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Which 30 books would you keep if you had to Kondo your bookcase?

Much has been written about the rumour that decluttering queen Marie Kondo’s suggested in her new Netflix program Tidying Up that she prefers to keep 30 books in her house.

Kondo approach dictates that items that don’t spark joy should be thrown or given away. I haven’t seen the show, but given all of the debate filling my social media feeds, I know far more about decluttering than I ever wanted to.

Some bibliophiles have argued with Kondo’s approach to books, saying that a house should be full of books, with piles trailing from the bedside table to a heaving bookshelf.

“Make room for more books by getting rid of your tv”, one Twitter commenter said.

Others have said that they would prefer to throw away all of the books that sparked joy in favour of the ones that made them cry. Take your Maeve Binchy, I’ll hold onto my Primo Levi and John Green, they said.

If you take a look at my bookshelf, and my tbr pile in particular, you will have no doubt about my opinion. In fact, when we were renovating our house, a huge bookshelf was a feature, ensuring that I never have to throw away a book. Clearly, I know myself well enough to realise that if I don’t make space for my books, there will be no space in the house for anything else. I sitting on piles of the books while eating at the dinner table, or clothes being squeezed out of the wardrobes by books …

Australian author Maxine Beneba Clarke added to the debate by claiming that those who scorned Kondo’s advice were privileged to own so many books, and suggested giving books that had already been read to those who could not afford them. The argument was sensible, and made me look uneasily upon my well-stacked bookcase.  

But apart from all of that, if you had to keep just 30 of your books, what would they be? I love a list, and as Kondo put forward the number of 30, here are the books that I would keep if I (god forbid) had to declutter my bookshelf.

My top 30*

All That I Am by Anna Funder

The Choke by Sofie Laguna

Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

100 Years of Solitude by Garbriel Garcia Marquez

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Brick Lane by Zadie Smith

The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville

Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollingsworth

What Katie Did by Susan Coolidge

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Praise by Andrew McGahan

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

*List will most likely change several times in the space of a day. Even now I’m remembering some incredible books that really should be in there … Perhaps this is a sign that I would miserably fail if I ever tried to declutter. Phew, that was a close one.

 

 

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