Did you hear? Marie Kondo, the organizing guru and star of the new Netflix series,”Tidying Up,” wants you to burn all your books.
What? You didn’t hear? Well, maybe that’s because she never said that, but you wouldn’t know it by the daggers bibliophiles are heaving her way on social media.
Kondo helps her clients tidy up their homes and lives using her trademark KonMari method. It is as hands-on as it gets.
Clients pull clothing, kitchenware, photos and pieces of paper out of closets, drawers and bins, hold every item and decide whether they “spark joy” or should be “thanked” for their service and banished from the house.
The author of the best-selling “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” does the same with books, and that’s where book fans/collectors/hoarders have drawn the line, especially now that they’ve seen her method in action on the Netflix series.
“In her book and on the show, Kondo says the value of books lies in the information they contain and that ‘there is no meaning in them just being on your shelves,’” writes The Deseret News.
“If you have a lot of unread books or books you hang onto in the belief you’ll reread them one day, Kondo recommends getting rid of them. She says that as a result of practicing the KonMari method herself, she owns no more than 30 books. Kondo considers that number ideal.”
Thirty books, book lovers are screaming?
“#Librarians reading Marie Kondo’s #book advice: 50% are confused by the concept of a book that doesn’t spark joy, 40% are fangirling about her organizational powers. And 10% are preparing for the inevitable increase of encyclopedia donations this weekend,” the American Library Association tweeted.
Book fans ran to their computers to pledge their undying love to the written page.
Bonnie Burton, writing for for CNET, detailed the contents of the 20 full-to-capacity bookcases in her apartment and wrote, “I can say her method works wonders on old clothes, kitchen gear, electronics and paperwork.
“But once the show decided to focus on book collectors, I suddenly realized I couldn’t be a complete Kondo convert. I will never, ever willingly reduce my stacks of books and comics.”
Ron Charles, Book World critic for The Washington Post, took Kondo’s advice personally, writing that “suddenly people have noticed the dark side of Kondo’s war on stuff: She hates books. All books.”
He was joking, but he’s no fan of Kondo’s advice to touch every book you own to decide if it sparks joy.
“We’re not after sparks of joy — we want to swim in wonder,” he wrote. “’Books are the reflection of your thoughts and values,’ Kondo says, and she’s right, but then she’s so wrong when she goes on to tell her television audience: ‘By tidying books, it will show you what kind of information is important to you at this moment.’
“That’s the problem with Kondo’s method. It presumes a kind of self-consciousness that no real lover of literature actually feels. “We don’t keep books because we know ‘what kind of information is important to us at this moment.’ We keep them because we don’t know.”
As with any good book, though, this story has a twist, for Kondo’s advice has found fertile ground as well.
Author Becky Allen put it this way on Twitter: “So like... if owning books brings you joy, go ahead and keep them. I don’t think Marie Kondo would tell you to do otherwise. But if you’re thinking of paring down your book collection, you don’t have to feel guilty, because owning fewer books doesn’t change who you are.”