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In the long-running BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs, guests are asked to name eight books or recordings they would rescue if they were cast away on a desert island. Last month, I faced a real-life Desert Island Disc quandary when I moved to a smaller home.

I had long given up my CD collection, preferring instead to stream music on Spotify, but confronted with the need to condense a collection of books that I had amassed over 50 years, deciding what to save was akin to asking me what part of my past I wanted to erase...

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