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 We’ve already donated to the library numerous volumes including cookbooks, coffee table books, outdated travel guides, novels we’ll never read, and niche nonfiction titles.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?