The next step was to go through the fiction…again. Of the books that I had read how many did I like well enough to read again? Or read more than once every five years?
Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New World were must-haves in the 60’s and 70’s and I was shocked when I realized that I hadn’t actually read them in over thirty years. For thirty years they have sat on my shelves collecting dust, looking impressive, taking up space, and filling boxes on moving day. Perhaps it was time to set them free and send them back into the world to be enjoyed by someone else.
I also realized as I sorted through the fiction for the second time that during the initial purge some books had unconsciously received an “automatic” designation (like Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New World). I didn’t really think about each volume, they just automatically went into the save pile.
Continue to refine and define the criteria, including re-thinking all those books that have an “automatic” designation. My initial criterion was simple: would I read it again, but after the initial purge, I still had too many books. It wasn’t enough that I would read a book again, the question became how often would I read it. If I only read a book every 5 years (or every 30 years) perhaps it would be better to discard it and in five years, when I am ready to read it again, visit the local library.