Sunday, 22 November 2015

Simplicity and Me

This is not the post I meant to write about simplicity and its role in my life. I have a whole other post drafted out that I've actually been working on for a while now. Who knows if and when it will actually get published, but anyway this is the one you're getting.

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will probably have seen me giving away books this weekend. These weren't just book I've read and wanted to get rid of (I'm still attempting to sell those on eBay for Beanstalk  and if they don't sell they'll go to my Big Book Sale for the National Literacy Trust in December), they were books that have been on my 'keeper' shelf for a while - in some cases years. Books that I really really loved when I read them and always meant to get around to rereading. This weekend I've given away 35 books to fellow booklovers. I still have a few left, I'll include the pictures at the end of this post and you can let me know if you'd like any - completely free, you just pay for postage.

Recently I'm suffering from a very acute sense of overwhelm. I am overwhelmed by the media, by the amount of distractions in my life, and by the amount of stuff that we own. I'm so overwhelmed by all the things I could or should be doing that I feel like I often end up doing nothing because I don't know where to start. When it comes to books, I know I'll never be a true minimalist because I genuinely love my TBR bookcase - it's like a rainbow of potential joy and why would I want to give that up? But if the two ReReadathon's this year have taught me anything it's that I can have as much intention to reread something as I like, but if I pick it up and don't immediate feel happy at the thought of reading it again then I'm probably never going to actually do it. Many  brilliant books have left my house this weekend, many of which I have fond memories of. All that remains on my keeper shelf now are the ones that have changed my life or affected me in some way. An incomplete list:

Little Women et al by Louisa May Alcott (you're shocked, aren't you?)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia
Neverwhere, Coraline, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Stardust and Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman
The Complete Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
Various David Gemmell books, including the Rigante (Sword in the Storm, Midnight Falcon, Ravenheart, Stormrider) and Troy (Lord of the Silver Bow, Sheild of Thunder, Fall of Kings) series
Everything I've ever owned by Terry Pratchett (not read to cull yet. May never be)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Most of Scarlett Thomas's work
Attachments, Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente
and of course the complete Harry Potter series, because I'm not insane.

And when I look at the bookcase now it makes me happy. It sounds like a lame thing to say but each book that's there has earned its place through several reads and I know that when I'm looking for a comfort read in a time of stress, the books on that shelf will make me feel better.

Really I guess what I'm saying is that when I have too much stuff I feel stressed by it, and what I want to feel is comforted. I want to look at my bookcases and feel excited by the possibilities or reassured by the presence of old friends. I want to look at my (newly revamped, but more on that in another post) craft corner and see all the things I want to make not all the things I should have made and haven't. I don't want my house to be full of guilt and negativity. I just want the positive. I feel like I should be singing a song right now but I hope you know what I mean.

I want to be able to focus. I am so so lucky and blessed with so much in my life and I want to be able to focus on those blessings rather than being distracted by the heaps of things I have lying around the house. So yeah, that's it. My way of saying look out for more posts on my attempts to defeat the overwhelm!

Here are the free books I have left to give to you!!

Let me know in the comments, via email or twitter (in the sidebar of the blog!) what you want and we can sort out postage. I'd rather send them to a new bookish home than to the charity shops around here which are always over stocked with books and never seem to sell any!


  1. That's a great idea, Bex! Had never thought of doing this. I always just donate to my local library, if they don't have a copy, and/or I donate/sell to my local independent bookstore. But this would be a different way to make sure a book gets to someone truly wanting it! Nice work!

  2. Read books are always trickier for me. I have an awful lot of UNread books, and I HAVE culled them down recently (several charity sacks full, if I remember rightly), but I'm so much more careful with read books. We have a history! I currently have maybe 100 books on my 'read shelves' and probably 80 of them are loved - books that defined my childhood and school years, right through to now. The rest are in a grace period because I'm not sure yet. Lesson learned from my favourite childhood books. I let my favourite ever series go when had the bookshop, and have regretted it every single day since. This week I spent probably £40 trying to get the same editions back from three bookshops, one in Australia. SO stupid. :(

    I know what you mean though. Media is overwhelming, stuff is overwhelming. Aside from books I don't really own much that I don't use - maybe a few clothes and DVDs - but for me it's the clutter, all the miscellaneous stuff. Things in odd drawers, newspapers I haven't read, things I keep meaning to put away - plus laptop clutter like bookmarks, playlists, massive galleries of photos that I haven't backed up or had printed yet... THAT'S what gets on top of me. Kudos to you for taking steps with your shizzle, hope you're feeling sunnier and lighter as a result! (And never fear, your copy of Of Mice and Men will be straight on that read and loved shelf. Read it twice, laughed and sobbed both times, school nostalgia, first Steinbeck... it will be loved here!)


    1. Oooh, that's a longer comment than I expected. *laughs awkwardly and clumsily exits stage left*

  3. I feel exactly the same way you do in regards to having too much stuff when it comes to everything EXCEPT books! Clothes, shoes, bags, kitchen items, paperwork, random household electronics, DVDs, etc., etc., all of it I love getting rid of and keeping as few things as possible but for some reason that does not apply to books. I can have hundreds of read and unread books and it's completely OK with me. (my husband, not so much, LOL)