How To Decide What Stays

Ok, so books are a passion for our family. No surprise! But sometimes it's necessary to eliminate and condense. We're somewhere in the middle when it comes to pushing through books that we don't initially love. Sometimes I've forced it and other times we've put it up for "maybe later". Oftentimes that "maybe later" never comes and that valuable space on our shelves continues to be occupied by something that we don't love.

My philosophy on how we go about deciding what stays and what goes comes down to the fact that there are more books than we could EVER read in our lifetimes. Though I like to give things a fair shot, especially those that come highly recommended, we as parents, know our families better than anyone else and must choose accordingly. Initial reactions can sometimes be overcome, but often after 3 or 4 chapters you can get a good sense for what it's gonna be like. The author's voice, subject matter, the characters etc. all add up to an initial assessment that can cloud or enhance our view of the book. So, we've begun giving our books stars...we only do 1, 2 or 3 stars. I even started doing this with our 5 year old. 3 stars are what we want to keep on our shelves long term.

We get new books often at garage sales, thrift stores and book sales, so space becomes an issue. Every few months we go through the newer books and rate them and stack them. The 1's get passed along and sometimes the 2's will be in a separate pile for awhile until we determine if we really will read them again. If the book has been ignored after multiple tries of engagement, it goes in the giveaway pile. Our "not so greats" might be another family’s "absolutely loves"!

As a book lover, I’ve often kept books because of some external force…great reviews, a supposed “should read” etc. but as I’m getting more comfortable in my own skin, I know that there’s a reason so many thousands of books are published each year and it simply comes down to tastes and attention. I can appreciate a persons love for a book without needing to read it myself! Sometimes the best discussions can come from a place of being willing to learn from someone else’s learning. This applies to friends and to our children. Remember how to be the student and take a note or two from those you love whether young or old. Whatever you chose to read, just read! Life’s too short to be without a book!

Read on!