Thoughts | If I were Marie Kondo …

I’m going to start this off with a massive check yo self: Marie Kondo received a huge amount of hate from the book community for stating that a person should own no more than 30 books. If you dig a bit deeper (and, you know, actually read her book and not just respond to click-bait headlines), her advice is rather different …

  1. If a book brings you happiness — whether it’s the physical book or the potential it holds or for whatever other reason — then keep it.
  2. If a book doesn’t bring you happiness, then get rid of it.

Kondo suggests that the average person needs about 30 books to be happy. I’m sure that’s enough (and possibly even excessive) for the average person. My non-reading family members would probably only select 5-10 books each.

For us bibliophiles?

The thought of only having 30 books in my house makes me sad. Books add life and texture to rooms — and having an anti-library full of potential is probably one of the most exciting things there is. (And re-reads? It’s visiting old friends!) My library brings me happiness.

… though, I will confess. Culling Curating my shelves over the past few months has been a pretty liberating experience. (Check out my January, February, March, and April un-hauls!) You don’t appreciate how much weight those “meh” books hold until you remove them.

Taking things to an extreme … what if I were to put myself in Marie Kondo’s shoes and limit my shelf to 30 books?

Spoiler: I surprised myself by selecting less than 30.

Be warned! I’m cheating on two accounts …

  1. I’m counting series as one book … because, series are just one really long story that’s been chopped up into smaller volumes for portability’s sake.
  2. I’m not counting books that I keep at my office. I’m an academic and clinician … These resources are literally my job.

Practical Reads and Reference

1. The Oxford English Dictionary
2. The Oxford Thesaurus of English
3. An atlas
4. A comprehensive and up-to-date medical reference / first aid book
5. A comprehensive household maintenance / how-to book
6. A comprehensive gardening book
7. A comprehensive cook book
8. A comprehensive baking / desserts book

Family Heirlooms

7. The Family Bible
8. Boney Legs by Joanna Cole

Favourite Fiction

9. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
10. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
11. Strange the Dreamer / Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

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12. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
13. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


14. The Watchers / Angel City / The Way of Sorrow by Jon Steele
15. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson


16. The Bear and the Nightingale / The Girl in the Tower / The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

17. Fox 8 by George Saunders


Picture & Middle-Grade Books

18. Big Sarah’s Little Boots by Paulette Bourgeois
19. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
20. The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Side Note: This series has utterly convinced me of The Mandela Effect … because, I swear, I grew up with “The Bernstein Bears” … then there was all this internet hubbabaloo about “Bernstain Bears” … and now Wikipedia says it’s “Berenstain Bears”.

It’s official. I’m actually from a different dimension.
No wonder this world is so weird …

21. Franklin the Turtle by Paulette Bourgeois
22. Corduroy by Don Freeman
23. The Complete Munsch by Robert Munsch
24. The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith


25. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
26. City of Ghosts / Tunnel of Bones / Bridge of Souls by V. E. Schwab

7 thoughts on “Thoughts | If I were Marie Kondo …

  1. I completely hear you about Marie Kondo getting too much hate (I think it’s quite clear to use common sense and not that you have to get rid of all your books if they bring you joy… which for most of us bookworms, they do!) But like you, I also like to slim down my shelves from time to time and I actually did a post like this a while ago (though I went over 30- couldn’t help making it 33… but I should’ve done the same by counting series as one). I also chose to keep my harry potters (of course 😉 ) And I also selected my copies of strange the dreamer and muse of nightmares. And though I came pretty close to song of achilles by choosing circe (though, who am I kidding, there’s no way I’d get rid of my signed copy of song of achilles either 😉 ). I’m also hoping to read enchantment of ravens soon! And like the sound of fox and the star- wanted to read it for ages!

    1. 😀 I’m glad to hear that we both have such *excellent* taste in books! 😉

      You could easily convince me that Circe and Song of Achilles are part of the same series — thus counted as one book … I mean, both feature Odysseus, right?! (Obviously the same series!)

      Side note: YOU HAVE A SIGNED COPY!?!?!?

  2. It would be nigh on possible to restrict myself to just 30 books though if you absolutely force me down that path my choices would mainly be classics because they can be read again and again. I’ll skip the gardening and cookery books though – these days I find it just as easy to look up recipes and plant descriptions on line.

    1. Very true – the joys of the internet! 🙂 I think that’s why I wouldn’t take the classics … they’re all available for free downloads. (Or, easily sourced at the library!)

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