Chuck 'Em!

By alison May 4, 2007 44 Comments 2 Min Read

Book

"I houseclean my books every Spring and throw out those I’m never going to read again like I throw out clothes I’m never going to wear again. It shocks everybody. My friends are peculiar about books. They read all the bestsellers, they get through them as fast as possible, I think they skip a lot. And they NEVER read anything a second time so they don’t remember a word of it a year later. But they are profoundly shocked to see me drop a book in the wastebasket or give it away. They way they look at it, you buy a book, you read it, you put it on a shelf, you never open it again for the rest of your life but YOU DON’T THROW IT OUT!  NOT IF IT HAS A HARD COVER ON IT! Why not?  I personally can’t think of anything less sancrosanct than a bad book or even a mediocre book."

Helene Hanff, letter to Frank Doel, 1952.

I knew it! I knew that that at some moment in history there must exist a person who held the same philosophy on books as I do. Give them away. Put them in the recycling box. Sell them on Ebay. But don’t stockpile them because I promise you there is no badge of honour for prolific reading, no judge or jury going to come knocking to see whether you have endured the latest "must read". Nothing. Just words that have mattered to you lining your veins. Sentences stored in your sub-conscience. And knowledge. Knowledge absorbed until it beomes a part of who we are. If you loved it, it is in you. If you didn’t you don’t have to keep dusting it.

So I am declaring a rubbish book amnesty. Go chuck ’em. Now.

Other Things To Do At BrocanteHome

44 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    As a Librarian I wholeheartedly agree…. just don't throw them… give 'em to charity shops… one man's muck and all that! Plus I love the book about the friendship between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel 64, Charing Cross Road… its lovely… I cried… buckets…. Good post!

  2. Sarah says:

    As a Librarian I wholeheartedly agree…. just don't throw them… give 'em to charity shops… one man's muck and all that! Plus I love the book about the friendship between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel 64, Charing Cross Road… its lovely… I cried… buckets…. Good post!

  3. Sarah says:

    As a Librarian I wholeheartedly agree…. just don't throw them… give 'em to charity shops… one man's muck and all that! Plus I love the book about the friendship between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel 64, Charing Cross Road… its lovely… I cried… buckets…. Good post!

  4. Nonnie says:

    I like it! Definitely agree in cleaing out books. I have a huge pile at home sitting waiting for me to get around to putting them on ebay. I very rarely read the latest big sellers, and I'm currently just reading an old favourite 'comfort book' for about the fifth time just because it's about Cornwall and romance in the War and is generally lovely to read.

  5. Nonnie says:

    I like it! Definitely agree in cleaing out books. I have a huge pile at home sitting waiting for me to get around to putting them on ebay. I very rarely read the latest big sellers, and I'm currently just reading an old favourite 'comfort book' for about the fifth time just because it's about Cornwall and romance in the War and is generally lovely to read.

  6. rapunzel says:

    I'm one of those folks who shudders at tossing books but understand the need to purge one's library now & then. I agree with Sarah; for the sake of the earth, please find a new home for your discarded books rather than adding them to the landfills.

  7. rapunzel says:

    I'm one of those folks who shudders at tossing books but understand the need to purge one's library now & then. I agree with Sarah; for the sake of the earth, please find a new home for your discarded books rather than adding them to the landfills.

  8. rapunzel says:

    I'm one of those folks who shudders at tossing books but understand the need to purge one's library now & then. I agree with Sarah; for the sake of the earth, please find a new home for your discarded books rather than adding them to the landfills.

  9. rapunzel says:

    I'm one of those folks who shudders at tossing books but understand the need to purge one's library now & then. I agree with Sarah; for the sake of the earth, please find a new home for your discarded books rather than adding them to the landfills.

  10. Terri says:

    I found a thing called bookmooch.com When I read a book I know I will never read again, I list it on book mooch and sooner or later someone else will want it. Sort of recycling for books!God bless.
    Terri

  11. Terri says:

    I found a thing called bookmooch.com When I read a book I know I will never read again, I list it on book mooch and sooner or later someone else will want it. Sort of recycling for books!
    God bless.
    Terri

  12. Angel Jem says:

    Keep the best, pass on the rest. There's a wonderful site called Green Metropolis in the UK where you can put all your old paperbacks up for sale at 2 or 3 pounds. Sales aren't guaranteed, but they do happen. I've taken to buying from them too (buying costs 70p more) as they have paperbacks that are older or out of print available sometimes. Or try bookcrossing, a site where you can register your book and set it free, then watch its progress through the world. Sort of asbo-chip tracking for your paper babies. But I still have too many, and still buy more!

  13. Angel Jem says:

    Keep the best, pass on the rest. There's a wonderful site called Green Metropolis in the UK where you can put all your old paperbacks up for sale at 2 or 3 pounds. Sales aren't guaranteed, but they do happen. I've taken to buying from them too (buying costs 70p more) as they have paperbacks that are older or out of print available sometimes. Or try bookcrossing, a site where you can register your book and set it free, then watch its progress through the world. Sort of asbo-chip tracking for your paper babies. But I still have too many, and still buy more!

  14. Angel Jem says:

    Keep the best, pass on the rest. There's a wonderful site called Green Metropolis in the UK where you can put all your old paperbacks up for sale at 2 or 3 pounds. Sales aren't guaranteed, but they do happen. I've taken to buying from them too (buying costs 70p more) as they have paperbacks that are older or out of print available sometimes. Or try bookcrossing, a site where you can register your book and set it free, then watch its progress through the world. Sort of asbo-chip tracking for your paper babies. But I still have too many, and still buy more!

  15. Angel Jem says:

    Keep the best, pass on the rest. There's a wonderful site called Green Metropolis in the UK where you can put all your old paperbacks up for sale at 2 or 3 pounds. Sales aren't guaranteed, but they do happen. I've taken to buying from them too (buying costs 70p more) as they have paperbacks that are older or out of print available sometimes. Or try bookcrossing, a site where you can register your book and set it free, then watch its progress through the world. Sort of asbo-chip tracking for your paper babies. But I still have too many, and still buy more!

  16. Nicole says:

    Nothing better than cleaning out a closet or a bookshelf on an annual basis! That sort of purge is the best sort. I donate my unwanted clothes and books. Used bookstores, charities and consignment shops are happy to have them. Sometimes I even make a few bucks and put it towards buying something new.

  17. Nicole says:

    Nothing better than cleaning out a closet or a bookshelf on an annual basis! That sort of purge is the best sort. I donate my unwanted clothes and books. Used bookstores, charities and consignment shops are happy to have them. Sometimes I even make a few bucks and put it towards buying something new.

  18. sisiggy says:

    Okay. That's two books in a row (actually one author and one book) I've always adored. So now the Universe requires I come out of lurkdome and let you know how much I've been enjoying your blog.There. I wrote it. The Universe is satisfied I think.

  19. sisiggy says:

    Okay. That's two books in a row (actually one author and one book) I've always adored. So now the Universe requires I come out of lurkdome and let you know how much I've been enjoying your blog.There. I wrote it. The Universe is satisfied I think.

  20. sisiggy says:

    Okay. That's two books in a row (actually one author and one book) I've always adored. So now the Universe requires I come out of lurkdome and let you know how much I've been enjoying your blog.
    There. I wrote it. The Universe is satisfied I think.

  21. sisiggy says:

    Okay. That's two books in a row (actually one author and one book) I've always adored. So now the Universe requires I come out of lurkdome and let you know how much I've been enjoying your blog.
    There. I wrote it. The Universe is satisfied I think.

  22. Holly says:

    I recently joined a site called Paperback swap and I love it. Now I can get new book for my old ones.

  23. Holly says:

    I recently joined a site called Paperback swap and I love it. Now I can get new book for my old ones.

  24. judy says:

    I.Cannot.
    Do.
    It.

  25. judy says:

    I.Cannot.
    Do.
    It.

  26. judy says:

    I.
    Cannot.
    Do.
    It.

  27. judy says:

    I.
    Cannot.
    Do.
    It.

  28. Heidi says:

    Oh dear, I agree, keep the clutter out of your home, but Ebay is a great way to de-clutter – or at least give the books to charity shops so that Ebayer sellers like myself can buy them!

  29. Heidi says:

    Oh dear, I agree, keep the clutter out of your home, but Ebay is a great way to de-clutter – or at least give the books to charity shops so that Ebayer sellers like myself can buy them!

  30. Bea says:

    But don't chuck out your "Miss May" book before we get a report on it!

  31. Bea says:

    But don't chuck out your "Miss May" book before we get a report on it!

  32. Bea says:

    But don't chuck out your "Miss May" book before we get a report on it!

  33. Bea says:

    But don't chuck out your "Miss May" book before we get a report on it!

  34. jennicakes says:

    Hear, hear! I have too many good books, including lots by people I know and adore, to muck up the shelves with anything that doesn't make me happy, or teach me something. believe in intellectual feng shui!

  35. jennicakes says:

    Hear, hear! I have too many good books, including lots by people I know and adore, to muck up the shelves with anything that doesn't make me happy, or teach me something. believe in intellectual feng shui!

  36. Jennifer says:

    A fun way to get rid of books and perform random acts of chance kindness is by leaving a book behind in favorite places with a http://www.bookcrossings.com label on it and tracking where your book goes,maybe even finding out if the finder enjoyed it. I've not done it yet, but I do have a few set aside to label and leave one day. I admit though, most of my books I can't part with, I go through them over and over and they make me feel good even if they are on the shelf waiting for someone to pick them up.

  37. Jennifer says:

    A fun way to get rid of books and perform random acts of chance kindness is by leaving a book behind in favorite places with a http://www.bookcrossings.com label on it and tracking where your book goes,maybe even finding out if the finder enjoyed it. I've not done it yet, but I do have a few set aside to label and leave one day. I admit though, most of my books I can't part with, I go through them over and over and they make me feel good even if they are on the shelf waiting for someone to pick them up.

  38. Jennifer says:

    A fun way to get rid of books and perform random acts of chance kindness is by leaving a book behind in favorite places with a http://www.bookcrossings.com label on it and tracking where your book goes,maybe even finding out if the finder enjoyed it. I've not done it yet, but I do have a few set aside to label and leave one day. I admit though, most of my books I can't part with, I go through them over and over and they make me feel good even if they are on the shelf waiting for someone to pick them up.

  39. Cin says:

    Heh! I recently read that quote and thought again what a wise lady Ms Hanff was. As for me, I set my books free and "into the wild" when I am done with them, or they are done with me.I'm doing my best to live only with what I love, and that includes books 🙂

  40. Cin says:

    Heh! I recently read that quote and thought again what a wise lady Ms Hanff was. As for me, I set my books free and "into the wild" when I am done with them, or they are done with me.I'm doing my best to live only with what I love, and that includes books 🙂

  41. Cin says:

    Heh! I recently read that quote and thought again what a wise lady Ms Hanff was. As for me, I set my books free and "into the wild" when I am done with them, or they are done with me.
    I'm doing my best to live only with what I love, and that includes books 🙂

  42. Hi! I do agree with you, and my whole family thinks that I am an culture-barbaric… As I have 4 little children, we own mostly childrens books, and those I read for them, or they read them selves. Children's books with sweet desings, that's my love. But I pass them over too.By the way, I love your site as I also AM vintage…
    Bye from mama lieveheersbeestje.

  43. Hi! I do agree with you, and my whole family thinks that I am an culture-barbaric… As I have 4 little children, we own mostly childrens books, and those I read for them, or they read them selves. Children's books with sweet desings, that's my love. But I pass them over too.
    By the way, I love your site as I also AM vintage…
    Bye from mama lieveheersbeestje.

  44. Hi! I do agree with you, and my whole family thinks that I am an culture-barbaric… As I have 4 little children, we own mostly childrens books, and those I read for them, or they read them selves. Children's books with sweet desings, that's my love. But I pass them over too.
    By the way, I love your site as I also AM vintage…
    Bye from mama lieveheersbeestje.

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