I was thinking the other day of the new year.
Not the one that starts on January 1st. The Jewish New Year. 5781 begins on Friday at sundown, and it’s traditional to spend this time of year thinking about repentance and the kind of person we want to be. And, along with many other things I won’t bore you with now, my thoughts of course turned to reading, and the kind of reader I am and want to be.
I have a lot of books- like, a LOT of them. But I mainly read books from the library. Which is a good thing. I adore my library (if I haven’t made that clear over the past few years of blogging, or my blog title). I love library books. I love librarians and library staff. I love hustling through the aisles and combing the shelves for the books on my list and checking out the New Books shelf. Pretty much everything about the library makes me happy.
But I also own a ton of books that I haven’t read, and that’s not good, especially since my reading mostly from the library keeps me from reading them. There are some great books on my shelves, but they’re not doing anyone any good just sitting there. They’re not helping me learn and grow as a person if I’m not reading them. It’s not helpful to the authors if I haven’t read them and aren’t promoting them. It’s not helpful to other people if I’m not reading them and passing them on as I would normally do. Letting them collect dust on my shelves is helpful to no one.
I considered waiting until January to start this, but why wait? This time of year is a new start as well, and there’s no time like the present. This year, I’m going to forego the regular reading challenges and embark on my own. For every book I read off of my TBR (and y’all know I do my best to read that sucker down!), I’m going to read a book off my own shelf. At times, that may be amended- some of the books I own are pretty long and heavy, and for those ones, I may read a chapter or several, or a certain number of pages each day while also reading books from my TBR. And if I’m reading books for, say, a library book club or NetGalley, those are independent reads and I’ll think of those separately.
But I’ve got several shelves in my upstairs bookcases that are crammed with books that I’ve bought and brought from my downstairs bookshelves, and I have no room for new books in these shelves. It’s time to focus on being the kind of reader who reads the books she owns, and then to release those books back out in the world. That may mean my TBR doesn’t go down as quickly as I would like, but that’s something I’ll have to make peace with. The books I own, I bought for a reason, and they’re important, too.
I’ll be posting about this in my monthly updates, and I’ll probably note in each review when a book has come off of my own shelves, so that’ll keep me honest about this. And then, when I’ve read down these upstairs shelves, I’ll move some new books up from the downstairs shelves (although some of those books are permanent residents; I plan on keeping my classic lit and some of the nonfiction) and read those as well. And then I won’t feel so bad about obtaining new books!
So there’s a new goal, a new challenge for the new year. Keep me honest, friends!