Over the past five or six years I have discarded probably 45 boxes of books, mostly fiction. I have found that I downsize in waves or rounds as tastes evolve, spaces change, priorities shift, and I move more and more towards an uncluttered, streamlined look. Each time I downsize, the criteria are refined and more precisely defined.
It is finally coming down to this…I read myself to sleep every night; have done so since I was ten. Each evening when it’s time to think about sleep there’s a slight feeling of dread that is probably common for most insomniacs. Will I actually sleep or will I toss and turn, tired but unable to fall asleep. Then I consider the book I’m currently reading. Do I look forward to climbing into bed and returning to the book? If there’s a sense of anticipation, of pleasure, of knowing that even if I can’t sleep I will enjoy time spent with the book, then it’s definitely a keeper. The bottom line, the ultimate guideline—the definitive criterion–keep what you love–not what’s mildly entertaining, somewhat engaging, or slightly amusing.