Book Review

Learning to Let Go


What’s my first prompt?

We’ve had some great posts that have already happened and are still headed our way about what to do with surplus books that you don’t want anymore.

[Thank you to Sam & Clo for putting this event together!]

My post is talking about how to get to that step of realizing that the book on your shelf may just not be one you want to keep. In other words, learning to let the book go that you may actually not want. [This is not about forcing you to give up books, but rather taking a step back and reassessing if you actually want it]

So I’m going to give you all my reasons why I may get rid of a book.

1. How long has it sat on my shelf?

Now! Hold up, there are books I have on my shelf that go unread for years, and you know what? I really have every intention of reading them, but there are some, same situation, that even though I started with the same intentions, I’ve really just lost interest. Think of it as a physical clearing of your tbr list!

2. Was it an unwanted gift?

I love getting books, honestly, I do but there are some times when people don’t really know what I like to read and buy me books I really never wanted to read. Sometimes those books sound super interesting and I end up reading them, other times they stay on the shelf because I feel too guilty to part with them. This was a gift someone bought for me! Buuuut let’s be real, I’ll probably not some of those and there’s no use taking up shelf space for the books not yet bought!

3. IF I’ve read it, will I read it again?

This is not a question for everyone, but it can be for me, if it’s not the sort of book I typically read or if it’s one that’s basically at any library near me, I don’t feel so bad for letting it go. There are some mystery books that as much as I love them, I just have no intention of rereading and to me that means it’s okay with letting someone else enjoy them. [Again, no shame in hoarding all your books!]

4. Is it worth the effort to lug them around every move?

Okay, this one is very specific to me and a few others who move a lot. My last move cost like 3K to move my stuff over, and uh, more than half those boxes were books and I left most of my furniture behind in order to bring them. And I’d do it all over again, but I do know this is not a permanent situation so I’ll be back to freakin lugging these things around again, and that means when the time comes, I can’t afford to keep every single book if I have no intention of reading it again or in the first place. I haven’t really regretted getting rid of the books I have, so I suppose that says something!

5. Did I enjoy reading the book?

Sometimes it’s enough to keep a book around if you have fond memories of reading it. But what if it’s one you just hated? Usually, this is a no brainer but sometimes we put a book back on the shelf after finishing, just glad to have it done with and then boom there it stays until we finally realize it’s there again and wonder ‘why is it here? I didn’t like that.’ I say we, but I’m just assuming someone else out there goes through this too lol.

Anyway, I could list more but they really all follow the same vein as the others.

Sometimes some books aren’t worth keeping if it means that you can make space for more!

So, what are your ways of deciding whether you’re going to keep a book or not?

Do you now have a stack of books ready to go after reading this and don’t know what to do with them? I have the perfect post from Michelle, who had great prompts before me, with ideas on what to do with the books you’re getting rid of, here.




By TheCaffeinatedReader

A Caffeinated Reader and Musician, destined to write lacklustre book reviews with the over-ample amount of free time.

11 replies on “Learning to Let Go”

so I erm…have a confession.

I made a book box of shame years ago, and it’s original intention was for mismatching books to live in there, along with any books I loved but I don’t have the room on my shelves. Gradually it became a place for all that and any books I wasn’t a huge fan and in order to make space on my shelves, they got plopped into there. I get that I should probably let go the books I wasn’t a fan of, but at the same time I believe all the books we read shape us. The good and the bad. The ones we will remember for all the good reasons as we shriek their praises; the ones we will remember for all the reasons unique to us and some others we hated as we shriek about the why’s and if it’d done this or that. I also have a hoarding problem with books, and collecting in general I JUST LIKE COLLECTING THINGS OK PEOPLE AND BOOKS IS ONE OF THE THINGS I COLLECT CAUSE THEY MAKE ME HAPPY SAT ON MY BOOKCASES. But realistically I may have to live in a bungalow in the future because wow the books are heavy xD Eeeeek so excited for your other prompts Haley!

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You keep a hold of all the books you want to Clo! DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE OR I WILL FIGHT THEM! But I get it, I keep books sometimes that I didn’t like, mostly cause they might remind me of part of a time in my life.


The ‘will I read it again’ rule is a big one for me. I tend to keep a lot of my nonfiction, how-to reference-style books (because yes, I will use those knitting patterns again or need that basic philosophy book or check that gardening book for when I need to plant cabbage, etc). But when it comes to fiction, a book has to seriously inspire me in a certain way in order to have a permanent place on my shelf. And I do have those! But mostly, when it comes to fiction that I own, I read it and pass it along so someone else can enjoy it as well…and I have space for more books. 🙂

As for moving, let’s just say that I once moved 32 boxes of books. Eek.

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OMG yes, I have so many books that were gifts from my family friends that have no idea what I like to read – they kinda just went “oh she likes to read, she’s a [insert age]-year-old girl” and gifted me “age-appropriate” reads. but i was never really into MG/lower YA even at that age, and I tend to read those once then dump them on my brother’s bookshelf because for some reason it’s three times the size of mine. (which is very weird because his room is smaller than mine and he doesn’t really read anymore, but 🤷‍♀️)

as a college student, moving is definitely a consideration; in addition to moving in/out of the dorms every year (hopefully ending this year, if I don’t dislike my off-campus place enough not to renew the lease), I know I’ll have to move most of my stuff out of my parents’ house eventually – they probably won’t throw anything out like my grandparents did to my dad’s comics and collectibles, but they’re also thinking about moving so I can’t use my childhood room for storage forever 😅

and I should probably declutter more frequently than I do, so that (as you mention) other people can enjoy them! great post, Haley; these are definitely all factors in whether I keep a book.

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LMFAO!!!! Oh my gosh … I can’t even with that opening liner!!

The one I need to get better at is the unwanted gift. I would hold onto books because I felt guilty for donating gift items … even if they aren’t my cup of tea. However, I’ve gotten IMMENSELY better at this. These are actually all really good points!

Great post!

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First of all, I read the title and this song started playing in my head:

Now that I’ve got that out of the way…. I am a minimalist in every sense of the work except when it comes to books. I don’t know why but I literally held onto my high school required reading books that I HATED (hello Grapes of Wrath) and I graduated in 2002. It’s kind of problematic. In the past six months though, I have decluttered and donated about two boxes of books, and have a pile of books I want to read so I can donate them to my library as well. It’s freeing to let them go!

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Wow, that is a difficult and expensive move! Knowing me, I probably would’ve done the same… But I get what you mean. I move every year at the moment so I am a bit more selective but thankfully my parents are really good at allowing me to keep my main lot of books there so I just have to move one or two boxes of books with my stuff each time. Also, I agree! Sometimes I have books on my shelves that I fully intend to keep reading, but sometimes I do lose interest too…

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