A Book Culling & Giving Away Day…

I have procrastinated (and procrastinated) long enough since New Year and the book culling has finally started. Currently I have got as far as taking all the paperbacks I have yet to read out of the boxes they were dwelling in… And that is about it. However I am planning this is stages and before I get too overbooked in my brain, as it were, I am going to pop off shortly to the Post Office (which is also a book shop so I will have to be really restrained) and to pick up some groceries and come back refreshed and ready to toughen up and cull away. This is what will be greeting me when I return, each one is a pile of about fifteen/twenty books which I will sort through and see what stays and what goes…


Anyway, I also decided that today would be a day of culling from my TBR but nicely adding to yours. Please note I am not giving any of the books above away on this blog, lol. You see we still have three titles to read for Classically Challenged and as ‘Middlemarch’ looks like it might take three months to read alone I thought I would give each title away today at random points. All you will have to do is leave your name in the comments, no tricky questions or anything, I haven’t the headspace to think of any, I just have ‘cull, cull, cull’ whirling round my head. So look out for these posts later on today.

In the meantime, any tips for culling that you would like to share?


Filed under Random Savidgeness

38 responses to “A Book Culling & Giving Away Day…

  1. Adele Geras

    My tip for culling is: get rid of the book if you’re never likely to read it again and can’t immediately think of anyone to pass it on to whom you know. DO NOT get rid of stuff on your TBR that you’ve not read yet. Its time may come. I had some books by Cora Sandel on my TBR for years and years which turned out to be fantastic.

    • Adele! This is not what I wanted to hear! Hahaha. I am actually culling the books I haven’t read, which while may seem bonkers is in part because I just have too many ‘meh’ books I have received unsolicited and not really fancied but felt guilty about wanting to pass on. The guilt has turned into annoyance lol, so only the ‘meh’ are going… for now.

  2. Bec

    Hi Simon, What a great idea – i would be really interested… Not sure how I would get them, or where you are but I thought this would be a start 🙂 thanks Bec

    • I am not giving these away, sorry Beck for the misunderstanding. However there will be three posts going live at various points as the day goes on giving away some lovely Oxford University Press classics. So give those a whirl.

      • Bec

        I did get rather excited 🙂 i will keep a look out for the others – thank you. I really struggle with culling books (or anything for that matter!) and I can’t resist the charity shop racks to add to my over loaded shelves, so no decent tips from me…..
        Although, i work with 2ex-prison officers who have previously mentioned book donations. Also schools, colleges and pupil referral units. Anywhere where people can be encouraged to read – I work in education and reading can really change the lives of some young people.
        Good luck and thanks for the reply

  3. Like Adele, I’m ruthless when I’m really culling, which is about once a year in the springtime–just in time for the library book sale! I ask myself am I ever going to read this (sort of like when I’m going through my clothes to give away. Truly, am I EVER going to wear this?!) and in the box it goes. Summertime is the time for used book sales, so if I get rid of something, I know there are sales galore coming up! I have been more selective at sales in the past year or so, since space is becoming more and more limited (I really need a new bookshelf), I have to ask myself if I REALLY want that book! 🙂

  4. They look like good quality books so maybe there are some organisations , prisons nearby? nursing homes? you get my idea that would be happy to take some of them? I’m always giving books away. Or you could print up a card with…. being released into the wild inserted in each book…..and drive around and leave them in different places. Might as well really make it fun. I am always releasing books into the wild. Quietly left on a chair in a coffee shop or movie theatre, etc. Have fun

    • There is a small second hand bookshop and the library down the road which I donate equally too. I also have a mother and grandmother always willing for my cast offs 😉 I do like the idea of prisons though, I know The Reader Organisation have some link with prisons and book talks – I might contact them, thanks for the thought.

  5. My book discipline is terrible. I have no tips, just sympathy.

  6. The trouble with showing off a pile pre-cull is that you get people like me saying you can’t give away the books that they like. Don’t get rid of Wise Children! And if the pic wasn’t so fuzzy I’d be shouting about a lot more!

    • Can we just make that ‘the trouble with showing a pile of…’ rather than ‘showing off’? Ha! Thank you. I have no intention of loosing any of the top ones, I was just using those I know I will keep to cover up some more rather more embarrassing ones.

  7. I’m quite a soft hearted culler (due to having some large, deep shelves and a book hoarding family) but here’s my tips:
    1. If you’re not certain, give it to your family (then you can have it back at a later date)
    2. If you don’t recall how it got there, get rid of it.
    3. If you obtained the book while still a student (or other suitable long time period) and haven’t read it yet, let it go.
    4. If there’s a insanely long waiting list at the library, share good karma and donate your copy.
    5. Check if there’s a cause close to your heart that accepts books (e.g. hospital – check with particular sections that might have long waiting times / unexpected admissions, local nursing home, school etc) – if you feel passionate about the cause, you’re more likely to be ruthless.

    • I have copied, pasted and printed off your tips these will be very helpful, so thank you very much indeed. I also like the idea of having a cause to pass them onto – a very nice idea.

  8. I like the idea of giving some away to a local prison, an audience clamouring for something new.

  9. Shukriyya

    Stay strong at the post office, Simon! I don’t really have any culling tips except “Be ruthless!”, which doesn’t really help much…

    I really like Pam Travellin Penguin’s idea about releasing books into the wild. Seems like such a nice way to make a stranger happy. 🙂

    • I didn’t stay string Shukriyya, I came away with three books. One of which they wouldn’t even let me pay for because I donate books so often – they aren’t helping me with my habit are they? Ha.

      Only thing I don’t like about the wild is that someone might just bin the book.

  10. Sweet Fanny Adams

    I am the last one to give you advice – I buy more bookcases rather than cull. Last cull involved about 150 books to 4 charity shops about 3 years ago. In years to come I may end up like one of those hoarders who have to make a little passage way through walls of books to get in the house. Nice way to go though ha ha.

    • Sweet FA, you might have my favourite commenting pseudonym ever!

      Have you read Doctorow’s book Homer and Langley, that is an amazing book about real hoarders, would be ideal therapy to make you not quite become one of those people 😉

      • Sweet Fanny Adams

        Well, they say no good deed goes unpunished and in my attempt to assist you, you have added to my problem (well, not a problem just yet) of my mountainous books. On your recommendation, I checked out Doctorow and have just ordered Billy Bathgate online.
        Have never heard of Doctorow so am grateful for the heads up.
        I’m loving reading the suggestions from your fans here.
        Best wishes

      • Hahaha so sorry about that. I should read more Doctorow as I really enjoyed him when I read him a few years ago. I just have been distracted by other new shiny books.

        Fans is a little grand, I would say fellow readers.

  11. novelinsights

    Create 3 piles
    Books that make you go ‘meh’ – definitely go
    Books that make you go ‘hmm…’ – keep for a couple of days and then review
    Books that make you go ‘ooh’ – keep em!

    • This is my favourite idea of them all, and I am not just saying that as you are my BFF, Gavin spotted this and mentioned it on the Readers as he thought it was the best advice too. Thank you Polly Poo-Pants!

  12. Ceri Kay

    I am terrible at culling books but my husband is trying to get me to have a ‘one book in, two books out’ policy. It doesn’t work for me because I can’t bear to throw anything out unless I have read it and hated it. Good luck!

  13. Man, you have A LOT of books. Good luck with the whole culling thing. ::evil laugh::

  14. One thing that really helped me cull is to look up the ratngs on something like Amzon.com. I got rid of all the books that have 3 and 2 star ratings. That at least helped me decide which one ones to keep.

    • I don’t trust Amazon reviews at all Carole to be honest. Too many mean spirited reviews and authors negatively reviewing each others books on there for my liking. GoodReads however might be a possibility though reviews, says a man who puts his out there, are subjective and should be a guiding comment not a yay or nay.

  15. Wow…so many piles of books. I can’t really help with culling as I’m awful at it myself. The only ones I generally get rid of are books I’ve read and am pretty sure I won’t ever read again.

  16. Alas, I have no advice for you I’m afraid. I seem to never get rid of anything just move them from room to room.
    I do love your picture with all the beautiful books, and I wish I could peak just a little bit further down each pile!

  17. I love to give books away but then when I get a build up of to many, I like to donate them to the library, a local domestic abuse shelter, and a military non-profit organization that sends books to service members and their families. It’s the only way that I can stay organized! Happy New Year!

  18. mikewbn1

    Not so much a tip about the culling itself but what to do next…

    Join Bookcrossing.com – you register your book and receive a unique code, which you put in the front of the book on a sticker – then you leave it somewhere (café, park bench, train etc) and when someone finds it, if they log on with the code and you get a message and maybe a review! You can also search for books that have been ‘released’ in your area and try and find them.

    If you don’t want to abandon them in public places (it can feel a little dodgy) then you give to charity or friends but still with the code – known as a ‘controlled release’ (ooh-er) in the business!

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