Not sure I'm that keen on the phrase, but a very dear friend of my mother's died recently, and left me her books. They are a collection that reflect a shared history. When she and my mother were children, they used to meet up in each other's houses, pick books from the shelves and read themselves into a stupor. Her collection includes Angela Brazil school stories, Anya Seton, Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, Dickens, Trollope.... And some beautiful old books about the royal family, and flowers.
But this new library has to be accommodated so I'm taking a ruthless look at all my shelves - oh dear - four rooms full at least - and out are going bad books, lifeless books, books which have no history in my life. The ones that stay are anything that counts as a classic - from Alice in Wonderland to Thomas Kenneally - it's a broad brush - poetry, plays, biography. Books by people I know, books by writers I love, books that have struck a chord in me. It's quite random. Monica Dickens stays, Steinbeck stays, Hesse stays (I have to take into account my husband's taste) but anything that I've thought... Nah, I wasted my time, or... that was a joyless, shallow read definitely goes. Actually, not many on the out pile. Oh dear.