Book sorting: Purgatory category

It seems I’m in a constant state of book sorting, purging, cataloging. New books come into the house, and I have to find places to put them. There’s only so many times that problem can be solved by building another shelf — especially in a 700-square-foot house. Hence the constant ebb and flow.

Some books it’s relatively simple to know I want to keep them. I loved them, they’re now a part of who I am. Or they speak to me in some way, at least.

Others it’s a relatively simple decision to eliminate from my collection. I read them, they didn’t resonate — or maybe I even outright hated them. I used to have a tough time destashing (to borrow a fibery term) books I hadn’t read, but I’m getting better at that. If I’ve had them for several years and my interest in them has greatly waned, though, I’ve started to add them to the find-another-home-for stack.

Then there are the books I haven’t decided what to do with. Or I decided to get rid of them, but they sat around for a few weeks and I begin doubting that decision. At the moment I’ve got quite a few books in this category, my undecideds. I’ve started, in conversation with my husband, calling this state Purgatory. I can’t decide their fate, whether I’ll keep them or purge them. A big part of my Book Purgatory’s current population boom is a stack of books I started but didn’t finish. I was reading them in an extreme deadline situation, so they don’t quite qualify as books I felt weren’t worth finishing, but I also haven’t picked them up again in several months.

Do you have a Book Purgatory? What are your criteria for getting rid of books?

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9 responses to “Book sorting: Purgatory category

  1. I don’t really have a purgatory – it either goes or stays. Lately, a lot of books have been going. I just can’t bear to move all these boxes another time. Plus, if I’m not going to read them, someone should. It’s like finding a good home for a cute puppy – I can’t have 200 puppies, so they should go somewhere else.

    But I do know the pain and glory of purging. It’s a nice release but a little bitter, too.

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  3. Book purgatory…. that is fantastic… I laughed as soon as I seen that in my email.
    The books I read and LOVE LOVE LOVE stay in my library. Turns out… that is a lot of books that qualify. Those that I have read and are not keepers or the ones, like you said, I started and just didn’t have enough interest to finish, I put a shelf that is for giveaways. These books make up my “prize box” and I use that group for the Monday What Are You Reading winner, random monthly comment winners or any time I need to purge a few books.

  4. I guess my book purgatory is the stack I haven’t read yet. The ones that keep getting put off for other more interesting novels.

    Once I read the book, it’s gone. I don’t hold onto anything. Some books stick around longer than others, but eventually they all go. I’ll hold onto books that are getting turned into movies that I plan to see, just so I can reread them right before the movie comes out. But after the movie releases, sayonara to them.

    I hold onto the last book of a series until the next book comes out in case I need to refresh my memory.

    But I take pleasure in mailing off books to their new homes. It feels like decluttering. It’s even more sweet if the book I finish is one from the purgatory pile….one that’s just been hanging around looking at me for a couple of years.

  5. I’ve purged a lot of books lately from my “active” shelves and put them in boxes in the basement. These are books I know I won’t read anytime soon, but I can’t yet bear to get rid of them.

    I don’t keep that many books I’ve already read, unless I really loved it or it is dystopian lit.

  6. Book purgatory – love that term! I usually don’t have that problem, but I also don’t get rid of unread books, even if I’m not sure if I’ll ever read them – it makes me feel guilty! LOL Maybe I need to get better about that….

  7. I’m having a terrible time getting rid of books but like the purgatory method. I’m also trying to find audio versions at the library so I can get rid of my paper copies for some.

    Good luck!!

  8. After getting rid of hundreds of books when I moved, I just got a ton at ALA. It’s really terrible. How can there be so many appealing books in the world?

    I keep few books, generally ones I have a strong emotional connection to or books I think are good for reference. I do lost interest in unread books and those I can get rid of more easily.

  9. If I ranked a book a 3 I give it away, unless it is by an author I absolutely love. If it’s 3.5 or about I usually keep it, but sometimes not. So, there’s always a decision to be made. We have room for the books, but I buy so many that I feel like I need to purge more!

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