This is the avid reader’s “Lose weight” or “Join a health club” goal, isn’t it? A resolution made to be broken before Valentine’s Day with rueful chuckles and the nodding acceptance of most fellow readers.
Although my rate of acquisition has certainly slowed, my commitment to reading from the shelves has been something less than steadfast. (Evidence: More than forty of the titles I’ve finished this year were published this year.) As I made room for new friends this morning, I was struck afresh by how many wonderful books already await my attention. Frankly, walking through my house is not unlike wandering through a tiny but well curated bookstore, replete with the same, “Oooo, that looks interesting!” and “Hmmmm, now what’s that about?” discoveries. The abundance of riches is both wildly cool and a little embarrassing. So although we’re a bit out from the “I resolve” time of year, I have been contemplating a personal reading challenge for 2019, something with a bit more stick-to-it-ness than the designed-to-be-broken, “Read from the shelves.”
I began with, “Read one book from every shelf in my library.” Because there are more than two hundred shelves, though, and because it’s been more than a decade since I last finished more than two hundred books in a year, the goal needed refinement. I have decided on one hundred books from my shelves, including at least twenty-four non-fiction titles and at least one book from each of the following “special collections”: Shakespeare, poetry, NYRB, Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, philosophy, art, and children’s / YA. Since I’ve been finishing between 120 and 150 books annually for the last few years, this goal leaves me a little room for impulsivity. My current plan requires nothing more than that the book have been in my collection before the end of 2018, but I will add more details if or when it becomes less random.
How about you? Do you have any reading plans or goals or challenges for the coming year?
I suppose my reading plans and goals are to carry on as I am doing these days … blessed with an excellent public library, I’ve alwas got a good 80 books checked out, any given day, so that, homebound as I am, I can be fairly well assured of a good read close to hand. Am reading a book a day and loving it. Have been a passionate reader since about age 5 (that’s when I first read The Hobbit). I try to wite notes on each book as I go, and then to post as well (at my blog I mean), and sometimes fall out of that habit, and then regret doing so. So that’s part of my ongoing goal as well: maintain the habit of noting each book read, even if the notes are bald.
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I like your plan and completely understand. My reading has slowed way down this year and also have many books on the shelves that I haven’t gotten too or want to reread. One of my goals is to read from my own shelves. I usually do a book buying ban until April at the beginning of the year, Of course there are exceptions for my favorite authors. 🙂 I’m going to leave lots of room for rabbit trails.
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