Kondo suggests books are dealt with as a category of their own as many people hang on to every book they have ever read.
I remember in the 1970s and 1980s that all the erudite folk I knew had bookcases through out their homes. On the walls, going up the stairs, books in the toilet, books piled up by the bed. There was a fad for making bookshelves out of bricks stacked in piles with planks on top.
It was a way of showing you were knowledgable and wise. People came round and were impressed that you had read Proust, the Iliad and Gombrich on Art. You may also have read some good novels – Gormenghast, The Hobbit, Gunter Grasse, Jack Kerouac and Norman Mailer. An AJP Taylor History of the Second World War and a Readers’ Digest book of birds. An ostentatious Oxford English Dictionary in more than one Volume. A few well known kitchen-sink plays and Cider with Rosie. If one of your A levels had been a modern language you would have French books with their tasteful restrained covers. Lots of maps from your trips to Afghanistan and the Outer Hebrides. And a few outsize books with colourful plates by Hieronymous Bosch and Andy Warhol, on their sides.
If they are still there, according to Kondo, it is time to let them go. Let someone else have the fun of discovery.
I am not that person. Years ago I decided I was never going to read the books that had supported me as I grew up and learnt about the world. I passed them all on and reduced my book collection to a few paperbacks I would read on holiday. And I made a point of handing each paperback on to another person, once read. This meant I could give them pleasure and keep my home tidy at one and the same time. Then I got a Kindle and now on holiday I just take my small reader with several books on it and I find it very convenient and much easier and lighter to hold. It gives me great pleasure to carry it in the back pocket of my jeans.
However I do have a need for a few sewing books. Not many. Just a few to help me learn new skills – draping, pattern cutting, sewing techniques, fitting. I do use these books as reference, although a huge amount is available on the internet. I have maybe 20 or so. Last time I sewed (1980s) sewing was not such a popular hobby and I had dozens of really beautiful vintage sewing, drafting and fashion books, mostly acquired for a few pence in charity shops. I got rid of them years ago, but I have a hankering for these old books which are still more or less relevant. So I admit I am starting to collect a few old books, in a sense to replace a loved, lost item…
Anyway I tidied my books this weekend, and I am pleased with my achievement. You will see my wax pot is there too. It is not exactly the right place for it. But it is a perfect spot. One nice feature of my cupboard is that the shelves are movable so I can accommodate four sizes of books. Nearly all these books are second hand, or note books, some of which I covered myself. There is one novel I bought at a station on one of those annoying buy-three-for-the-price-of-two offers. I will read it when I have finished my current book (one of the others from that special offer).
These books sit above my computer at my desk. It makes them very convenient. And when I don’t want to consult them, I just shut the door.
Do you have a library, or a hoard of books? Cookery books? Poetry? Art exhibition books? Vintage books? Books with great bindings?