Monday, June 29, 2015

Cull your darlings

Pretty much all my life--even now--I wouldn't pass a bookstore without walking in. When I was in grad school, surrounded by books, I sometimes chose to reward myself with a quick trip to the bookstore--just to look.

Well, maybe not just to look. Over the years, I'd collected quite a few books. Too many books, really, especially when I was about to move from Chicago to San Angelo, TX. It was hard, but I had to let some books go, selling what I could to used bookstores (Myopic and Powells) and giving the rest to the library's charity used bookstore.

Then, when I was moving from San Angelo to Austin, I decided to do the same thing. (And I wrote about it.) And again, preparing for my upcoming move in Austin, I did the same thing.

I've found some good general guidelines for culling a book collection:

  • what books are you actually going to read?
  • what books are you actually going to read again?
  • what books would be a pain to find again?

I also took some time this weekend to actually run the numbers. Unfortunately, I wasn't keeping track of my collection before leaving Chicago, so I only have numbers for the two recent cullings:

  • Culled before moving to Austin: 179
  • Culled while in Austin: 55
  • Current collection: 129
No conclusions or metaphors or theories; I just wanted to record those numbers somewhere.

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