I haven’t picked up a book in over a month, but it’s been more than a year since I really felt driven and motivated by reading. I open a book, I read a few pages or sentences, I set it … Continue reading
A year ago, I was blogging up a storm and blazing my way through the latest buzz books. And I felt a bit burned out, craving the space to amble through the mountains of backlist books on my shelves, savor tattered paperback copies of classics, and re-read old favorites without guilt. A few months later, when I decided to take a break from blogging, I thought the time had finally come for me to do those things.
When Andi announced her intention to focus on reading books she already owns instead of buying new ones in 2016, I was all aboard. I was SO ready to #readmyowndamnbooks. And yet, as I stared at my shelves of unread books over the next few months, they lost all of their luster. The spines looking back at me were books I’ve owned for years but have never felt compelled enough to read. That somehow didn’t change when the flow of shiny new books on my doorstep ended.
So I floundered. I didn’t read much. When I did read, it wasn’t as ravenously as I used to. I missed the enthusiasm of the blogosphere, the thrum of excitement around new releases. It turns out I crave the thrill of the new, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I’ve started using the library again, which is super convenient as I work there. It’s nice to not feel limited by the selection on my shelves, which is actually fairly small since I live in a tiny bedroom in a shared apartment, and most of my TBR stash is stored at my parents’ house. I’m enjoying keeping up with the buzz and being able to read new books when my holds come in without feeling like I’m drowning in a sea of release dates.
I feel like I’m finally getting it back, whatever “it” is. Some sense of balance, maybe. Some sense that despite all the changes of the last year, the part of me that can be completely transported and nourished by words is still there. That this key part of my identity is still true, that I’m still me. I’m getting there.
Is there anything worse than coming home from a library sale or used bookstore, going to shelve your beautiful new books, and finding that there isn’t space for them? We’ve all been there, and unless you’re a lucky duck who has room to add another bookshelf (or has no problem stacking your books on the floor, which, I mean, we’ve all been there), you’re going to have to get rid of some of the old books to make room for the new ones. Here’s the question: Do you get rid of books you’ve already read, or books from your TBR shelf?
A few weeks ago, a discussion on the Books on the Nightstand podcast got me thinking about this very topic. I realized that I tend to have a much easier time getting rid of books I have read and didn’t care for than books I haven’t yet read. When it comes to books I have read, I enjoy having a curated shelf; it’s nice to look at my bookshelves and only see books I love (plus a few classics that I feel like I should keep so people will think I’m smart). To me, there’s no reason to hang onto that book I read five years ago and didn’t like. If there’s no chance in hell that I’ll ever re-read a book, I’m pretty okay with letting it go.
Unread books, on the other hand, are filled with so much promise! How can I get rid of a book that could become a favorite?! It doesn’t matter that I bought it for a dollar at a library sale; I was so pleased to find it, and I’m still dying to read it. So what if I’ve had it for three years and I rarely have time to read backlist? This is why more than a quarter of all the books in my apartment haven’t been read yet. They come in faster than I can read them, and they’re so hard to get rid of!
How do you approach culling your bookshelves? Which books are the first to go: Books you’ve read or books you haven’t?
A few weeks ago, I attended the book group speed dating event at BEA, where I sat down at a table stacked high with books. Titles by Anthony Marra, Lauren Groff, Bill Clegg, and Atul Gawande caught my attention, but … Continue reading
(I have done my best to avoid spoilers, but this post contains vague references to Hausfrau’s ending. Readers who don’t want to be spoiled might want to stop reading.) Rarely has a day passed in the last few weeks that I … Continue reading
There has been a lot of talk lately about the pressures all bloggers feel at one time or another. In addition to commitments like work and family, we feel like we have to read all the new releases, publish posts … Continue reading
Happy Bloggiesta! This is my first time hosting a mini-challenge, and I’m really excited to share this post with you! In the last year, there has been a lot of discussion among bloggers about the way we write about books. … Continue reading
Catherine of The Gilmore Guide to Books published a thought-provoking post on Friday. The week before, she had reviewed Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things, which she felt was “emotionally sterile,” and “carefully controlled.” But after listening to a short … Continue reading
Happy Banned Books Week, darlings! This is my favorite literary week of the year. Held during the last week of September (9/21 through 9/27 this year), Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. Librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, bloggers, and … Continue reading
I am 24 years old. I have my B.A., and I work at a job that’s vaguely related to my major. It’s boring and slightly soul-crushing, but I’m thankful to have a job. I don’t really know what I want my … Continue reading