Shelf Life is a personal project to help me in my ongoing attempt to declutter my bookshelves. However it’s more than a Marie Condo of my books. It’s aim is to reflect, honour and let go as many books as possible. Mr Books and I may be on the move in the near future. Any such move would be a down-sizing one. The thought of packing up everything we currently own again, gives me the horrors. Therefore as time permits, I will reassess the many, many READ books stacked on my bookshelves. (The unread TBR pile is another story all together!)
The aim of Shelf Life is to let go those books that I know I will never read again and to give them a proper send off. My assessment criteria includes asking myself a few questions such as:
- 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?
- Does this book spark joy?
- Honestly, will I ever reread this book?
- Do I want to pack and unpack this book for one more move?
- If I were to let this book go, would I feel regret, remorse or relief?
The current contenders are:
True History of the Kelly Gang | Peter Carey
Purchased & read in February 2001, a year after it’s publication by University Queensland Press. Over the years, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Carey, but this was one of the loves. In fact it is the only Carey book I still have in my possession.
I remember enjoying his take on the Kelly story & appreciated all the research that had gone into it’s creation. Around the same time, I also read Robert Drewe’s 1991, Our Sunshine. They complimented each other well. Carey for the comprehensiveness of his undertaking & Drewe for his larrikin, boys own adventure style.
I particularly liked Kate Barry’s cover lithograph featuring the township of Benalla, Victoria, 1880.
But will I ever reread this?
I don’t think so.
Purchased from the second hand bookshop, The Book Lounge, in Port Douglas on the 23rd April 2014 during a post-Easter holiday break.
Sadly, it was one of the few Wharton’s that I failed to connect to. I loved the writing, but the characters left me cold. I didn’t care what happened to them. Maybe it was not a good choice for a holiday read?
The cover shows a detail of Jacques Joseph Tissot’s By the Window.
The Reef has survived one move, thanks to the sentimental feelings I have for Port Douglas and our many family holidays there.
I’m also a fan of the green spine Virago Modern Classics, which I discovered for the first time during my year of living in Highgate, London in 1991. There was a sweet little library just around the corner from where I was living & working as a nanny, that had an extensive range of the green spine VMC’s. In six months I made a sizeable dent on their collection!
However, sentiment will only get me so far.
It’s time to let The Reef go.
Read & thoroughly enjoyed in 2016, with every expectation that I would reread & dip in & out of this book periodically.
But I haven’t.
Not once, not even close.
Whenever I spotted it on the shelf, fond memories washed over me, but since then, I’ve tried to read Garner’s notebooks with little success. As time has gone by I’m less enamoured about the airing of private stories that involve other people.
So, no, I do not believe that I will dip into this collection again.
I’m simply happy to know that I enjoyed it the time. That is enough. This book has done it’s job.
Have you read any of these books? Should they stay or should they go?