Books To Read Before The World Ends… The Cull and ‘Books for the Bunker’ Begin

The world is meant to have ended a lot hasn’t it? First there was 1999, then again on the 6th of the 6th 2006, most recently there was all the fuss about ‘The Rapture’ which was supposed to see the end of days back in May, though apparently they are saying that it is now October, I didn’t realise the end of days had a fall back clause. The next time the world is set to end, according to the Mayans (whatever happened to them?), is on December the 21st 2012. You are probably either thinking I am a morbid so and so, or maybe asking what on earth it has to do with books, well it does… it could affect your TBR.

The subject of the apocalypse has come up on both ‘Books on the Night Stand’ and ‘The Book Show’ and I liked the idea of ‘what would you stop reading, and what would you just focus on reading instead, if you knew the world was going to end’ so I thought I would run with it a bit more, I think I ended up thinking it over a bit much. You see, how can you answer the question ‘what should I read before the world end’s’ when a) there is an infinite amount of books out there already and b) there will be many, many more by the end of next year. Instead I’ve decide to apply the idea of ‘time running out’, and let’s face it we don’t know what tomorrow holds let alone another 16 months hold. So I have decided to make myself a memorandum…

Savidge Reads Book Before The World Ends Manifesto
(Rather Tongue in Cheek)

  • If I am not enjoying a book by page 20 and I think the rest would be a struggle… bye, bye book. Off they go. The page 80 rule is also becoming the page 50 rule.
  • I will stop reading books because I feel I ‘have to’ or because everyone else is – true this is rare but it must be stopped altogether.
  • I will not feel pressured by unsolicited copies and will give them a fair chance but deal with them swiftly on arrival.
  • I will start to read books pre – 2010, I used to read lots more and that’s gone a bit awry with so many new lovely looking books coming in. Don’t forget the TBR that I came from.
  • Don’t forget my reading roots, why have I not been reading some of my favourite series and guilt-free guilty pleasure lately, what about all the authors I love who have been languishing in boxes, is that how you treat an author you love?
  • It is ok if I want to binge on one author, I’m allowed.
  • I don’t have to finish a book group book if I don’t like it, as long as I back up why I don’t like it and make people laugh at my reasons, rather than offend the chooser.
  • I will re-read books if I blooming well want to, I might revisit my favourite children’s books too.
  • Why save a book I am really excited about for a rainy day? It’s always raining in Manchester anyway.
  • Whims must rule above all else.
  • I must start ‘The Book Cull of the End of Reading Days’, or more simply ‘The Cull’, and stop hoarding books – other people, family, friends and charity shops could get more out of these books than me.

The latter one is the one I am focusing on first. I am going to be ruthless, and reporting back to prove it. I have also decided that I am going to start a series about my favourite books called ‘Books for the Bunker’ to be featured on and off on Savidge Reads in the lead up to December 2012. Who knew the apocalypse could be so freeing in many ways?

Have you an ‘end of days’ attitude towards books? Do you save books for a rainy day and think ‘but why do I wait’? Are you a hoarder, any tips to stop book hoarding getting to ridiculous proportions?  Which books would you turn to first before the apocalypse?

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34 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Books for the Bunker, Random Savidgeness

34 responses to “Books To Read Before The World Ends… The Cull and ‘Books for the Bunker’ Begin

  1. Jen

    I agree with your list! I just told my 10 year old son yesterday, if you don’t like the book by page 20, stop reading. =)

  2. A great set of reading rules! I’ve started to not push myself to finish book that I’m not enjoying, or indeed feel guilty about abandoning a book.

    Whether the world is going to end in 2012 or not, life is too short to waste time on books I’m not enjoying.

  3. I had a massive cull 2 weeks ago – I packed full four “bags for life” and off they went to 4 different charity shops. It took me months to get round to it (getting rid of books is not easy to do for a bibliophile) but it felt great to get then all out of my house.

    As for reading – yep, 20 pages is usually enough to know if it is for me or not (or for later, sometimes) and this year I have completely indulged in crime fiction because that is what I have fancied and not because I feel I have to. So there! 😉

  4. gaskella

    As you know from my own posts about managing my out of control TBR, I am trying all sorts of ways to reduce it – I’m succeeding little by little. I am a lot more ruthless about what I keep once read though.

    I love your rules, but I would find it impossible to give up on a book at page 20. Only recently have I allowed myself to give up on books at all – so I think you’re brave (not really the right word, but you know what I mean), to do that.

    I have a virtual waterproof big trunk for my desert island, similar to your bunker. The most important thing for that is that all the books have to bear up to re-reading time after time.

    • “Only recently have I allowed myself to give up on books at all”

      Wow! When I think of all the tedious “classics of European literature” I pushed myself to finish between the ages of 15 and ~ 30 I am amazed I didn’t give up on things I don’t enjoy much earlier!

    • Annabel, I really like your voting system idea I think that is great. I sadly just have to rid, I know I will regret giving some of them away but least I know its either for a good cause or my mother – she seems to love everything that I am not sure I will. She might even start doing some posts, one she has been raving and raving about. We will see.

      I think 50 pages might be more likely than 20, I think I was feeling particularily strict that day.

      I love your desert island, We Love This Book might have naughtily nabbed that… it wasnt me.

  5. The whims must rule above all else rule is GREAT!!

  6. EllenB

    The key to dealing with book hoarding is to move. I know you recently did move house, but I seem to recall that many of your books were already at your new location. We have been packing for over a month now to move. I also retired after 20 years i the book business. It is amazing how many superfluous books I have unearthed in our apartment, from Advance Reading Copies that are at least 10 years old and still unread, to mediocre childrens books that I somehow have acquired although my youngest child is over 30. The first sweep resulted in 26 cases of books picked up by the charity shop, the second sweep netted 12 more cases and finally, I am down to tossing about a dozen books per day into paper bags as I finish up the book packing. I tell you, its a relief. I feel as though I have lost 30 pounds!

    • Hahaha you are right, I moved from London to Manchester last year and culled about 1000 books, it was hard work but it had to be done, and you are right you feel so much better after. Slightly extreme thing to have to odo every few months though.

  7. Mel

    Wonderful list, especially the whim rule. Wouldn’t life be dull without them? And sometimes the best reading discoveries are made that way. I started reading China Mieville recently because I thought he looked interesting.

  8. As I grow older I’m also become more tough with my own rules. The one commitment that’s still a challenge is the re-reads. I want to do more and even have a mental list, but the TBR always seems to take priority. Have actually decided to introduce a quota for re-reads as of 2012 (probably 1 book every 2 months).

  9. You already know my answers I think! I don’t buy books any more so hoarding is not an issue. I stopped thinking “I must read xyz” by the time I was 30 (mor than 20 years ago). Borrowing books means you can give up by page 2 and not feel at all guilty! I don’t care if I read 50 novels a year or 5 and I certainly am not influenced much by what other people are reading. Please note that last sentence does NOT imply that I am not interested in what people read and what they think of the book.

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  11. Stopping a book before page 20 seems a little hasty? I have read some books that take a almost 50-100 pages to really get interesting, but then they are worth it in the end.

    Agree with all the other guidelines you have listed though 🙂

    • Yes I would agree with the hastiness, I think I was a bit tired and grumpy when that rule came into force, might have been a few dud submissions for The Green Carnation that set me off.

  12. I agree with most all of your guidelines. This year I decided that I’m not taking assignments, and I will read whatever appeals to me, no matter how light, and not worry about reading things because I feel I should. It is becoming a running joke in my book group that I don’t bother to finish a book if I’m not enjoying it. I am reading more than ever, even though my attention span seems shorter than ever. I abandon books easily, and have for years. I probably only finish 60 – 65% of the books I begin. I am baffled by people who say they must read a book to the end no matter what, and those I have talked to seem equally baffled that I don’t hesitate to give up on a book if it doesn’t appeal. I wonder where we get the idea that it is our duty to read certain things or finish books we’re not enjoying?

  13. I love your list. I’d love to do a cull, but don’t think I should until I get the rest of my books out of storage.

    You’ve also given me a great idea for my 5 Best Books feature. I’m always looking for topics 🙂

    • You see I am quite lucky Cassandra, my storage is the garage which is only at the end of the garden so I dont have to worry too much about a long traipse there and back.

      Glad I gave you some inspiration too.

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