My “Keeper Shelf” Overfloweth

Back when I was first reading romance novels, my best friend and I had the simplest sorting system ever. Romances were either “keepers,” which we knew we wanted to hold onto and probably reread, or they weren’t. Books that weren’t keepers got handed on to other people or dumped on the library or sold at garage sales; there was no used bookstore in our town at that time.

Of course, back then our purchasing habits were pretty simple too: we bought ALL THE THINGS, by which I mean all the categories we could find and afford each month plus whatever shiny foil-stamped horse-and-castle single titles we could scope out at the drugstore.

Now I’m a real live grown-up, and my buying habits have gotten complex and weird. I buy things I want to read because they sound good, because they sound bad, because the cover is hilariously awful, because I’ve always heard of this author/title and I was on eBay or Abebooks and there it was….

A random sample grabbed from the “to-read” pile and spread out on my kids’ wooden table.

The problem is I have gotten way less ruthless about my “keeper” shelf than twelve-year-old me. I am drowning in paperbacks, here. I hate getting rid of vintage ones because I always worry I won’t be able to find them again. But also, I tend to collect categories of category (so right now I have ALL THE SHEIKS for some reason). Also, single-title covers are gorgeous, which makes me hold onto them even when I know I’m never going to reread them.

A major purge is in order, I think. I just haven’t made up my mind where to start.



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