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Friday, 09 February 2018

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Faye

Oooh, I like this game. I'm casting a vote for Olive Kitteridge because it intrigues me - I've had mixed success with collections of themed short stories like this but when they work I think they're so clever. Hope you warm up soon. It just started sleeting here and at some point I have to go outside to the car and pack in everything I need to stay away from home for two nights with a two-year-old. Urgh. Here's to the spring, whenever it shows its face.

Helen

Yes, I agree! In fact, I picked up Olive Kitteridge at a library sale because I felt I 'ought' to read it but I've never felt any great desire to actually do so. Maybe this will force me to...

Good luck with that! It always amazed me how much 'stuff' travelling with a small child required. I hope the sleet doesn't settle.

My daughter and her class are going on a walk in the woods at the moment and it's snowing. What a jolly time they are probably having.

Peggy

It's is always heartening to hear of the less than Instagram friendly state of other people's homes. And it seems a warm-hearted gesture to share with others. I am the only person I've encountered who didn't particularly like Olive Kitteridge. The only other one I've read is Small Island. That I did like. But I'd plump for the Anita Desai.

Helen

Thank you! Perhaps it would have been more honest to share the full horrors with you all, but then everyone would have fainted and never dared return here ever again. :)

One vote then for Elizabeth Strout and one for Anita Desai... And I will look more favourably on the Andrea Levy.

Jenny @ Reading the End

No vote from me cause I vote for getting rid of all of those. Getting rid of books is a magical thing to do, and I want to live vicariously through you. I am determined to get rid of at least ten books this year.

lethe

Wow Jenny, that is wild! You mean getting rid of those without reading them first?

I vote for The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert, because it is the only one of those I have, and on my TBR shelves too.

Helen

Ha ha, Jenny, that is too wild for me too! I've decided I'll read 20 pages of the losers and if they don't measure up, then they'll go.

I experience vicarious fear when I read about others getting rid of their books, it's probably some form of guilt...

lethe, thank you, that's one vote for Seiffert, although now I have three equal contenders so I hope someone else votes soon... I am so bad at divesting myself of books that I have to put them upstairs in a box first for a while to be sure I don't change my mind about them (I do change my mind surprisingly often).

Desperate Reader

I'm with Jenny on this. I got overwhelmed by the amount of books in my flat last year, so just before Christmas I sold about 250. The feeling of relief when they had gone! The feeling of slight dismay when I realised you couldn't really tell anything had gone is another story. There were a lot of unread things in that pile, mostly unsolicited review copies which I felt a bit guilty about letting go - but life and space are both short and I'm not going to waste either on books I'm not enthusiastic about.

Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

Well, the only one I've read is Olive Kitteridge, and I think it's worth reading though not my favorite genre (linked short stories). I don't feel informed enough to really vote but if you're leaning toward that one, I'll say it's not a bad choice.

Helen

Hello Hayley! I am wondering how an exercise to relinquish responsibility for my reading choices has turned into a push to divest me of books! Aargh! But Lory wrote recently about 'dead possessions' and I'm thinking that books which inspire no excitement definitely fall into that category. I am very impressed that you got rid of so many, but how galling that after all that you saw no perceptible difference! Perhaps it *was* there, somehow in a feeling of more breathing space?

Lory, thank you! That means that there is now a leader, albeit one that feels slightly damned with faint praise by everyone - the whole list is damned with faint praise... Harking back to what I just wrote to Hayley, I have now borrowed the Marie Kondo book from the library (in Dutch! So it's doubly educational!) and am starting it soon. I have to say, of all the reviews of it I've read, yours was the one that really encouraged me to give it a go. So my family may have reason to be very grateful to you! :)

lethe

I love Marie Kondo's book, but what she wrote about books gave me hyperventilation.

Tearing pages out of books and then dumping the books in the trash is not my idea of dealing responsibly with stuff.

(But thanks to her method of holding every object in your hand and noticing how it makes you feel, I did manage to get rid of a number of books I suddenly realized I would never (want to) reread again.)

Desperate Reader

Sorry! There is a feeling of more breathing space (even if it's mostly under the sofa and my bed). I'm a bit of a magpie, hoarding books, yarn, Gin, all sorts of things - but it can get a bit oppressive. (Also, I now have enough money to replace my washing machine if it follows through on its current threat to die suddenly one day mid cycle). At least now I can see all the books I want to read.

Christine Harding

I'd vote for Andrea Levy's Small Island, which is the only one I've read, but I thought it was excellent. I've read reviews of the others but they didn't entice me.

Helen

lethe - [gasp] Does she really say that! I may need to lie down! I'm still on the first part where she's selling her approach to me and explaining why other methods don't work. I'm already having difficulty with some of her assertions, but maybe this is because I am being resistant to them out of fear? I agree with her overall argument that you must get things out, hold them and decide if they have real meaning or not. But so far she hasn't given the flip side to that, which is you should be equally thoughtful in what you buy in the first place.

Hayley, I now have a mental image of you living in an enormous, gothicky stick-built structure with bottles of gin, Trollopes and balls of wool sticking out from under your bed and cupboards... at least you're ready for the Apocalypse :) There have been periods of my life when I've lived without washing machines and they were a drag so I wish you well with that.

Christine - thank you for your vote! That places the Levy theoretically level with the Strout but in practice slightly ahead because you are enthusiastic about it. :)

lethe

Kondo doesn't actually say to dump them in the trash, but what else can you do with books that are missing pages? They have become useless to future readers.

(She calls it her "bulk reduction method" *shudder*)

Stefanie

I am late to the party and you have likely chosen your reading material already. I must say, however, that I love your opening sentence and the fact that you were wearing an orange cat! :D

Helen

lethe - that IS awful! She has fallen in my estimation.

Stefanie, thank you! Though I am sure that Mister Puss would say that he wears me. The vote is still open if you want to join in - or make a case for any of the books in the pile before I send them out into the world in search of new readers. :)

Stefanie

Heh, Mister Puss would say that! :)

I haven't read any of the books in you pile but I have read Danielewski's House of Leaves and it was deliciously weird. I think Only Revolutions is supposed to be unusual too. So if you are looking for something out of the ordinary I'd go with that one!

Desperate Reader

Apart from it being a flat in a converted warehouse, with a charming view of a car park, that's exactly how I live.

Helen

Oh I'm so sorry! I completely forgot to reply to these!

Stefanie, Mister Puss is currently in my bad books after a catfood-guzzling incident ended in vomit. He, of course, never clears it up. I am tempted to hold on to the Danielewski anyway and your recommendation encourages me. I just worry that I'll always be too lazy to apply myself (I think it is a book that requires sustained application!).

Hayley, it sounds an excellent way to live and I shall try to emulate you.

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