Walking on Sunshine

Can Books Become Clutter?

I love my books.  I have four (or is it five?) bookcases in the house.  They are full.  I have boxes.  Lots of boxes.  And they are full.  I have books to read and books to keep and books to give away.  Do I have too many books?  Are they clutter?

Well, it’s all a question of perspectives, really.  I don’t generally keep books once they’ve been read so the majority of my collection is ‘Mount ToBeRead’.  I read in roughly the order in which the books arrive although I have been known to let a particularly intriguing volume skip the queue.  After reading, the book is either:

  1. A cat book and retained for reference.
  2. A religious book I want to study further – retained.
  3. Given away (via BookMooch).

Categories one and two are those I love and will use further and are, therefore, not clutter.  And the rest are just kept in a box for a little while until they find new readers.  So I don’t have a problem with hoarding books I’ve read but will never read again.

But now I come to my confession:

I currently have 346 books sitting on Mt TBR.  At one book a week, it will take me six and a half years to read my way through.  5 Minutes for Books suggests that one should set aside a shelf for TBRs and stop acquiring books when it is full.  I seem to have been absent the day this rule was taught.  Because I have 346 unread books.  And, to make matters worse, I’ve recently gone through them and gave away (unread) about another 300 so there’s no point (at present) in trying to weed them out further.

I keep getting more.  BookMooch releases the books I’ve read but this inevitably leads to me spending my points on new-to-me books.  And I have a wishlist.  And there’s the lending library.  And there are book blogs and friends’ recommendations.  And advertising.  I’m constantly adding to my wishlist and adding to Mt TBR.

The Open University course starts on the 3rd of October but, as you know, I have some of the materials so have begun just now.  Most likely this means I won’t meet my target of reading 100+ books in 2009.  Or, if I do, it’ll be because I’ve really dug into the academic texts.  And what of Mt TBR, which just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger?

I do know the solution.  I need to stop getting new books until the pile of books has diminished.  But the truth is that I really don’t want to.  I like seeing the Postman arrive with jiffy bags under his arm.  I like opening the parcels to see what he has brought.  I like the look and feel and smell of books.

I’ve stopped smoking.  I’m dieting.  I’m thinking about exercise.  Must I give up books as well?


Comments on: "Can Books Become Clutter?" (4)

  1. I love the idea of a “designated space” for things and when it outgrows that space, you have to stop. But if you have room for all of them, I guess it’s okay.

    And books are a MUCH better vice than some others — I agree!!

    • notjustlaura said:

      Hi Jennifer

      Designated space *is* a good idea. And I’m about to run out of available space so really must try and rein myself in. All things in moderation … I’ve never been good at that. But perhaps now is a good place to start 🙂


  2. Hmmm, maybe you can just limit the number of books you get each month. And once you hit your limit for the month you have to wait until the next month.

    I’m afraid to count the number of books in my MTB pile. I know I have one bookshelf full and then there is a bag of books and then…well you get the idea.

  3. Wow! Maybe you should give out library cards;)

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