This summer I decided to do something that’s been on mind for a long time, read every unread in my bookshelf. It seems I always have a lot of these major clean-up projects that get pushed aside because they are too time consuming and too laborious. Most of the time, they’re just not that urgent. My list of longer term projects include organizing my photos (both physical and digital), dealing my collection of CDs (yes, I still have CDs and a stereo that plays them), and my unread books.
I’ve decided that NOW is later, at least for the books. Summer is a great time for a reading project.
First step was assembling all the unread books. Twenty-eight! To be fair, some of the books are partially read. What the collection really represents are books that I haven’t committed to keeping or giving away.
I took a few moments to reflect on how I had even acquired so many. I’m an avid reader. Since my ereader broke a couple years ago I have been reading more news than books, but still, it was surprising to me.
Among the unread books are gifts, from friends or for attending a conference or buying something. Books that looked interesting to me. Old, used books that I found and thought “I should really read this, it’s a classic!” Promptly put them on my shelf and never read them. Books I purchased because they were authored by somebody I admire (e.g., Victor Wooten – amazing bass player). A book by Alice Walker, one of my favorite authors, that I still haven’t read. Business and reference books, non-fiction and fiction, plays, how-tos, short stories and poetry.
Always something I’ve had a great intention to read. Always something that I would get to later.
I’m starting the project by reading the ones that look the most interesting to me. I’m allowed to read two – three at a time, which will help me to cycle through the ones I don’t like faster. I’ll be applying librarian Nancy Pearl’s Rule of 50 (read here). In essence her rule is after the first fifty pages of a book, only keep reading if you’re interested.
The goal is to only have books that I’ve read and enjoy.