I was partly serious in my conversation with myself yesterday. I do have a book problem. It was bad before Christmas, and it’s gotten worse since. I received several books for Christmas (some of which I asked for, and all of which I’m happy to have received). Then I went and ordered more from the bookstore afterward (one of which arrived yesterday, prompting this discussion). I’ve got three books waiting for me at the library, and more requests pending. Plus, I have a lot of unread books on my shelves (and some in boxes), and a stack of library books on my nightstand. And let’s not even think about how many unread books there are on my Kindle.
It’s too much. Not counting reference materials and other books that I intend to keep unread forever, I probably have somewhere between 100 and 150 unread books (not including the Kindle). Even if I were to read 52 per year, as I always hope to do, it would still take at least two years to get through the unread books I already own, and probably closer to three.
I know I’m not the only one with this problem. I’ve read articles claiming that it’s actually a good thing. And maybe it is, if you have unlimited space for storage. I don’t, and though I expect the storage situation to improve within the next couple of years, it won’t change the fact that I’m storing books that I might not even like.
January is a good time for setting goals for the year. I’d rather not set reading goals. I’d rather just read as my mood takes me, but I need to deal with this situation. So, I am officially making it my goal to reduce the number of unread books in my house. I’m not going to say that I can’t order any books from the library or buy any at the bookstore, but I am setting the current number of books in the house as the absolute maximum. That is, no new books are allowed into the house until some old books go out.
I’m also going to pick out 30 of my unread books to be “must-reads” for the year. I haven’t decided yet how to choose. Maybe I’ll pick the most appealing, the least appealing, the shortest, the longest, the newest, the oldest, or a mix. It doesn’t matter too much. The point is that I know I can get through 30 books within a year and still leave myself the freedom to explore outside my own library from time to time.
Doesn’t that sound totally reasonable, self?
Yes, it does. Thank you. Now go pick out your 30 books.
You got it. Thirty books coming up!