|Photo by LAUREN GRAY on Unsplash|
Shelf Life is a new personal meme to help me in my ongoing attempt to declutter my bookshelves.
The aim of Shelf Life is to let go those books that I have loved, but know I will never read again and give them a proper send off.
- Does this book spark joy?
- Honestly, will I ever reread this book?
- How and why did this book come to be on my bookshelf anyway?
- When and where did I read this book?
- What are my memories of this book?
- Is this book part of a series, a signed copy or a special edition?
- Do I want to pack and unpack this book one more time? Or several more times, during what’s left of my lifetime?
- If I were to let this book go, would I feel regret, remorse or relief?
The Winter Vault | Anne Michaels
- Inscribed 2nd Feb 2010.
- I adored Fugitive Pieces, Michaels’ 1997 award winning debut book, so I was curious to see what she could do as a follow up.
- Fugitive Pieces flowed like poetry, but The Winter Vault was much harder.
- The research showed and I could see the writer at work.
- Despite a number of connections – the name Avery, the setting of Aswan Dam, art, architecture and history – I never really fully engaged with the story.
- Fugitive Pieces will be staying with me, but The Winter Vault can now find a new home.
The Beginner’s Goodbye | Anne Tyler
- An ARC from April 2012, not inscribed.
- A heartbreakingly good story about learning to say goodbye to someone you love.
- A ghost story of sorts, that reduced me to tears at my local swimming pool, as I lay on my towel in the sun, drying off after doing laps.
- Trying not to imagine the pain I would feel if Mr Books should die first.
- A memorable read, but not a keeper.
Crossing to Safety | Wallace Stegner
- Inscribed Aug 2012.
- Came into my life thanks to the First Book Tuesday Book Club episode for this book, where all the presenters RAVED about it.
- I was impressed too, so much so, that I ordered in a copy of his Pulitzer prize winning book Angle of Repose to read too.
- At the time, Crossing to Safety was my favourite and I planned to give my copy of Angle of Repose away.
- Yet when it came time to let it go, I couldn’t. I still can’t. Mary Foote’s story haunts me to this day.
- However I am now ready for Crossing to Safety to go to a new home.
- I feel no need to revisit the lives of these two couples.
The Magnificent Ambersons | Booth Tarkington
- Inscribed 4th Nov 2011.
- Read for the very first Classic Club spin in 2013.
- A wonderful story, atmospheric, full of human drama.
- I loved researching this book for my post.
- I’m still waiting to read another book by Tarkington or to see a movie version of the book!
- But I don’t feel the need to ever reread it.
Possessing the Secret of Joy | Alice Walker
- Inscribed 10th Oct 1997, Sydney
- I had never heard of Alice Walker until I saw the movie of The Color Purple on TV in 1990.
- It sucked me in and spat me out a blubbering mess.
- Naturally I had to read the book not long afterwards.
- I was a blubbering mess by the end of the book too!
- Possessing the Secret of Joy didn’t have the same impact.
- It can go out into the world to find new readers.
The Reader | Bernhard Schlink
- 24th Aug 1998.
- Translated by Carol Brown Janeway.
- I remember being disturbed and moved by this story about memory, truth and atonement.
- It brings up grey, bleak, torturous feelings.
- It was one of the first books I read about the effects of WWII on the next generation of Germans, as they came to terms with what their parents and grandparents did and knew during the war.
- I couldn’t make myself watch the movie though and I’ve never tried to read any of Schlink’s other books.
- Once was enough.
What memories do they bring up for you?