Shelf Life #7

Photo by LAUREN GRAY on Unsplash

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?
  • Was this book given to me as a present?
  • 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:

Inscribed June 2016
Reviewed on this blog June 17, 2016
I enjoyed the Titanic elements, but found Bainbridge's writing cold. Very, very cold.
Absolutely nothing about this book has stayed in my memory.
I'm still keen to read more Titanic stories, but not so keen to read more Bainbridge.
In an interview she suggests that readers should read her books at least three times to fully appreciate them (which is why I've hung onto the book for five years).
Sorry, Beryl, no more. It's time to sick or swim!
Inscribed 14 July 2005
One of the first books I purchased from the bookshop that was to become my workplace three years later.
Reread in Oct 2016, to participate in a readalong, having completely forgotten everything about it.
It was only when I came across a passage I had marked during my first read, that I realised I was rereading.
This book has already had two attempts to woo me over.
It failed both times.
I received a lovely hardcover uncorrected proof of Eyrie in 2013, just before publication date on the 14th Oct.
I reviewed it on the 10th November 2013.
I found it uninspiring and a bit of a muddle.
In fact I was completely underwhelmed.
The only positives were some of the descriptions of WA scenery.
I've kept it so long because it is a beautiful hardcover edition.
I realise that I have been disappointed by Winton more often than I have been amazed.
Time to pass it onto a friend who is a bigger Winton fan than I.

Block Editor Update:

  • For those of you who have an interest in the new WP Block Editor, please note that for this post I used the image block followed by the verse block.
  • For Shelf Life #6, I tried using the media & text block. I like the idea of this block, but think it works best with only a small amount of text alongside the image. Shelf Life #6 ended up being too cramped. I may go back and edit it, as it is bugging me.
  • I also used a Reusable Block for the image, first two paragraphs and the list.
  • Your Block Editor thoughts welcome.

Now, back to the books!

Have you read any of these books? Should they stay or should they go?

7 thoughts on “Shelf Life #7

  1. I haven’t read Every Man for Himself or Eyrie, so I can’t comment on those. But I have read Amsterdam and I can’t remember anything about it – it’s made no lasting impression, not like Enduring Love and Atonement, both of which I loved. I still have my copy and now I’m wondering whether I should let it go too … I don’t even remember the walk in the Lake District you mention in your review. So maybe I’ll re-read it first before deciding.


    1. I had cause to remember the creepy Lakes District walk when I read Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir I Am, I Am, I Am. One of her near-death experiences also featured a walk in the Lakes District and a creepy encounter with another hiker. It made me wonder if McEwan and O’Farrell had almost been the victim of the same rapist/murderer?


  2. Oh, we’re going to have to agree to disagree over both Amsterdam (an amazingly funny farce about print journalism) and Eyrie (a brilliant commentary on all the things about complacent Australians who have no idea how good they’ve got it).


  3. I don’t get McEwan, who seems overrated. But then I generally disagree with prize judges, so perhaps it’s just me. I thought Eyrie was an interesting book (I own a flat in that tower) with a ridiculous ending (and which betrayed Winton’s envy of tradies earning more than he does).


    1. I’ve only really liked two McEwan books – the rest have left me scratching my head, like you, wondering what all the fuss is about.

      That must have been weird reading a book set in your own apartment block! Winton seems to specialise in ridiculous endings (thinking about Dirt Music in particular, which I did enjoy right up until the very end).


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