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