Not Really a Reading Challenge

July 9, 2007 at 6:47 am 2 comments

A few weeks ago we piled some unprocessed laundry in our library. I’ve barely been home in eight weeks, and so yesterday I finally got into the library and started sorting and washing. (There’s something so pleasant about drying clothes on a line. Not that I have a clothesline in my library. But whatever.) At one point, I took a short break by the bookshelves. I’ve been g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y logging my books into LibraryThing, so I took this opportunity to jot down a shelf-ful of ISBNs to input later.

Maybe I ought to be ashamed to admit this, but there were several books at arm’s-reach that I’ve never read – never even cracked the cover. I’m a bit of an obsessive book collector, and there have definitely been times in my life when I’ve bought books just because they looked intriguing and (::blush::) would look pretty or (::double blush::) intellectual sitting on my shelf. (Hey, I was a dormy for a few years there. If I couldn’t intimidate suitemates with a string of suitors, I could at least intimidate them with a shelf full of weighty tomes!) Anyway, the point is that even among a selection of twenty or so books, there were at least half a dozen books that were essentially brand-new to me.

And I’m not ashamed. I’m excited.

On teh intrawebz, bibliobloggers are always and forever signing up for reading challenges. I’m always tempted, but I know that that kind of structure doesn’t jive with my reading habits. I am a wayward and fickle reader, bouncing from book to book, sometimes reading ten or so books at the same time. It wouldn’t do for me to write a list of BOOKS I AM GOING TO READ THIS YEAR/MONTH/SUMMER because I could never know in January what books I’d want to read in August. New books cross my path, and I am diverted, like a cat who chases a butterfly until a dragonfly catches its eye. (I might, under duress, be able to draft a list of BOOKS I AM GOING TO READ THIS LUNCH BREAK… but only in pencil.)

But this is the summer of living simply, and I think that may mean that it is also the summer of unread books. I don’t need to spend any more money at the bookstore (or the library, because let’s face it, when have I ever turned a book in on time?) when I’ve got a veritable bookstore of my own just down the hall.

Last night I pulled out The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder, a “creative nonfiction” book, and read a few essays. I’ve been reading Sebastian Junger’s Fire, also a book of creative nonfiction; it’s one of those books that makes you exclaim “Wow!” and “Whoa…” as you read it. Rhino is much the same, but on a much lighter – and funnier – level. It was a nice mental break from the stressful subject matter of Fire, and I have to say I’m looking forward to reviewing the pair of them soon.

There were several other tantalizing books on those shelves, among them The Magician’s Assistant and The Time Traveler’s Wife. I’m not usually one for reading BOOKS THAT EVERYONE ELSE IS READING, but maybe by now it’s okay to give these two a try. (Did I mention that I’m wayward?)

So… no list of BOOKS I PURCHASED CAPRICIOUSLY, SHELVED, FORGOT, AND AM NOW GOING TO READ – but I’ll keep you updated on those that do end up on my nightstand. Stay tuned, and wish me luck! I’m going to need it to keep up my non-book-buying willpower. 🙂


Entry filed under: Living, Reading.

In Which I Make Bookplates Winsome Critters

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alea  |  July 12, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    The Time Traveler’s Wife was great great great! Some friends and myself tried to start a reading group about a year and a half ago. That was the book we picked. Never got around to discussing it, but most everyone finished it and loved it!

  • 2. Terri B.  |  July 26, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    I’ve got The Time Traveler’s Wife hanging out on my shelf too. I understand the book collecting thing. I’ve got way too many books I haven’t read yet. I noticed you mention The Magician’s Assistant. I read that last year and really enjoyed it. I think Ann Patchett writes so beautifully. Have you read Bel Canto?


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