Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

Keeper Book Collections
by Nancy J. Cohen

As we are decluttering our house, I have an eye on our bookshelves. We’ve already donated to the library numerous volumes including cookbooks, coffee table books, outdated travel guides, novels we’ll never read, and niche nonfiction titles. My husband is holding onto his classic works of fiction collection and his favorite subjects in nonfiction.

I am keeping my entire research library for my writing career, although I did get rid of some basic writer guides that I don’t need anymore. Should I really keep my three books on poisons? Yes, I will. You never know when I’ll need an unusual method of murder for one of my books.

How about these books on survival? They might come in handy as I’m writing this a few weeks into our self-imposed isolation during the coronavirus attack (and I hope I’m still here when this piece airs in a month).

That leaves my large fiction collection. I have one entire bookshelf devoted to mysteries. I culled these books, keeping my favorite authors and titles I haven’t yet read. The rows of books, which used to be layers deep, now are visible on each shelf.

Then there’s my science fiction and fantasy collection, including YA titles. I won’t ever read most of these again but I am loath to part with my favorite authors. While in print form, I can still loan them to a booklover friend.

As for the romance titles on my shelves, I’ll read and donate them. The only ones I keep are written by my writer friends. Many of these are autographed.

Then there are my own books—original hardcover editions, mass market or trade editions, newly revised Author’s Editions, advance reading copies and large print editions. My author’s copies for book events overflow into bins stationed around the house.

What kind of books are on your keeper shelves?

Comments

  1. When I do a ‘decluttering’ I usually offer them as contest prizes for my blog and newsletter subscribers. Most of my new books a digital. I have only a small handful of authors I buy in print anymore; I check them out from the library. I could probably donate a lot of my “how to get published” type books, as I’m happy being an indie author.

    • I have lots of print books I could offer as prizes but am avoiding the post office these days. Got a whole bunch of books in stock for planned author events or conferences that never happened, so I have even more boxes in the house. You’re probably the one who gave me the idea for offering gently read books, my own ARCs and backlist titles in contests.

  2. Ashley Montgomery says

    Signed books, favorite authors, favorite series, special editions are keepers for me.

  3. SHARON RABNER says

    I have a lot of books from authors that I have read for many years. Christine Rimmer, Lynn Marshall, Joanne Fluke, Janet Evanovich, Susan Mallery, Nancy J. Cohen, Fern Michaels, Laura Childs, Catherine Anderson, Diane Mott Davidson, Charlotte Hughes and Sandra Hill. Quite a few are autograph personally or I have book plates that are autographed by author and sent to me.

  4. I donated tons of books prior to moving from TX to FL, but have long since replaced them in quantity. At some point, I’ll go through the mix and cull a bunch more. I do keep all the signed books I have but at some point I may have to let some of those go, too. You’ll never pry any of my Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters books off my shelf since those are my comfort reads. And I regret I donated my full set of Angelique books before we moved.

    • Would you believe I sold my Nancy Drew books years ago? Never kept any of the older ones. I do still have many futuristic romances from those days but need to read them or donate them if read. I’ll keep my mystery collection and some of my favorite sci fi authors.

  5. LuAnn Summers says

    I keep all my cozies and historical fiction. I do lend them out to friends. My TBR stash runneth over but that’s ok as I love to look at my shelves and dream about all the wonderful stories waiting there.

    • That’s the advantage of print books – you can loan them out to friends. I have a TBR pile on my physical shelves and on my Kindle. So many good books to read, and now we have the time.

  6. I keep almost all my books, no matter the genre. I will reread them and my mom and I swap books so she’ll read them eventually too. I need a library like in Beauty and the Beast. That was my dream as a kid watching that movie.

  7. A few years ago I packed up a dozen cartons of books to donate to our local library’s annual used book sale. I still have a house full of books. The den has two freestanding bookcases that cover one wall and reach nearly to the ceiling. Bookcases on either side of the living room fireplace hold the overflow of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. Four bookcases in my office hold my writing and design research books, my own titles, and every hardcover craft book ever published that contains one of my designs. The closet holds more books! I had planned to weed more this year for the library sale, but alas, Covid-19 closed the library and cancelled the sale for this year.

    • Our library collection bins are closed too, and I have books waiting to donate. I’ve pared my cookbook collection but still have several shelves worth of them. My shelves are all full regardless of donations, and I keep buying more!

  8. maggietoussaint says

    I’ve got a little of everything on my shelves. Two shelves (double rows of books in each) hold the works of my fav author. There are 3 books of mystery writing reference books and I refer to them often. I have some classic works of fiction, some scifi books I saved from the 70s, a God shelf, a local history shelf, two shelves of children’s books and three of writer friends’ books. I have photos sprinkled through along with other personal items. I’m lucky enough to dedicate an entire room to my writing and I have my desk set up so that I look at all my favorite books as I write. It is truly inspirational. I try to acquire all my new books as digital ones, otherwise we’d be swimming in books!

    • Sounds like a nice collection, Maggie. I still buy print books if it’s within range of the digital price. I’d rather hold a book in my hands for the same money or a little more.

  9. cherylhollon says

    My keeper books are the ones that I read over and over. They’re getting quite a workout during this pandemic. I also keep my writing books within arms reach. Sometimes, just the title of one of them helps me over a snag.

    • I have too many new books to read to go back and reread my favorites. Nonetheless, I won’t part with them. Writing books always provide reassurance that they are there if needed.

  10. My library, which I now am contemplating having to weed through, consists of thousands of volumes divided into different sections: children’s – which my children and now grandchildren love; young adult (we used to call that something else); fiction/literature; theater; religious; biography; mystery; and craft. Everything is alphabetically shelfed by author. I hate donating it to a “library sale” as these have been friends for many years, but ……..

    • We’ve been weeding out our shelves in anticipation of moving closer to our grandchild and losing some of our built-in shelving. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a dedicated library in a home with floor to ceiling shelves like in the old English manors?