Now that I am not buying books, I’m taking a good look at the books I’ve got and deciding which ones I really do want to read and which ones I’m going to get rid of. There are two categories that deserve special scrutiny: books from goody bags at conferences and books from charity shops.
It does go against the grain to discard books from goody bags. New books! Free! But what’s the point in keeping them if you don’t want to read them? Last year at Crimefest I was ruthless. I’d come by train and wasn’t going to carry books home unless I really wanted them. But there have been other times when I have just slung in a bag of books in the boot of the car. And all the books from charity shops that I’ve bought thinking I’d sample a new author. . . . decision time!
I have been sitting down with a pile of books and reading the first few chapters to decide what should go and what should stay. These are some of the things that send a book to the discard pile:
- It’s badly written. Even best-sellers can be written in clunky prose studded with clichés.
- There’s someone being horribly tortured or mutilated.
- The police officer/medical examiner/lawyer behaves foolishly or unprofessionally from the off. I especially hate it when it’s a woman.
I won’t name names. Let’s just say that the local charity shop is doing well out of me and my shelves are looking neater.