I Need Your Help…

The move is officially driving me mad, I am sorry I promise I will stop moaning about this soon, well by Friday I have to be in finally and everything done and dusted . I know some of you are thinking ‘where are the book reviews’ but who really can read surrounded by two flats worth of mid-move chaos, I know I can’t. Which is especially unfortunate as John Harwood’s ‘The Seance’ is proving gripping and all I want to do is curl up with it and devour it in one sitting.

Anyway, why do I need your help. Well last night I sat down to do a ‘great book sort’. This involves getting all of the books I own out, apart from the ones on my old shelves, and updating my excel spreadsheet (it’s geeky but without it I wouldn’t have a clue where any ofmy books are, I am unashamed) so I got through three boxes worth and was feeling really proud how my new organising system (more on that in a moment) was shaping up… when my computer crashed. I think half of London might have heard the wail I let out. 1,300 books is not easy to organise and now I am back at square one, only the spreadsheet doesnt match the boxes so it looks like an evening wasted and one more soon to be.

However thats not strictly true. Thanks to having the new excess shelves in the bedroom I am sorting a new way of organising my books so certrain shelves hold sertain gems. Like for instance my new shelves which are for ‘Just In- Hardbacks’ as they arrive through the letter box (some of thses are oldish but the system needs fine tuning)

New & Newish Hardbacks

Or the ‘Biography’ shelf at the top with a shared ‘Big Reads’ and ‘Quick Reads’ shelf underneath it.

Biogs, Big Books and Short Books

I am planning a ‘Man Booker Unread’ shelf, a ‘Just in – Paperback’ shelf and a ‘Daphne To Be Read’ shelf. Does anyone else do this, or do you just have piles of books here there and everywhere? I would love to know what all of your shelves and TBR’s look like and what systems you use, do let me know I might be further inspired.

So back to your help. I have been very strict with myself and am creating a large ‘not sure will ever read pile’ – you know books you have bought at the time etc and actually just have forgotten you own. Anyway I have the list and wondered if you think I MUST read any I am considering getting rid off…


This Book Will Save Your Life A. M. Holmes
Portuguese Irregular Verbs Alexander McCall Smith
The Finer Points Of Sausage Dogs Alexander McCall Smith
The Book With No Name Anonymous
Cold Mountain Charles Frazier
The Unburied Charles Palliser
Shadowmancer G. P. Taylor
Wormwood G. P. Taylor
Blood In The Water Gillian Galbraith
Working Stiff Grant Stoddard
Something To Tell You Hanif Kureshi
The Shakespeare Secret J.L. Carrell
The Last Witchfinder James Morrow
A Gathering Light Jennifer Donnelly
The Keep Jennifer Egan
Heart Shaped Box Joe Hill
Fangland John Marks
So He Takes The Dog Jonathan Buckley
Boy A Jonathan Trigell
How To Talk To A Widower Jonathan Tropper
The Brief History Of The Dead Kevin Brockmeier
The Memory Keepers Daughter Kim Edwards
The Ninth Stone Kylie Fitzpatrick
The Last Pleasure Garden Lee Jackson
Set In Stone Linda Newberry
Blink Malcolm Gladwell
How I Paid For College Marc Acito
The Celeb Diaries Mark Frith
Down To A Sunless Sea Mathias B. Freese
The Dead Fathers Club Matt Haig
The Cairo Diary Maxim Chattam
The History Of Love Nicole Krauss
Wild Mary Patrick Marnham
The Zahir Paulo Coelho
Sabbaths Theatre Philip Roth
A Factory Of Cunning Philippa Stockley
Lorna Doone R. D. Blackmore
Feather Man Rhyll McMaster
The Ghost Robert Harris
My Booky Wook Russell Brand
Mothernight Sarah Stovell
The London Eye Mystery Siobhan Dowd
Blaze Stephen King
The Raw Shark Texts Steven Hall
In The Cut Susanna Moore
A Darker Domain Val McDermid
Sarah J T Leroy

Do let me know. The question is what to do with theones I don’t want anymore, and also the pile of duplicate copies of books I have (a shocking amount), I am thinking of selling the ‘as new ones’ and then seeing what family want before heading to the charity shops. What do you all do with yours?


Filed under Book Thoughts

37 responses to “I Need Your Help…

  1. jo

    I don’t think there’s any from that list that I would reccomend as ‘must reads’. I just enjoyed The Philosophers Apprentice by James Morrow so maybe The Last Witchfinder is worth a read?
    But I will say that The Shakespeare Secret is probably the silliest book I’ve ever read. Promising start but just too far fetched for me!

  2. I enjoyed The Keep very much, but was it a 5 star? Probably not. I’d rate that one a 3.5 or a 4. I also have Cold Mountain on my shelves, and though I’ve heard it is a must-read, I’ve also heard it isn’t easy to get through. Oh, and if you decide you don’t want My Booky Wook, I’ll take it. I’ve got a very strange fascination/attraction with that man.

    I have no organization whatsoever, except that I have the ones that I REALLY want to read soon at the top. Otherwise, they are stacked all over the place. Maybe someday, if I can get up the energy to get rid of my big Accounting books, I’ll have more room and I can get it in order!

  3. Your list of books that you might get rid of is very similar to mine! I have about half of your list in my house waiting to be read too! I’ll be interested to see if anyone recommends any of them.

    I am interested in The Book with no Name, but don’t know if it is actually any good.

    I found This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Holmes very good (4/5) it was very different and quite funny, but not sure it is your sort of thing.

    I love Malcolm Gladwell books, but again – do you like that sort of scientific analysis of the world?

    I thought The Ghost was rubbish, but I’m not a fan of political satire.

    I think that’s all the ones I’ve read. I sell all the books which are worth more than £2 on Amazon and give the rest to charity. Good luck with your book sorting!

    • I might try This Book Will Save Your Life now just to test myself and I like some humour in a book. The Boko With No name is leaving me cold at the moment, I dont know why. Have had it on my TBR for years.

      I may start selling the really good nick ones on Amazon… but I must not spend the money on more books!

      • Be very careful about the postage cost of the books before selling them. I wouldn’t have though that many of those books would sell for much on Amazon and without a seller subsrciption+bulk postage discount you could make a loss on anything that won’t go as large letter (less than 2cm thick). Try selling the thin ones first and see if you find it worth your time. If you need any more help – just ask! Good luck!

  4. NOOOOOOOOO!! DO NOT THROW OUT THE HISTORY OF LOVE BY NICOLE KRAUSS!! And I’m partial to Roth, so not that either. The rest I haven’t read and are not on my tbr so those are okay to get rid of. 😀

    My way of organization is always alphabetical by author, read and unread. Just because it’s easier to organize that way.

    The books I don’t want to keep I list on bookmooch or donate to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Or give to friends who want them.

    Good luck with your 1300 books!

    • That was a definate don’t get rid of there Claire! So on your advice alone I wont (I have a feeling none of these are going anywhere lol) I have unread well away from read books thats imperitive.

      Thansk for the luck, I need it.

  5. I reviewed Memory Keeper’s Daughter and didn’t like it very much because I found it too implausible.

    I’ve also heard Cold Mountain is good, but I’ve not read it. I don’t know much about the rest of the list.

    Have you considered alphabetical order? Or genre? The Dewey Decimal System? Tell me you at least separate fiction from nonfiction!

    • Both of those books I feel very ‘meh’ about. The Memory Keeprs Daughter suffered from too much hype for me without having even read a page so far!

      I ahve my read books in alphabetical order but they sadly arent the issue, its the unreads. I try and do it so I read big, small, biog, big, small biog lol.

  6. Harriet

    My books are just in piles everywhere. I too am about to move house so I do sympathise. I quite liked the Memory Keepers Daughter but nothing here is unmissable in my opinion.

  7. Luce

    DEFINITELY keep:

    Sabbath’s Theatre
    A Gathering Light and
    Boy A (really excellent)


  8. PS. Is your copy of Shadowmancer a first edition? It is worth checking – Shadowmancer is a paperback original (no hardback was produced) and the first edition is worth a bit of money, but most people don’t know that!

  9. Sarah

    I’d keep (and read) Cold Mountain and The History Of Love- both were worth the hype!

    • Cold Mountain might just leave me with Nicole Kidman etc in my head which though the film wasnt bad could ruin it for me. History of Love seems to have a lot of love for it!

  10. I would recommend giving A Gathering Light another go, especially on a rainy or murky day, when you have nothing else planned.

    Also, I second the motion to keep The History of Love.

    I want to read Heart Shaped Box. Have you managed an attempt?

    When I sell books I do so on ebay. I would suggest taking a big bag of books to a nearby (and reputable) secondhand bookshop and asking them how much they’ll give you for the lot.

    I have no system when it comes to shelving books, really. All books by the same author are together, some having their own shelf. I also have shelves by some publishers – Penguin and Virago. I also have a white shelf, like The Beatles’ White Album. My TBR pile is literally a pile. I like the idea of a Man Booker unread shelf.

    • Heart Shaped Box I havent tried but think I propbably should before I decide to let it go wandering into the wilderness. It’s meant to be very good and he is the son of horror legend.

      I did colour code my shelves once which looked stunning but wasnt very practical!

  11. CarolineC

    A Gathering Light is good so I hope you give that one another go. Boy A is also overy good and won last years World Book Day – The Book to talk about. Lorna Doone is a lovely story but I have only managed that on audio so far, if it’s a nice harback copy I would keep it. I do this with my books every so often, sort them and put some in the loft for a bit and then usually send them them off to the charity shop or swap. Good Luck

    • Ok, I shall officially give A Gathering Light another go after I move as people seem to have really loved that book! I think I saw some of the Channel 4 thing of Boy A and it looked a bit harrowing, though a harrowing read can be very life afirming.

  12. Book Psmith

    Moving completed affected my reading last month. I only read four books compared to my usual 10. It will pass, I promise, and the excitement of returning to your stack of books all but makes up for the frustration.
    As far as organizing my books once we were settled, I had a lot of shelf space due to donations I made before the move. I organized by books according to author and/or genre and keep the unreads in the proper category but keep a hodge podge of up-next reads on my nightstand. I have not read any of the books on your list, so I cannot fairly say whether to keep or give away. I think you have the order right…sell what you can, offer to the family, then donate.

    • Oh dont I havent read anything much the last week and with ‘The Seance’ being so so so brilliant when I do sit and read it its making my life a bit of a nightmare. I might give myself a night off this week.

  13. lena

    How can you get rid of My Booky Wook? Russell Brand is only god’s greatest gift to mankind! That has to be on your tbr shelf. 🙂

    As for what I do with excess books. I play matchmaker between the book and the person. I try to gift them to people, randomly. I’ve only been wrong a few times about a book and a person. The ones that have no pair, I set free online with giveaways. I feel weird selling my books. Which is probably a feeling I alone feel. Giving them away feels more natural.

    Seeing as how many you have that you may potentially be able to sell off though. I bet you could make a right fortune!

  14. You are very organised! All my books are in odd piles — in two different rooms, plus about 100 in storage. I don’t know if I am coming or going half the time. I really do need to sort them out. I do, however, keep my review copies separate from the books I’ve bought myself.

    I’ve not read any of the books in your list, but Feather Man is supposed to be very good. (The author’s Australian.)

    I used to sell books on Amazon marketplace and I found it very profitable — over a couple of years, sending out a couple of books a month, I made enough to buy a nice leather sofabed! I don’t do it any more though; I simply don’t have the patience.

    I then started to offload my books on bookmooch.com but I’ve since cancelled my membership because I wasnt actually getting rid of books, I was mooching them off everyone else! Now I give my books away — usually to the Oxfam shop or my sister.

    • Oh I like the idea of the leather sofa Kim, I could very much do with some more furniture for the new flat! I remember there being a bit of a blog-natter/hype about feather man hence why when I saw one for 50p I picked it up, just havent read it.

      I never did bookmooch but I did do readitswapit which did mean I swapped some duds for some superb reads. However like you say it never makes the number of books go down.

  15. I back up everyone who has suggested you keep A Gathering Light. You must also read the McCall Smiths – they are an utterly hilarious send-up of ze German professor.

  16. fleurfisher

    Boy A and A Gathering Light are definitely worth a try, but I’d happily ditch McCall Smith. G P Taylor, Blackmoore, Kureshi, Tropper, Edwards and Moore.

    Have you ever tried ReadItSwapit I wonder? I’ve manged to swap some emininently disposable books for some real gems, and if you don’t manage to swap it costs you nothing but a little time.

    My shelving is completely random but everything is tagged with its location in LibraryThing. It wouldn’t suit eveyton but it works for me!

    • I did try readitswapit and in some ways it was brilliant! However your book piles never lessen and I had a few experiences of sending books and getting none back!

  17. Moo

    I purchased The Brief History of the Dead because it was partially set in Antarctica but I really enjoyed its concept of the city of the dead, their connection with the living and the role memory plays. It is a quick playful read which I enjoyed.

  18. I totally agree with Claire on The History of Love!! Claire recommended it to me and I absolutely loved it. You HAVE to keep it!!
    Turning to ones to get rid of – I know lots of people rave about this book, The Memory Keepers Daughter but I could not stand it – didn’t even get to page 100!

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