Monday, 18 February 2013

Bonfire of the vanities

This winter I will be warming my home using books that I wouldn't deign to send to a charity shop in case somebody else might read them. With former lives in academia and the media, my husband and I have an inordinately large collection of books, many of which were sent as freebees by publishers seeking reviews, and have never been read. Others were picked up at the wonderful but defunct Galloway and Porter in Cambridge which sold remaindered academic (and other) books for peanuts. Decades on these are cluttering up our bookshelves, loft and garage, many unread. Whilst I've sent lots to the charity shops, and put some up for sale on Amazon, I was perplexed about what to do with a small number which I felt wrong about putting out into the world again because of their subject matter, or bias. Some are books that I'd bought in my teens and twenties: feminist revisionist history books that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. I happened to have a pile of these next to me as I was filling the woodstove this afternoon, and discovered the joy of freeing myself of troublesome material while heating my home in the most ecologically way.

Bad books: just burn 'em and make space on your shelves for more of the good stuff.

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