I moved a few months ago, and it was a pretty momentous move because I now have enough room for all of the books I’ve been storing in my closet at my parents’ house for YEARS! It’s very exciting! But now that I’ve been reunited with all of these books, I’ve realized that there are A LOT, and I don’t think it sparks joy anymore to keep them all. But idk what exactly to keep, so that’s where you come in!
Basically, in high school, I hunted down every Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsey book I could get my hands on. I also have a bunch of old Lisa Kleypas, Mary Balogh, Julie Garwood, and Patricia Cabot books, among others. But the thing is, I don’t remember a lot of them! And they just take up so much room on my shelves. I like keeping books that I have a meaningful connection to or memory with if it’s something I haven’t read in a long time, so I’d like to weed some of these out, but it’s hard to know which ones.
I easily have the most from Johanna Lindsey. As tempting as it is to track down the handful of books I’m still missing and own her entire backlist, I just don’t think it makes sense. I’m thinking of keeping her Mallory books for sure, and I remember her Ly-san-ter books being wild and rather fun, so I’d probably hang on to those. Savage Thunder is also rather memorable, and I think I enjoyed the Wyoming westerns trilogy as a whole, though I would never recommend them today. But other than that, I think maybe I keep some of the cool vintage copies I have and donate the rest? Are any of her other books classics that I should hang on to and maybe even reread? Or do I really need to keep all of the Johanna Lindseys since she’s such an icon? I just don’t know!
Jude Deveraux is trickier for me because she was my all time favorite in high school, but her Montgomery books span so many different time periods, and I remember some being notably better than others. So I don’t think I want to keep all of the Montgomery books. Plus I’ve reread a few of her books recently, and they did not hold up at all (specifically A Knight in Shining Armor and Velvet Song). Which kind of makes me want to get rid of all of her books besides the ones I know were my absolute favorites: The Raider and Sweet Liar (I should add, I reread The Raider a few years ago, and that didn’t really hold up, either, but I still have a ton of nostalgia for it). I would also keep cool vintage copies, like the first edition I have of The Black Lyon, and I know my book club is obsessed with how bonkers Remembrance is. But other than that, are there any Deveraux books I need to keep?
Julie Garwood is another tricky one. I actually already culled her books back when I was in high school. I remember being obsessed with certain of her books, and underwhelmed by others, so I only kept the ones I loved (I totally had all of her historicals at one point). But then I recently reread For the Roses and it was…not good. So now I’m thinking of getting rid of all the Clayborne books. Except, I don’t actually remember the other four books that I have? So like, do I keep any of them? Pick a random one of the four to hang on to? Keep all four since that’s not that many? Idk.
Mary Balogh, on the other hand, has held up much better than I ever expected. I reread A Summer to Remember a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so I definitely want to keep that one, and I think I’ll maybe keep and complete the Slightly series — I read them all in high school but couldn’t track down copies of them all. I will definitely wait to finish buying them until I do my reread of Slightly Married with Jenica, though! Maybe those aren’t as good as I remember, either. Honestly, I’m kind of thinking of rereading all of the Mary Baloghs I have and seeing how I feel about them? It’s not so many. But we’ll see. What do you think? Are any of these worth rereading, or should I just go ahead and pass them on right away?
As for Patricia Cabot…sigh. I don’t actually remember any of these books, but I’m reluctant to get rid of them because I enjoy Meg Cabot so much and these were hard to track down (Patricia Cabot was her historical romance pen name). Since I’m pretty sure they’re out of print, I’m kind of inclined to keep and reread them as well, and then decide from there if I actually want to hang on to all of them or just keep one as a keepsake. We’ll see. Definitely let me know if you’ve read any of these and have strong opinions on what I should do with them!
I think for Lisa Kleypas I’m going to get rid of her non-Wallflower/Hathaway/Ravenels books. I just don’t remember them at all, and the ones I hear people still talk about on Twitter are ones I know I don’t like (specifically Again the Magic, which I actually already donated).
I also have a handful of Kathleen Woodiwiss books, but I think I’m going to donate all of those besides A Rose in Winter, which is a beautiful book that I specifically remember having a sentimental attachment to. I reread it recently and didn’t love it, and I don’t think I need the others I don’t remember as well.
I also think I’m going to donate all of my Judith McNaught books. I mostly kept them because I thought I should, not because I specifically enjoyed them. I know she and Jude Deveraux were good friends and that people who enjoyed one usually enjoyed the other, but I was just never a huge fan of her books.
So yeah. Please help! I’m definitely keeping these books right now out of nostalgia and a fear of getting rid of them and regretting it later, but I really don’t want to dedicate this much shelf space to books I don’t really remember. I want looking at my shelves to spark joy, and these books just don’t really do that for me right now, but I’m not sure how best to go about it and would love to talk it through with other romance readers. Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated!!