It was time to sort the books.
Disposing of books is a bit of a sore point with most writers - I'm aware of this and know the heart wrenching tug of letting a book go to find another life. It is like giving away your children.
I'll admit to not starting this process as described by Marie Kondo with the same fervor as I did with the clothes. I needed a bit more time to prepare and think about this. I also wanted to look at my relationship with the books I'd be giving away.
I have four bookcases in the flat. Two large ones and one half size one in the lounge room and one in the spare bedroom. The one in the spare bedroom contained a lot of spiritual and healing books that I've accumulated over the years. The latter was the first to be cleared. Oh yes, I also had two metre high stacks of books on the lounge room floor - there was nowhere to put them.
Hopping online to a spiritual group to which I belong, I sent out the message: free to a good homeif you pay the postage message, listing the books and their titles. A lot of books about modern day witchcraft, healing, tarot and astrology. These books had new homes by the end of the day. Most of them were posted by the end of the following day, thanks to the funds transfer capabilities of PayPal.
Thursday came. Book Day proper.
The first job was to take every book off the shelves and in the flat and put them in one place. THe lounge floor was filled to bursting.
So that was done.
The next job was to wash the dust off of all the shelves. That always feels good.
Next, pick up every book and consider - does it spark joy?
It was an interesting exercise.
Of course, the Harry Potters, Lemony Snickets and Artemis Fowls and the Shakespeares stayed. My modern literature collection stayed - think McEwan, Rushdie, Atwood and the like. Some more interesting titled stayed. The unread pile, which Kondo condones, stayed, but are on prominent display on a high shelf - a reminder to get around to reading them.
Books which passed the joy test were re-shelved by size to help conserve space - this took a long time. There are also some like with like shelves, so the writer's reference books, the kid's books and the plays and poetry are all together.
By the end of the process I had around 100 books that did not pass the joy test. They also failed some other tests I put them up to like, "Why did I buy this in the first place? and "Why have I been carting this around for 20 years?" and "Yeah, nice gift, but.." and "I really didn't enjoy reading this the first time." (Strangely, Ulysses and Moby Dick have stayed... I know they will be good for me.)
Feeling bad about the though of dumping 100 books with the Salvos, once again I turned to social media. The message went out that I was giving away some books. A list could be provided of the books that were due for dumping - if anybody wanted them, speak up and arrange collection by Friday.
Thankfully, two thirds of the books have been re-homed.
I've also got a near empty book case in the spare room and all of the books now fit in the cases in the lounge - and they're all clean and tidy.
I'm really pleased.
And yes, that is a Shakespeare action figure on the reference shelf. He has always sparked joy.