I have recently become obsessed with Marie Kondo (as it seems has everyone else) and recently began working through her recommended processes. For the most part I’ve found that it seems to work for me: taking out everything and only returning the things which provide “joy” is genuinely very cathartic. However I’ve now reached the Books category, and here is where Marie and I part ways. She claims that she keeps 30 books or less (although, granted, she isn’t demanding that everyone else does the same). As a community of book lovers I think we all seem to agree that this makes her some kind of soulless monster and it has seriously damaged her reputation as an innocuous de-cluttering guru.
Because here’s the thing: Books are not clutter. They are worlds; adventures; lifetimes full of emotional nourishment. They are tools which help us on our journeys to self-awareness. Besides that, they are just bloody good fun. Every book on my shelves provides joy, so good luck prying any of them out of my hands, but I’m certainly suspicious of someone who only finds joy in 30 books. I mean honestly, I’m decluttering to make room for MORE books!
Saying that, I’m a bibliophile and I can’t resist a book challenge so I’ve decided to play along. Grudgingly. So gun to my head, if I HAD to pick 30 books in hard copy and could no longer have any others (aside from the sneaky kindle which would obviously have all of the removed books stashed away electronically) what would they be?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
1984 by George Orwell
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
The Secret Island by Enid Blyton
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman
Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The collected works of Shakespeare (This may seem like a cheat, BUT it is a book that I own. One binding= one book!)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Eric by Terry Pratchett
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Carrie by Stephen King
Matilda by Roald Dahl
I know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Which Lie did I tell? By William Goldman
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Buddhism for beginners
Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu
A Million little pieces by James Frey
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Is there a large amount of Terry Pratchett on the list? Yes. To be honest you’re lucky the list didn’t just say “Discworld series”. And this was painful, but these are the books that I come back to again and again, or are so beautiful that I’d bite anyone that tried to remove them from my possession. What would be on your list? CAN you narrow it to 30 or do you struggle to make it up to 30? And what do you feel about the idea of decluttering books? Let me know what you think.
2 thoughts on “The Joy of Books”
I wouldn’t even try to narrow the list to 100. I tend to like authors who write well, and often. That means ‘sets’. Calvin Trillin, Pratchett, Lord of the Rings, Sue Grafton, Billy Collins, Poetry collections, books on English history, etc etc. Bradbury. Silly question. =)
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I know, it’s just impossible! And my TBR pile alone is nearly double that!!