ten books you must throw out immediately…

I’m moving house. Downsizing. Moving into a much smaller townhouse after years in a big family home.

I have the job of sorting through and packing the thousands of books I’ve somehow managed to accumulate over the years. I’m supposed to be picking those that I don’t need, don’t love, don’t want, and don’t have room for – and then – wait for it: GETTING RID OF THEM.

Some of these books have made multiple trips around the world. Some moved from England to Canada and then Canada to Australia and then back and forth twice more between Canada and Australia. These are some well-travelled books. Six trips across the mighty Pacific Ocean. Some are dog-eared and others the print is too small to read.

There’s a copy of Lark Rise to Candleford which my grandfather gave to me for my fourteenth birthday. He wrote in it and it turned out to be the last thing he ever gave me. So even though the print is so tiny it’s practically useless, how could I part with such a treasure? Some are inscribed by authors. Some are still un-read. Some belong to my daughters. Some were gifts. Some are truly rather awful. But for whatever reason, I’m having a hard time shedding any of them.

So I’ve made myself a challenge: begin immediately by sorting ten books to give away or send to the Goodwill.

I’m starting with Patrick White’s Voss. I know – sacrilege. But you have to start somewhere. I’ve never read it and I hear it is an impossible read. Anybody want a copy of Voss? It’s a classic you know. And this is vintage hard-cover.  And Patrick White has the Nobel Prize in literature.  Maybe I should rethink my first choice?

Do you see how hard this is. Where to start? The Bible? (Don’t worry there appear to be several.) Self-help books?  Thesaurus, dictionary,  Peter Dexter’s Paris Trout….

Much easier to go the kitchen and whip something up. I’m also using up pantry items. These no-bake granola bars looked dubious when I made them but it turns out they’re really, really good. They’re also gluten-free and dairy-free and quite healthy. I had one this morning for breakfast with coffee while I started reading Paris Trout.  Voss is safely back on the shelf waiting for the book boxes. Let me know if you want a copy….

No-Bake Granola Bars

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: child's play
  • Print

(Inspired by David Leibowitz – Living the Sweet Life in Paris)

1 1/2 cups oats – GF oats if you’re making these gluten-free. I used regular old Quaker oatmeal – not the instant variety
1 cup dates – I used Medjool dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt

Pit the dates. Then using the pulse button – chop the dates in the food processor. This is a slightly bizarre process. They will appear to be doing nothing at all initially and before you know will just be a big globby mass of pulverized dates. Using ‘pulse’ will help you keep an eye on things. Mine was a big globby mass but it all worked out in the end. Or you can skip all this and finely, finely chop the dates.
Mix together the dates, oatmeal, and walnuts.
Gently melt the peanut butter and honey together and stir though the date oatmeal mixture.
Let the mixture cool down slightly before adding the chocolate chips (or they will melt). Mine melted. I didn’t wait.
Pack the mixture into an ungreased 8 x 8 inch glass pan and refrigerate all day before attempting to cut. Remove from fridge and cut into granola bar sized strips. Wrap individually and return to the refrigerator to store.


34 thoughts on “ten books you must throw out immediately…

  1. I just had to do the same thing as evidenced by my last post! I had a whole post dedicated to the books I had to get rid of. Good luck. It’s an incredibly difficult task because books feel like living breathing objects. It’s horrible, right?! Good choice of snack to do this too! Looks so healthy and delicious and the combo of chocolate, peanut butter and sweet honey and dates…Killer! I feel for you, my dear!

    1. OH Amanda – how amazing. Will head straight over and check out your post and see what tips you might have for me! I’m so behind in the blogosphere …. life is upside-down for a bit. Lovely as always to read you here.

      1. It’s actually funny because a few months ago was the actual post for the books, the last one was about the house, but in it, I mention how i can’t throw away my new translation of anna karenina and Darya from Tortore told me her parents were the translators. They’re coming to visit NYC and I”m going to meet them. So funny, right?

      2. Incredible. And yet, on the one hand it’s not that surprising that Darya’s parents would be the translators of Anna Karenina. I LOVE her blog. But isn’t that why we blog – the remarkable connections we wouldn’t otherwise have? Really for me, it is the best and also the most unexpected pleasure of the blogging world. What a great story. Enjoy the visit! (And please, blog about it…) xo

  2. I love dates and these bars look great.
    As for the books, having moved myself many times, I know exactly what you’re talking about. Sorting the books was always the most difficult.
    On my last move, I sent 12 boxes with books overseas, and one was lost on the way. 😦 It had lots of cookbooks that I had for years and it was devastating, yet somehow it felt easier, as the “decision” was made for me…

    1. Hi Ronit – we had a box go missing on an overseas move in 2007. It wasn’t itemized – and so it was like trying to solve a puzzle remembering what might have been in it. Now if anything is missing – I assume it was in THE BOX. Just recently worked out that the binoculars must have been in it. But I like your attitude – the decision was taken out of your hands! That’s brilliant. 😉

  3. Must go out and pick up some dates and make these bars. I love that they are no bake and right now fit perfectly into our “let’s try and eat more raw food” regime. Awww. The books…Lindy. I feel for you. I did the same several years ago and I can not tell you how many times I think about and miss so many I let go. Why oh why do we become so attached? I like what Amanda said, “books feel like living breathing objects”, so true. Well, hopefully you have some wall space for a rather large bookshelf and you can hold on to as many as possible. (I know I’m not helping much here…sorry!) Back to the no bakes, what do you think of pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts?

    1. I think pumpkin seeds would be fabulous. And so healthy. What a great idea. I’ll try that myself when I start restocking the pantry.
      And oh yes, the books. I will liberate some but I can’t imagine a home without books. So too many will come with me and more will join them eventually. And so we begin again….

  4. I do not envy your challenge AT ALL! I don’t know if we could do it. We’ve made our books such a huge part of our home. And we are crazy and just keep acquiring more! Good luck! I know what downsizing is like. I had to do it six years due to some circumstances and choosing what stays and what goes can be quite difficult.

  5. Good luck with the books 🙂 I love the granola bars, I just made some easy choc chip and oat squares, but these sound even easier! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Downsizing is difficult. We built a big bookcase and the deal was I could fill it and any excess had to go. Finally after eight years I have culled. It wasn’t easy. The books that were written in had to stay, the ones that had memories attached to them had to stay and the rest I can just buy again if I really wanted to read them. Strangely I have no regrets. Any recipe that has no bake and chocolate chips is a winner in my book!!!!

  7. these bars look lovely. Good luck on a near impossible task I am on the opposite side of the spectrum, having only a handful of books (all cookbooks) due to living in very small apts and condos. And I’m looking forward to expanding and actually owning bookshevles / a case whenever we move into a larger home

    1. Thanks Seana but I’m not clear I like it. I just can’t seem to get happy with a blog theme – I might have to customize something… I hope you liked the bars. I liked them more the next day than I did the day of.

      1. Hi Lindy, we couldn’t have loved the bars anymore! They were fabulous and I did end up using pumpkin seeds (didn’t have walnuts) and they sort of “popped” when you chewed them. These bars are delicious.

        I know what you mean about blog themes. I started out with quilpo and ended with switching into the one I have now. I remember pouring over the wordpress themes. There were a few custom themes I liked, but didn’t want to pay for it. It’s so personal isn’t it?

      2. Seana – am so thrilled that you liked these bars. I will definitely make them again too – and will try pumpkin seeds. Thank you for letting me know you made them. 😉
        Switched my blog back because I just can’t get happy with a theme. I’ll do a re-design later this year AFTER moving and meeting all my freelance deadlines! I’m back from Mexico – and looking out at about two feet of snow still. SIGH.

  8. Well, that was a surprise! Popping into your new look blog. Even though I’d noticed you had changed the name via something you shared on FB. This is looking great!
    Must eat more oats. There are three bags of the stuff in my baking drawer. And I’ve ran out of dates. There’s always next week.
    I’ve moved so many times that I no longer have any books! Apart from notebooks that hold countless recipes – most of them I haven’t even blogged. I do wish you well with your move!

  9. Lindy, i’m excited to know you are moving. Must be tiring but it will all be good. If only I can pop by to pick up some of your cookbooks that you rather not move to your new apartment Don’t overwork yourself! Warmly, danny

  10. Oh I know what you are going through. My husband and I have moved 10 times and I’ve always had to leave some things behind. Wishing you all the best with the move.

  11. This is a recipe I would like to try – and will. Meanwhile, as for the books. All my life I moved, on average every two years. Now we are in one place and I miss the moving because when you don’t move things pile up too much. Without a move to motivate me, I am powerless. Lucky you!

  12. Hi Lindy, really enjoyed your article and the recipe. I’ve just printed it off and will try to make it tomorrow, once I’ve gotten the dates. On the other hand I have figs in the larder, they might work too???
    I was eyeing up the bookshelves yesterday, looking at the many cookbooks which I never use, and thinking “should I really keep this?” It’s easier with the fiction, and I have a clear-out of that every year to keep space for my cookery books :-)…. My suggestion would be to make a list of all books you give away, that way you know what you had on your shelves. If you really want to re-read any you have given away, you can always order it at your local library, or download it on to kindle/tablet?

    1. That is a fantastic idea – making a list and then downloading later if I find I “need” the book for whatever reason. Thank you! Also love the idea of a clear-out every year and will put this on my resolution list. We are moving this week from a really big home to a small one – and it is rather disheartening to see how much we’ve accumulated. On the positive side – I’m giving things away and that feels wonderfully liberating. Thank you so much for dropping by. I’ve spent precious little time on WordPress for the past couple of months but always love seeing your beautiful posts pop up in the reader. xo

  13. I made your Granola bars about 10 days ago – they turned out absolutely delicious!! I skipped the step of warming the honey and peanut butter and used some leftover ceral (a mix with all kinds of things in it apart from oat flakes) in place of only oat flakes. For the chocolate I just used a 100g bar and threw it in the food processor after I’d blitzed the rest, stopping when it was coarsely chopped. I followed your instructions and wrapped each individually – they were so good, and that way they lasted longer as I’d restrict myself to only one at a time :-)!!

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