Throwing away Books

 What a dreadful title for a writers’ blog! But wait - I’m only trying to release space for more books. As you know, a writer needs to read to improve their writing skill, so week-by-week I accumulate more and more reading matter.  I have a massive bookshelf in my kitchen which is double stacked. Every other room except the bathrooms have equally crowded bookshelves. It’s not a problem until I read something on my ever-growing to-be-read pile but have nowhere to put it.

Ok - I could buy more bookshelves but there are two problems there. The first is the lack of available wall space and the second is the knowledge that this large rambling ever-needy house is increasingly becoming too much for us. At some stage we’ve got to sort out our possessions and, with piles of books growing, it is time to begin.

I tried the other day. After many hours I’d found four to take to a charity shop, then realised I hadn’t read two of them. Is it permitted for a writer to throw away a book before he/she has read it? One I definitely wanted to read so it went on the to-be-read pile, which toppled to one side. I now have two such piles. On the table in the dining room (don’t worry, we have a huge table to eat from in the kitchen) the to-be-read or TOBERE piles sit alongside the I-should-have-made-notes-so-I’ll- go-through-it-again pile, ISHHAMANO; my started-or-nearly-finished pile, STORNF; my give-away-pile, GAPI; and my awaiting-reviews-pile, AWARE. Then I also have some books for reference, REFPI and to go on the coffee table when (if) I’ve returned the ones already there to the non-existent spaces in the bookshelves, COTA.

I’d like to pretend I have a system but alas, one book moves from one pile to the next, especially GAPI to TOBERE,  because I like to check that my gift will be acceptable. Or REFPI to TOBERE, or the obvious one, TOBERE to AWARE, and then I’ve forgotten which pile is which, so that’s confusing and I begin to read them again to establish their identity which takes time that could be used identifying some to throw away.

So what about that other book I hadn’t read which nearly went into another pile (CHASH)? Now this is a tricky one because it belongs to a friend who has asked me several times what I think of it. It’s by an extremely well-known author but I can’t get into it. I can’t really take that one to a charity shop.

Maybe I need a TRAG pile?

I reckon you can work out what that is (hint: follow the pattern used for COTA).

You may wonder how there were still two books to go. That was easy - I found I owned duplicate copies.

Annie Try writes Christian novels and YA fiction. She has also written psychology books and papers on working therapeutically with children, as Angela Hobday.


  1. A fun passage and a common writer's problem, Annie. I have to admit though that I got a bit lost with all the classifications!

  2. Is TRAG Try Again? You've got me thinking now!

  3. This is the best blog I've read in ages. I can identify with every part of it. Thank you for cheering up what is, otherwise, a miserable Wednesday in Dundee

  4. Haha. I can relate to this so much! I have found in recent years, due to eyesight issues I have to buy more books on kindle so I thought that might make it easier. It doesn't! There is a limit to the number of books my old kindle can take. Do I delete or buy a newer kindle? Oh dear...

  5. Thinking of showing this post to my husband, saying “see? I’m not the only one.” I sell a few on Zipfit, so fundraise for more!

  6. Yes! This! My piles are almost out of control and I have no real system. I still haven't put all the books that I took on holiday back in their shelves so now I have big Aldi bags as well as piles. glad it's not just me

  7. Oh this is brilliant and made me laugh a lot 🤣 This is why I switched to Kindle reading! No-one need ever know the terrible extent of my book habit!

  8. Hahahahahahaha
    At least your excuses list is well organized and labelled! Now to apply these principles to the clutter ...
    Making negative choices (what to throw out) is always soul destroying. Choose what to keep, knowing how much space you can give it. Once that space/bookcase/room is full (not double banked so you can't see what's at the back) the rest needs clearing out.
    Don't forget Book Aid (theology and education books), libraries including school libraries, and Barter Books in Alnwick - the most dangerous shop in the world - where they'll give you credit for your books to "spend" on other books! That's how I new-found one of my favourite novels to read again, but I gave the new copy to a friend after reading it.

  9. Whenever I hear about anyone's 'to be read' pile of books, I feel so sorry for those books, lying unopened and neglected. From the viewpoint of the publisher, okay, bought - doesn't matter if it never gets read. On the other hand, how do any of us feel, when someone tells us 'I bought your book!' but on enquiring whether they enjoyed it says, a year or so later, ,"Oh, it's on my pile of TBRs..."!


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