The Sad, but necessary Book Un-haul

background book stack books close up
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

Un-haul; I don’t think I’ve ever heard this word before the online book community used it, and my first thought was why would you get rid of books from a perfectly fine collection?  Well, I’ve hit that point.  This post is a combination of listing the books I’m actually getting rid of, and touching on certain criteria that made it somewhat easier to pile a stack of books in preparation for selling (we’ll see if any money comes out of this).


First, why am I unhauling?  My bookcases have become a haven of books that I love (these mercifully remain in their respective places), have yet to read, have started and never finished, and those I’m just uncertain of.  It’s quite the mix, and sadly I always get more books, so it was getting a bit ridiculous trying to shuffle books and continue making room.  Hence the need for an unhaul.    The good news?  The majority were ones I read and just feel like I could part with.  So begins the listing of my criteria:

Books Already Read:

  1. Will you feel compelled to read again, or relive at least scenes again?  If no, it might be that book’s time for a new owner.
    1. Most of the books in this category were those quick, guilty reads that were great, but in the scheme of all those amazing books just get lost.
  2. Are there memories or sentimental value to it?  If so keep, if not, pile you go buddy.
    1. Some books (not all signed) were given to me by family, or had a connection with it.  The Wrath and the Dawn I own multiple copies of due to this fact.  One was signed in person, and the other is a paperback given to me by my Aunt and Uncle.  Somehow they know the author, and the story they told just made me want to keep the paperback even more!
  3. What do I get out of keeping this book?  One reason may not be enough…
    1. This is the question that gets tough, usually when you went through the first questions and only found one or two books.  It isn’t meant to be easy, it’s meant to test your resolve on keeping a book that may only weigh your shelves down and keep you from adding your next favorite book.


Books I’ve Started and not Finished:

  1. Why did I stop reading originally?  Was the book interesting?
    1. This usually is a hard one since in some cases I had read the first book loved it, but couldn’t get through the next.  Sadly, this is what the Laini Taylor series fell into.  I even read the summary and first page again and that still didn’t do it for me.  Sometimes years of it sitting like that can play into the ‘it’s that time’ decision.
  2. Would I reread in order to finish the book?
    1. This usually ends up being a no, especially if it’s not the first book, because at that point I have to reread the first book too, and some of these books are biiiggg.


Books I have not Read:

This is a sad category, because there was a time I got interested in the book enough to buy it or ask for it, but then it just sat there.  And sitting is both frustrating, and like a ticking time bomb for me.

  1. Reread the summary, and if that isn’t enough, go to the first page.  Treat it like it was still in the bookstore.  If you still get excited keep it, but if you say ‘meh’, it’s time to sell.  It’s a question of would you buy it today.
  2. If you are on the fence after the bookstore test, look at reviews on goodreads, and see what your friends thought.
    1. There’s too many books out there to not trust a good friend’s opinion.  If they loved the book then maybe it still can become your favorite, but if they hated it, and your shelves are already similar there’s a good chance that book might become your reading slump.
      1. Ex: Six of Crows: This one I didn’t get rid of back during the first time I did an un-haul, there were too many good reviews (glowing ones) to pass up this book, and sure enough I loved it.  So glad it stayed on my shelves!
  3. How recently did you get the book?
    1. This is really a control so that you get some value out of a book.  If it was recent, then I have better found some incriminating evidence that the book just isn’t for me.
      1. Ex: Endgame by James Frey; I finally looked at reviews before I was going to take it on vacation and then read the first page.  After flipping through chapter after chapter I realized the writing style was going to drive me insane.  I’m not a fan of; Character X knew he wanted _______, and that he wouldn’t get it.  Not a quote, but it went like that for chapters.  One or two I can get over, 7-10 of that and I’m out.  It’s part of the age old show don’t tell, and I felt like I couldn’t get past it.  Into the pile it went.


That’s about the extent of the criteria, there might be more, so feel free to comment your own criteria, and maybe we can all help each other with one of the hardest decisions book buyers face.  These are the books that I managed to comb out of my bookcases, and pile up:

  1. Endgame by James Frey
  2. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser
  3. The Pace and Broken Lake by Selena Shorts
  4. Afterworld by Scott Westerfeld
  5. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
  6. The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking
  7. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
  8. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
  9. Incarceron and Saphique by Catherine Fischer
  10. The Goddess Test Series by Aimee Carter
  11. Razorland Books 1-2 by Ann Aguirre
  12.  The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa
  13. Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor


Quite a few of these came down to how long they had been on my shelves, collecting dust and never being looked at.  I think one of the series I had for a good six years or so, never looking at it since I read it.  Hopefully, the suggestions above, and the books I’ve managed to cull will help if any of you find yourselves in the same, sad predicament of needing an un-haul.


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