Monday, April 5, 2010

Challenge: Unread Books

My husband and I were sitting in bed the other night, watching an episode of Jay Leno, and I happened to glance over at my bookshelves and notice how many books I had stacked sideways because I had run out of room on the shelves for new books. I looked over on my nightstand and saw that I had five more books waiting to be read and shelved … somewhere. I love my books. Each and every one of them. So I can’t seem to part with the ones I’ve got—even if I didn’t especialy enjoy the book—to make room for new ones.

Well, at least I thought I loved all my books. But then as I raked my eyes over the titles on the book edges, I realized just how many books I have sitting on my shelves that I’ve never read. How can I love a book if I buy it and never open it to find out its secrets?

I took the time to make a list of all the books I had on my shelves, including the books I’ve downloaded on my Kindle, that I haven’t yet read (or that I’ve started but never finished). And the total number of books I have in my home that I still need to read is … 107 books.

Whew. That’s a lot of books, and that number doesn’t even include the books I want to re-read. I am a little ashamed of myself for spending money on new books when I’ve already got shelves of books in my house of books waiting to be read. So I am issuing myself a challenge: I am challenging myself to read those 107 books in the next 24 months. So by April 3, 2012, I want to have read every book I already own. That comes to about 4 or 5 books a month, which I think is a fair number, especially since that number doesn’t include any books that I might choose to re-read, books I might choose to buy, or books I might gt as gifts over the next two years. As a caveat, I will excuse myself from having to finish any book I downloaded on my Kindle for free (as I often check the free books and get any I might be interested in without knowing what quality those books are). I do challenge myself to read AND finish any book I’ve paid for, though (even if the book isn't my favorite). You might be double-checking the end date I have for my goal and wondering if I know what today is. The end date is the 3rd of April and not the 5th because I started the challenge on Saturday but waited to post and tell you all about it until today, figuring most people wouldn't be checking in with the blog over a holiday weekend.

I am asking you, my readers, for help in two ways: (1) send me good reading vibes when I’m going through a reading slump to remind me that I can do this challenge; and (2) participate in polls I’ll occassionally post, in which I’ll post a few books to choose from and ask for your input on which book to read next.

I've already started the challenge by picking up where I left off in Katherine B. Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane; once I get close to finishing that book, I'll ask for help in choosing the next book to read. I'm making myself wait until I've read at least two unfinished books (books I've started reading but never finished) before letting myself read the newest book by Marian Keyes (The Brightest Star in the Sky)--that will be my reward. When I blog about this challenge in the future, the blog post title will begin with the challenge name: Unread Books Challenge. It might better be called "Clear the Shelves Challenge," as I will force myself to part with any books I don't particularly enjoy (deleting books from my Kindle or giving books away from my shelves) so that I can make room for all the books I actually like reading.

I'm ready for some fun over the next two years and am glad to know I'll have some accountability because this challenge is a public one that is shared with my readers. If anyone would like to go on this challenge with me by making a list of all those unread books on your own shelves, make the list and leave a comment for me. You can be a guest blogger in the future (if you so desire), and we can support each other as we read, read, read. :)

Happy reading!

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