I have some thoughts on what we bookish folks can think about and accomplish to start off the New Year with a clean shelf, so to speak. It's as easy as BOOKS:
Be ruthless. Sort through your shelves and book piles (I know you have them) and box up those that you know you won't read again - or even read for the first time. Duplicates? I have a tendency to replace paperback editions with hardcover editions and yet never seem to be able to let go of the softcover books. Donate the ones you no longer want to the Goodwill, your library, or a favorite charitable book sale. Perhaps you will even find a borrowed book that needs to be returned to its proper owner.
Organize and clean what is left. Dust those dust jackets. Swipe those shelves with a clean cloth. Eliminate those little piles of book lint in the bookshelf corners. Take a minute to put all your books together by one author or that cover one subject. Perhaps those five books of Mary Oliver's poetry would be happy perched on a windowsill or bedside table. Get those books off the floor and into a proper home. Perhaps a new bookshelf is in your future to keep your collection corralled.
Open the journal or notebook or computer file that holds your To Be Read List. Take a look. Are there books that you have now lost interest in reading? Are there ones that have been on your list for a decade? Clean up this list by eliminating ones that are no longer relevant and starring the books you absolutely want to read in 2014. Of the Top One Hundred Books for the year listed on Amazon, I have not read a one. But there are two that interest me and are the first ones on my TBR list for 2014: One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson and The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Kickstart a reading schedule. Develop the habit of reading at certain times of the day. I try and read for an hour first thing in the morning before the computer and chores and errands start to eat up my time. I usually take a tea break about four o'clock and read for a bit then as well. I also read for 30 minutes or so every evening before bed. Other than than, it is catch as catch can.
Survey your list of books read in 2013. Get a sense of where you spent your reading time. Were your choices intentional or did you succumb to the shiniest reviews? Did you read all fiction or did you learn something from books on history or biography or nature? Are you reading only best sellers or have you dipped into the vast canon of works from the past? I don't pay much attention to the latest and greatest lists and have a tendency to read mostly mystery and non-fiction books. Perhaps I could use a little more balance in my reading choices.
Here's hoping these simple tasks will inspire you to have a Great Reading Year!
This is a to-do list I can get behind. What a great post! I have a few days off over Christmas and I know what I'll be doing: BOOKS! :)ReplyDelete
Glad to be an inspiration, Lark. I only hope I can follow my own advice!Delete
Enjoy your time off over the holidays!
Thanks! We're all counting down the days at work. Only six more to go!Delete
I think dusting is beyond me (!) but your second 'O' struck a chord - sometimes I look at my wishlist and think "WHY is that there?" - time to be a bit ruthless, I think.ReplyDelete
I am not much of a duster either, Vicki. I have started noting who recommended a title on my TBR list which helps a little bit, but still my list is outlandishly long. I think I will just start a new one for 2014. Ruthless is the word.Delete
I love this post! Good advice for the bookishly inclined given in a clever way. I just housekept (is that a word?) my books, and found a few I'd forgotten I had. A few got donated or put up on Paperback Swap, but mostly they got rearranged and gloated over.ReplyDelete
Thanks Kathy. Congratulations! Housekept works for me! I hope I can follow my own advice and tidy up my collection.Delete
I love it when I discover a book I didn't know I had. A secret pleasure and a secret treasure!
Some excellent ideas Belle. Last January being fed-up trying to collate scraps of paper made while reading I started a book journal. Overall it was successful albeit there are gaps when the journal was hiding undisturbed under a pile of books and i reverted to notes on the back of my daily kitty calendar, napkins etc, library chits, ....some old habits....... etc.,! I hope to do better in 2014. Your recommendation on culling the "wish to read list" is a good one. The last time i checked I had over 200 titles. As i say that and make a resolution to do better (... be ruthless) i just this morning added "Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life" by Hermione Lee (soon to be published), Darn!!! That exercise should segue nicely into the 2014 planned list which contains 200 potential titles! I can see this will be a challenge!ReplyDelete
Oh, Tullik, those scraps of paper can be overwhelming. I know the feeling well. I have a tendency to grab the nearest blank piece of paper which is usually some receipt from the library (which I hate by the way - so crass. Bring back the Due Date Cards!) I am impressed with your efforts to tame your notes notes and keep them all in one place.Delete
Ruthless resolutions all the way! I am starting with a clean slate in 2014 as far as books to read. I am sure I will have plenty of titles in short order!