I am in the process of attempting to move house (everyone hold your breath, I don’t want to jinx it). As ever, this comes with the accompanying whimperings of late capitalist accumulation like, ‘Why do I have so much stuff?’ And, ‘Please, no one ever give me another ornament again (unless it’s a Dancing Groot).’ And, primarily, ‘Oh god, oh god, the books,’ (with added rocking motion).
There’s not a lot in London that I will consider getting rid of, because I’ve tried to be better at passing on stuff I know I won’t re-read over the past few years. But every time I come to Cornwall, I attempt to get rid of a few of the ones here, and now, since I’m about to try and reunite everything in one place, I’m doing my utmost to dredge up my inner brutality and get rid of a lot.
So, it’s time to be honest about the fact that I will never again read history text books on Ancien Regime France, or the politics of the Long Eighteenth Century. That I probably don’t need that whole collection of histories of the world wars (bye, Martin Gilbert), or three perfectly standard histories of the USA (one is fine).
I have discovered that I have two copies of each of P.A Brunt’s Social Conflicts in the Roman Republic and Lily Ross Taylor’s Party Politics in the Age of Caesar, and that’s probably unnecessary, so if any budding ancient historians fancy those, I will hand them over.
Let’s all admit that Giles Foden’s *Zanzibar* isn’t his greatest book (in fact, let’s whisper it, with the exception of the non-fiction *Mimi and Tou-Tou*, he’s been a bit average since *Ladysmith*. That no one needs travel guides published in 1999, especially when you have four others covering the Mediterranean. That sometimes you made poor book buying choices and you will never read some of these. Oh, and that it is finally time to dismiss Super Sad True Love Story from your shelves.
Some things are just impossible. Clearly everyone needs at least two editions of The Illiad and The Odysssey, and my Fagles translations are lovely editions so they’re just saying, end of. I have three copies of Alice in Wonderland and I DON’T CARE. I’m not yet ready to abandon Bridget Jones to her likely never-to-be-read again fate, nor much of my Alan Furst collection (he’s gloriously atmospheric, but they never get re-read, I just find one I haven’t read when I get that mood). And just because I don’t really get Life Before Man or Surfacing that does not mean I am breaking up the complete fiction of Margaret Atwood collection. No.
At least until I discover that I still don’t have enough room for all my books in the new place.