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Topic: What puts a book on your keeper shelf?

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Subject: What puts a book on your keeper shelf?
Date Posted: 5/21/2008 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2005
Posts: 81
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I'm in the process of clearing out my keeper shelves, so I've been going back and doing a bunch of re-reads.   It got me wondering why I put some of the books there in the first place!!  

I've got books that I go back and read many times, and enjoy them each time.  I know why they are there.  Some of them I think I've put on the shelf just because they are part of a series that I've gotten attached to.  Then others..... I just don't remember what made them a keeper ('cuz they sure aren't now!). 

So, what makes a book a keeper for you? 

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2007
Posts: 278
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The storyline and the plot! I LOVE when a book is well written and interesting NON STOP.... there are some books, like one I just started and after ten pages I couldn't go any further... when its one I can't put the book down, thats when I know its a keeper! I know its a lame excuse but thats me! lol :-)


Plus... good romance is always key! ;-)

Last Edited on: 5/21/08 6:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/21/2008 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2005
Posts: 25,728
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If I read a book and can still remember huge parts of it weeks later, it is a keeper for me.  Obviously something has touched me.

But, I also have all of Nora Roberts library and some of them aren't really "keepers".  My DH helped me collect all of hers a few years ago (including buying me Promise Me Tomorrow) because he thought it was cool that I own them all.  So I won't get rid of them.

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I have a bunch of keepers that I think I probably would *not* keep if I read them for the first time now, but I read them when I first got into romance and they really got to me and I still like to read sections over.  I try not to keep books just because they're in a series, but I do have a few - my least favorite of the Compass Club books for example, because if I reread my favs, I might want to reread the whole series. And some of the Liz Carlyles because they have recurring characters I like.

Most of my keepers are books that left me feeling very satisfied and/or wanting to reread parts again right away. Sometimes I'll keep thinking about a book after I read it and that tells me it's a keeper.  Other times I'll find a book I kept, realize I've read lots of books since then that are better, and get rid of it.

Some of my  keepers are just books that were good reads and I'm going to have to cull those, because it's just getting too big. I have room to add maybe one or two more historicals, a few more contemporaries. I'm talking with my husband about building an extra shelf to go on top of my bookcases.

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Some of my keepers are for when I need a good laugh - like Getting Rid of Bradley by Jenny Crusie.  To me that book is laugh out loud funny with romance thrown in.  I've read it many times.   Others are for the sheer pleasure of the journey to the HEA - like Ransom by Julie Garwood or Next to Die by Marliss Melton.  Then others - like the entire Outlander series - those are just ones I read over and over and over for multiple reasons.

I have occasionally culled my keeper shelf - but certain books never even make it into the stack - like those above, simply because I love them, I love the characters and I love the writing!


Date Posted: 5/21/2008 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I keep everything but I have a shelf of 'special keepers' and these are books that I love the stories and characters and find myself thinking about almos tlike they're 'real'..Iknow they're not but the books read that way to me. some keepers are there for the, um, hot scenes and some for their easy-reading LOL humor that I can pick up and just read and laugh. some I just like the stories a lot like the first 4 crazy books by tara janzen, linda howard's mackenzie series, merline lovelace's codename danger series..just different reasons I guess but books that I find myself pullling off the shelf and re-reading often . jayne ann krentz is another as well as nora roberts' born in trilogy, eps the 2nd and 3 rd stories.

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 376
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Willa H said : "Most of my keepers are books that left me feeling very satisfied and/or wanting to reread parts again right away."

Exactly! Somehow, I've figured out for me it is a feeling that I get from reading romance - if the author's words make me feel what the characters feel, whether that is love, or fear, or grief, or anger; if it touches me that deeply, then I want to reread it and feel it all again. That makes it a keeper. Since Romance ends with its famous HEA, then when I think it's good, I feel happy - satisfied - hopeful - at the end.


Date Posted: 5/21/2008 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,720
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I used to keep EVERYTHING.  Finally pared it down some and made myself realize that I don't have to keep everything by a particular author just because I like the author.  I try and judge it based on the book now.

So, a keeper is something that sticks with me.  If the story's touched me in some way and I can still remember it a few books later, then it's a keeper.  I do still weed out my keeper shelf.  The criteria for that--do I still recall reading the book?  If it seems completely new, then it didn't really stick with me enough to keep.

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2007
Posts: 462
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Over Christmas I went through all of my books -- oh my goodness -- and found keepers that I hadn't looked through for years. As everyone one has said, a keeper is one that makes me want to read it again or share it with someone as soon as I finish -- I want to go back and read certain scenes (not always the hot ones, though those are good too:) -- but ones that really move you too. I recently read an "Everlasting" title called The Vow -- a later in life love story, realizing what you have. I just loved it for some reason...I think as you go through life your perception of a keeper changes -- not always making the others less valuable, but just not as important to where you are in life now .... How's that for philosophical???

I Found myself keeping some of my old keepers because of the memories of the time when I read them -- like The Flame and the Flower -- not that I've read it lately but it was one of my favorites when I first started romances... Some are classics like Jane Eyre -- really worn but one of my favorites... Then there's some of the series like above -- the Linda Howard MacKenzie series, the Raintree trilogy, and the Karen Marie moning books -- ones I've discovered in more recent years - Suzanne Brockman, Lisa Kleypass, and John Sandford, but still favorites.

I still have a few more very old keepers to read .... Anne Hampson "An Eagle Swooped" and an old Barbara Cartland I've kept after all these years.. Saving those for a good rainy day....Now if I only found an old Lucy Walker that I read......

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 8:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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There are some books that if I lost them somehow -- the roof fell or something! -- I'd have to go find them again right away because I sometimes have to have them and read it right that minute.   A couple years ago I reread the entire Stephanie Plum (Evanovich) series from the first to the last because they make me so happy.  I felt sort of like if I'd sat and watched all the old M*A*S*H TV shows again.   They're part of my history forgodsakes.  A few of my keepers are books that I read and immediately reread the whole thing again.  Right away.

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
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It's the characters for me.  I have to not only love them, but the way they interact.  I read a lot of different genres,and that's the one thing my keepers have in common.

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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"I have room to add maybe one or two more historicals"

And I just sent my husband out to pick up Secrets of Surrender and Your Scandalous Ways. Oh dear...

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,840
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i used to keep just about everything i enjoyed reading, in case i wanted to re-read it again.  i also tend to keep series books in case i want to refer back to the older ones, or do a re-read when a new one comes out.

i probably have close to 100 Harlequins that i read 10 years or more ago that i liked enough to keep at the time, and i've read *one* Harlequin since i started keeping a book journal in mid 2003.  there's maybe five that i actually remember details from, my favorites that i've re-read more than once.

when my library is mostly filled up, i'm have to weed the shelves - probably twice a year.  a couple of months ago i started looking over what i had, and ditching some of the things i'm less likely to re-read if i'm scanning my shelves for an old favorite.  (comparing things shelved next to each other, mainly.  if i'd always choose one over the other, then the other gets ditched.)

since joining PBS i'm a lot better about letting things go, especially romances.  i already got rid of my stack of unread Harlequin Presents (and a few here took advantage), and i've traded out less favorite books by some authors.  though i'm getting more books in, too!  my unread shelves are overflowing.

Date Posted: 5/22/2008 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2005
Posts: 81
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I think it's pretty neat that a lot of the books you all have mentioned are the ones that remain keepers on my shelf too! 

I'm really trying to weed out the shelves, but it's so hard when I see one of my favorites and it's just calling out to me.  It gets read rather than something that I might be able to post.  :(   On the other hand, it sure is fun to go back to my favorites.  :)

Date Posted: 5/23/2008 5:51 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 527
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I don't have any hard and fast rules... and since I re-read so infrequently (my TBR pile is just way too huge, I'd actually feel guilty reading a novel I had previously read) it's kind of dumb for me to have a keeper shelf anyway. Obviously, if a book is wonderful and I smile and feel giddy or moved after I close on the last page is a keeper. I love exciting, intricate plots but if I can't connect with the characters I probably wouldn't keep it.

Sometimes after I finish a great book I don't know if I want to keep it or swap it, so I'll hold onto it a few days before deciding. If the story sticks in my head and I keep thinking about it days later, it's a keeper. Recent romance novels I read that did that for me are Miss Wonderful, The Perils of Pleasure and Sugar Daddy. Also, I tend to be a nerd and keep entire series I love, even if not every single book grades an A! These include Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime & Thursday Next series (he hasn't written a book that wasn't flawless in my eyes, though- I'm a fan for life), Victoria Laurie's Psychic Eye & Demon Hunter series, MJ Davidson's Queen Betsy, The Black Dagger Brotherhood, ALL of Charlaine Harris, etc etc.

Date Posted: 5/23/2008 6:37 AM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2006
Posts: 29,785
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I have a few on my keeper shelf because I loved them for one reason or another...most of them were fun to read, like my Janet Evanovich books (Alex Barnaby & Stephanie Plum), The Wedding, The Bride & Come the Spring by Julie Garwood, Pamela Britton's whole NASCAR series, Outlander, Maureen Child's Marconi series, Julia Quinn (although not all of them), and a few others.

I so rarely re-read, but I mainly keep them because I really enjoyed them and I love to loan them to friends to read as well. I am planning on doing some re-reads to see if they're as good now as they were then, ya know?

Date Posted: 5/23/2008 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2007
Posts: 662
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If I find myself smiling about some book I've read for days after, I will keep it.  And of course, my ultimate fav authors will have ALL their books on my keeper shelf regardless of how good it was just because I am a huge fan.  Yanno, authors like Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, Jude Deveaux,  etc.. Oh and of course Kathleen E. Woodiwiss... the goddess  among all romance writers.

Last Edited on: 5/23/08 9:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/23/2008 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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#1) Interesting characters and good character development.  I want to see some personal growth in the character/s  from the first pages to the end of the book.  I HATE it when a character is the same at the end as at the beginning. By interesting  I mean that I like character s that have some "character" to them.  Characters with interesting quirks or problems;  less-than perfect characters, who must overcome a challenge or problem.  Hate the "perfect" characters with out quirks or problems.  A plot, no matter how interesting, is seldom enough to carry a book.  Need interesting charcters I can care about or identify with. 

#2) An interesting storyline that keeps you turning the pages.

#3) Lots of sexual tension & steam with good descriptive writing of love scenes.


I ONLY read historicals and usually only the "great" writers and outstanding books make it to keeper status for me, as I'm a bit of a booksnob.  Though not necessarily in the above order, books generally need to have all 3 elements to make it to my keeper shelf and I still have dozens!  I'm pretty selective cause DH gets snarky about the # of books I have lying around when you consider my Keepers and TBR.

Question:  what's the point in keeping a harlequin?  They strike me as so mass-produced, they're generally something I would never read, much less re-read.  Though, granted, there's an exception to every rule and probably are a few good ones among the bunch. 

Last Edited on: 5/23/08 11:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 2