Yesterday, I tried to clean my massively overcrowded apartment. My husband and I just bought a house (which needs loads of renovation, grumble, finances, grumble, rice and beans, grumble), and will be moving in a few months. Meanwhile, my housecleaning skills, never stellar, fell to record lows.

Until even I couldn’t stand it. There was clutter everywhere: papers, books, notebooks, CDs, magazines, more books, FIVE PAIRS OF MY HUSBAND’S SHOES IN THE LIVING ROOM, a few more books, some bookmarks, toys, and more magazines. And a few books.

Never one to shy away from an onerous task, I started going through my books. My father-in-law built me my own bookshelf, ‘specially designed for double-stacked paperbacks (and it comes apart for easy moving!), but I have SO many books they had spilled out onto the floor.

So I got rid of some. Some I had never read, and realized I never would read. Some I had read, and liked, and wanted, but the space issue overcame the acquisitive issue, so they were gone. I found one I had bought twice, so that went. That was an easy one.

I was not able to get rid of books by some good writing friends, even though I will never read those books again–something superstitious (appropriate for today, actually) reared its head in me and made me put them back on the shelves.

My keeper collection is, as keeper collections go, fairly small; my keeper authors include Amanda Quick, Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Eloisa James, J.R. Ward and Georgette Heyer; non-romance keeper authors include Barbara Hambly, Lee Child, Ross McDonald, Bernard Cornwell, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Charles Willeford, and Neal Stephenson (the husband counts John Hawkes and Thomas Pynchon among his).

How do you decide what to keep and what to toss? When you toss, where do you put them? Do you have any keeper authors that are outside of your usual reading taste?

PS: Clive is just here to get you to read the boring bits.