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Topic: What makes a HF book a "keeper" for you?

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Subject: What makes a HF book a "keeper" for you?
Date Posted: 12/17/2009 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
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I'm guessing most of you are like me and don't keep everything, or surely we wouldn't all be on a book trading site!  :)

I actually don't keep the vast majority of what I read. Even when a book gets a 4 or 5-star rating from me, it's not necessarily a keeper. I tend to keep a book if it fits these two criteria:

- I actually made a list of my favorite parts/quotes/page numbers so I could re-read them again.

- I truly believe that I will read the book again. (This isn't something I do often, since my TBR has always been huge.)

Even if I loved a book and gave it a high rating, I tend not to hold onto it if I can't see myself reading it again. Perhaps this is partly because we're a military family. The combination of moving often and having little space means that I can't keep the bulk of what I read! I almost always keep non-fiction, if I enjoyed it, especially my small collection of history books.

We currently have 4 separate bookshelves in our home (each is about 6 feet tall, with 5 shelves). One is my son's and is full of his books and games. One holds our photo albums, yearbooks, and what I think of as "family" books (dictionary, thesaurus, travel books, etc.). The last two bookshelves are in our bedroom and hold both DH's and my books. DH takes up maybe one shelf worth and the rest of the space is mine. :D

Curious to hear what makes a book a "keeper" for the rest of you!



Last Edited on: 12/17/09 10:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 12/17/2009 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I used to buy every book I read and I have shelves full that will eventually be cleaned out. I only keep books I know that I will want to read again. Outside of an odd-ball OOP that I can't get from the library I rarely buy anything anymore except those I know I will want to read again (and then I can always get a keeper back out from the library). Chadwick, Penman, Higginbotham and Karleen Koen are three that come immediately to mind as keepers. Gwen Bristow and Anya Seton as well.

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I usually only keep books that I loved and don't think I can easily replace. I keep non-fiction if I think it's something I will need again.

It's really hard to say what my keepers will be though because I usually end up posting them. I have two bookcases that are full of keepers, but if I need room to add a new keeper, I'll pull some of the old keepers out and post them. I also post keepers after I have lost interest in the subject. Right now, I have shelves and shelves full of books about historic explorers, but I know those will all be posted as I lose interest in exploring and something new grabs my attention.

I probably have about 1 full bookcase of books that I know I will never, ever post. Most of those are books that my DH and DS have bought for me over the years. When they buy a book, they always write a note to me on the inside and I couldn't let that go. I have books with notes inside from when my son had just learned to write his name. I love looking at those, even if I didn't love the book. After he learned to write his name, he'd occasionally grab one of his own books, write his name in it, then wrap it in a dishcloth or something and give it to me as a "gift". Those are all still on the shelves and are keepers forever. ;-)

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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I really only keep some of my educational texts (I studied psychology so I still have an APA style guide and pocket DSM IV on my shelf that I won't get rid of) and my favorites.  I wish I hadn't posted my copies of Shadow of the Wind or Moloka'i.  I'd like to have those as keepers.



Last Edited on: 12/17/09 10:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/17/2009 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Misfit, you have helped me make up my mind about something. I've been undecided on what to buy with my gift cards, but your posts have made me decide on Gwen Bristow. Thanks! I'm tired of dithering over what to buy! It's so hard! ;-)

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 12/17/2009 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,360
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I keep nothing. Space is more important than having to obtain a book again. I think I have only read 4 books in my life. I believe there is always a book better out there. I think I have about 600 books of mine along to be read, and my husbands would put us close to 1500. He saves his books mine go out to be swapped on PBS or given to a friend. We have just finished cleaning out my brother's house. He had about 3000 books when he died. It is not nice to leave that many books for your family to clean out we had a very difficult time getting rid of them. The ones I posted only about 25% went (military history and sports).

Just my opinion.

Alice

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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I'm not a keeper either.  I trade everything, even those books I really, really loved.  The only books in my house that are there for the long haul are my yoga books, spiritual books, The Witching Hour by Anne Rice (which is my favorite book of all time, and which I've read about three times now and will eventually read again), and Eat, Pray, Love, which has a lot of parts in it that spoke to me, so I often pick it up and thumb through it an re-read a sentence or a paragraph or a couple of pages.  Other than that, even the lovely Penmans, Bernard Cornwells (gasp, I KNOW!!!) , etc. go by way of PBS once I've finished with them. 

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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Oh the only other book I've kept that I've read about 15 times is The Golden Compass.  I have an older MMPB that is SEVERELY creased through.  One of my favorite books of all time.  I kept all of the Dark Materials Trilogy books, I could never part with them.  Read them each at least 3 times.

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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My criteria is in flux.  I used to keep EVERYTHING-- I am a big re-reader, going back to my early teens, when I'd checkout 6 books from the library (including three 19thC classics) and read them all once, and then three or four of them again, before I could get back to the library for more.  But now I have 8 bookcases that are mostly full, and my TBR only grows, so I'm starting to weed out and post more books.  My PBS bookshelf is mostly HR, because that was by far the easiest to let go.  I kept a handful of the books that I most liked, and actually re-read periodically, but boxed everything else and posted it. 

HNF is always a keeper.  Classics are always keepers (unless I decide to trade out the paperback because I want it in hardcover for keeper).  Favorite authors are always keepers. (I don't know how many I would put in that category, but probably about 20-25, various genres).  When it comes to HF, if it's good writing & story (4 or 5 star), solid history, and particularly if its primarily about a real person and/or events, I'll probably keep it.  But as I acquire more and more books through PBS, I'll probably let more go--whether it's books I acquired from PBS, or pulling out other books to make room for PBS keepers.



Last Edited on: 12/18/09 9:54 AM ET - Total times edited: 6
Date Posted: 12/17/2009 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,452
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I generally keep books that I know I will want to read again and/or some that I am emotionally attached to for various and sundry reasons.  Everything else is subject to swapping.

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,219
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Cheryl - is that little one on your avatar yours?  What an adorable child!!

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,452
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Thanks Jeanne.  That's Lily, our adorable, feisty grandaughter.  We took her to Florida this last fall and the picture was taken at one of our favorite eating spots.

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Cheryl - What a cutie!  We have one of those two!  Our daughter Lily is 7!

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 7:54 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I have critieria. I just have to find it. It's probably buried in all these books. I'll get back to when I find it.

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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My criteria for keeping a book:

1) It has a front and back cover.

2) The pages aren't falling out.

3) It's not a duplicate (i.e., it's not the second [or third copy] bought because I didn't realize I already had it).

4) If it's a reference or text book, I'm under the delusion that I may refer to it at some point in the future (despite the fact that the internet is undoubtedly more up to date and accurate).

5) If I read it, I didn't throw it across the room in disgust.

6) If I haven't read it, I have plans to read it at some point in either this life or my next.

 

(So, yeah, I guess it's not particularly surprising that my husband thinks I have a hoarding problem.)

Date Posted: 12/21/2009 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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The only HF I've kept is The Masters of Rome series. 2 copies of The First Man in Rome went walking after I loaned them out, so not only did I have to get ANOTHER copy to keep, but I no longer loan out my books. Ever!

The only other keepers are my silent film & 19th c. theater books/magazines. Everything else gets read and posted ASAP.

Date Posted: 12/21/2009 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
Posts: 456
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I have critieria. I just have to find it. It's probably buried in all these books. I'll get back to when I find it.

Lol, Genie, I think I have to say "ditto" for that!

 

I try telling myself that I'm getting better at letting my books go, but I know my husband wouldn't agree with me.  I have the worst time getting rid of my non-fiction history books because I'm a Social Studies teacher and keep telling myself that I'll need them for reference (nevermind that I teach middle school and these books are way above the reading level of my students, not the content I'm currently teaching, etc..).  Though every now and then I do find something I do use in class, which then supports my desire to keep the books.  I'm better at letting go of my historical fiction books, but not by much.  Again, sometimes I find passages that I can read in class to illustrate a point in the lesson (for instance, I read a few passages from Year of Wonders to my students last year during our lessons on the plague which the kids really seemed to enjoy a lot).  I usually have no problem letting go of books that don't fit in either of these categories (though classics can be touch and go depending since I feel like I "should" keep them just to have them).