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August 25, 2009


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So...you've managed to get rid of 6 books so far? That is hardly going to make a dent in your horde now is it?

I'd add 'does the cover annoy me in some way' as a criterion. Yes, i am that shallow.

May I suggest that you also get rid of anything with a headless woman on the cover?

Ahh Julie, I cannot get rid of any books I actually published!

DJ, I think you'll find that the above criteria have denuded the Pack shelves substantially.

Are you planning to turn up to the next Firestation Bookswap with all the 'Get Rids?'

You'll regret chucking the DeLillos. Although, I suspect DeLillo would approve of his books being removed by the imperative of a self-imposed schema like this.

I have never regretted chucking anything by DeLillo.

Embarking on a clearout myself and this post is hilarious! (I will not follow it completely tough.)

Have I kept it only because I think I ought to read it--but never will?

Great list!

Have I read this blog post? YES

Will I recommend it to friends? YES

Does it have a four-letter abbreviation I don't understand? YES


Fat Roland, I have, as they say, been hoisted by my own petard.

MOTC stands for Mother of the Children. My other half. Recently Mrs Pack.

Remind me never to ask Ali Smith for an endorsement then. (I wouldn't want one from the other two...)

Headless women? Ouch!

Scott, having gone through the entire house looking for places to put new bookshelves and failing last week, I'm looking to you for selection advice. Afraid this doesn't help much. I long since binned both Delillos (they start well but the only one I managed to finish was the one about Dylan and that was crap) and all the books that remain survive your first test (or at least the first 3 qs of it). More tips needed!

I own about 5 DeLillos but have not read any of them yet. Should I bother?

Inspired to clear out and re-arrange too.

New criteria to add to the list for me:

1. Did I buy this from the booksale my brother-in-law held because it was only a pound? YES

Would I have bought it full price? NO

Will I ever read it? NO


2. Did I buy this from the booksale my brother-in-law held because I thought I *ought* to have read it? YES

Would I have bought it under other circumstances? NO

Do I really want to read it? NO


That last one will clear out Salman Rushdie AND Monica Ali in one foul swoop.

What if the quote from Amis, Smith or Rushdie says it's rubbish?

Incidentally, removing all books with quotes from Rushdie on the cover would strip about a third of novels from our bookshops. (The other two-thirds would be the ones with quotes from Stephen Fry and Colm Tóibín.) However as it would mean getting rid of Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, I could never apply such a criterion myself.

Everyone's really getting into the swing of this aren't they?

You are quite right Mr Self, if Amis or Rushdie said they hated a book I would probably instantly buy a copy.

I am using lots of other criteria, the above is just a selection!

Mr Lenahan, I used to visit Dublin once a fortnight for 2 years. It rained every time and I found the locals very unwelcoming to an Englishman. Perhaps it was just me though. Individuals I got to know were often lovely but nearly all dealings with strangers were oddly cold and brusque.


I understand most people love the first DeLillo they read, but not the ones they read after.

So keep the slimmest and chuck the rest. Unless you need something hefty for the holidays, in which case keep the fattest and chuck the rest.

I ask myself the 'has this been sitting on my shelf for years because at some point I thought it was the sort of book I OUGHT to read'. I no longer care about OUGHTS, wants are the way to go.

If we're all clearing out our books on the same criteria, then who will be buying the 'get rids'?

I've had a load sitting on Green Metropolis for months now, so far only one's gone. Is my taste that rubbish or am I guilty of hoarding the gems?

I completely approve of your chucking philosophy in regards to DeLillo. I always finish books, but I seriously considered poking my eyes out so that I had an excuse not to finish Ratner's Star.

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