so long ago, I was able to keep all the books that I read, even the ones that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Not wanting to keep all the books that I read is not only a question of space, though. I really don’t feel that need anymore, since I now have various ways to keep track of both the books that I’ve already read and my thoughts on them (this blog, my Goodreads account, etc.).
Until recently, I’ve followed one straightforward rule when it came to decide which books to keep – if I rated them as either a 3, 4 or 5-stars read, they deserved a place on my bookshelves. But as I’ve been reading more books than ever before, I no longer have the space to keep all the books to which I awarded a positive rating. For a long time, I also kept various books that I had read as a teenager. But last year I donated the majority of them to my local library. The reason behind that decision was that I would never read them again.
To be honest, I haven’t reread a book in a really long time, but that doesn’t mean I won’t reread books in the future. Nevertheless, there are books that I’m pretty sure I will never reread, since I didn’t like them enough to want to delve into them again. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that those books are not only the ones that I read when I was much younger or that I gave 1 or 2 stars to, but also some of those which were 3-star reads.
So, from now on, my shelves will only comprise books that I consider to be worth of 4 or 5 stars, as well as some special 3-star reads. You may now be wondering what makes a book a special 3-star read. It has to fit in at least one of the following categories:
- books which are either part of a collection (for example, the Penguin English Library) or have a really beautiful cover;
- books which feature a character that I really loved;
- books structured in an unusual way or that focus on a through-provoking subject;
- books by an author whose other works I loved;
- and, finally, books that were almost 4-star reads.
After establishing these new guidelines, I took a few books from my shelves. I won’t keep, for example, My Golden Trades by Ivan Klíma, The Black Project by Gareth Brookes and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher. All of these I rated as 3 stars, but, for various reasons, I couldn’t identify nothing particularly special about them. On the other hand, I’m keeping The Power by Naomi Alderman and The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis, at least for now.
In the future, I may also take from my shelves a couple of books which I really liked, because I plan to replace them with different editions. There are some books that I read the translation in Portuguese but that I really want to read and own the original in English as well. I’m thinking about Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Atonement by Ian McEwan and 1984 by George Orwell. In case I need to make room for other books, I don’t see a reason to also keep the translations of those books.
Do you keep all the books that you read or just the ones you really enjoyed? Tell me in the comments!