Slowly but surely I am getting rid of my books. No more stacking them into bookshelves or piling them in corners or under desks. Once read, they go. Doesn't matter if they're signed first editions or the 'must have' YA of the season, I have to clear my shelves. In fact, if you're in South London there's a good chance you will find quite a lot signed YA novels, I've offloaded a few quite recently and some of them are BIG NAMES.
Now, if course, the only reason to clear the shelves is to put new books in there, which is, after all, the best thing about this strategy. NEW BOOKS. New, pretty packages of words with fine covers, a sensible thickness and weight. I love books.
There are specific books that I love more than others, ones I will not get rid out. The first copy of Wizard of Oz I ever bought with my own pocket money. My first Dungeons and Dragons PHB, which I coloured in myself and at some point, will finish colouring in.
My daughter's moved onto Harry Potter so we're holding onto them, but not for sentimental reasons.
After all, I do have a library down the road. Whatever book I need, I can get. For example, I recently gave away my entire Percy Jackson collection. Then, suddenly, I needed Lighting Thief. My editor and I were debating how much gratuitous sex, violence and profanity I could put into a mid-grade novel and she suggested I check out the first Percy book.
I'm somewhat amazed to discover that the answer was NONE AT ALL.
So, you'll be pleased to know my next novel will be considerably shorter than anticipated.
The only books I did feel a slight pang of pain when I gave them to the charity shop was Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights triology. But they had worked their magic on me already, so let them be freed to work their magic on another!
I love browsing for books in charity shops. There used to be loads on Charing Cross Road , now sadly converted into cake and coffee shops mainly. I still miss the Virago shop that used to be down there and the Islamic bookshop too. The main attraction is their shambolic shelving. Everything is just squeezed in, irrespective of genre or popularity. It's an adventure. You might stumble onto anything and, at 50p a pop, risk a gamble and pick up something you wouldn't otherwise try. That how I ended up reading the autobiography of Reggie Kray, Born Fighter, for example.