Marie Kondo has earned a cult following (and a Netflix series) thanks to the enormous popularity of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I enjoyed the book, but she was mostly preaching to the choir with me; I’ve never been a fan of clutter. “When in doubt, move it out” is my motto.
Except when it comes to books.
I have three tall bookcases filled with reference books. I have books on color, idioms, pop culture, chiasmus, quotations, literary devices, significant dates in history, and even insults. Even niche titles like Straight from the Fridge, Dad: A Dictionary of Hipster Slang and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed get eyeballed every year or so.
One of my favorite books is The Buzzword Dictionary: 1,000 Phrases Translated from Pompous to English and not just because I am listed on page 224 as one of the BuzzWhackers contributors. This dictionary includes great worlds like “
The only books I am willing to part with are technology titles. I enjoyed using the Lotus Jazz software suite, but mourning its demise did not extend to keeping the manuals.
Tidy or not, books are not like clothes or kitchen utensils or toys. They are in a hallowed category all their own. Fellow book lovers tended to agree in a recent Los Angeles Times article entitled “Marie Kondo’s advice about getting rid of books fails to spark joy in some readers.”
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