I have a book buying problem. I could wander in a book store for hours. I usually come out with a small stack.
Don’t tell me about Nooks and Kindles and all of that – I can’t do it. I’ve tried. I want my books in paper, and I want to buy them in person. Someday, my books will fill the shelves of my “Beauty and the Beast” library… The one I’ve wanted since I was a little girl. My husband had fair warning one of these was required in our future dream home. It will hold all of the books I’ve fallen in love with, or tortured my way through to be well rounded, or used as an easy escape from reality.
So it made sense to start the weekend with a trip to my favorite book store, cup of coffee in hand, to search for a companion for my long weekend. But strangely, nothing was doing it. Nothing was jumping off the shelf.
Suddenly, a crazy idea hit me. What if I read one of the many books I already had at home?
Now I realize, this sounds ridiculous. Why was I even at the bookstore if I had books to read at home?
Because I have a book buying problem. I buy three, read two, get distracted by a new one, and that one lone book unread gets lost in the oblivion of my bookshelves, waiting for the day it seems interesting again. And then there are the classics – many of which were bought in sets or in moments of determination, and they aren’t a quick easy read, so after I finish one I again get distracted. Or, take the Steve Jobs biography I asked for at Christmas, and which went on the shelf because at the time I needed an airplane book and that was simply too big and heavy. It hasn’t come down yet.
So, I’ve created a new challenge for myself. Read all of the books I own, but haven’t read. Originally I said the end of summer, but realistically when my bar studying picks up, I know my time will be limited. And I have A LOT of unread books. So instead, maybe by the time the first snowflakes fall. That seems like a more realistic mission.
I thought about saying I wouldn’t buy a new one until I was done… but that too, seems impossible. I know one of my favorite authors has a new release coming shortly. I know that there will be fad books I just have to read to see what the buzz is about. But if I limit myself to only being allowed to buy a new books for every old one I’ve read, I just might get through them all.
What is this actually going to do for me? Well, probably cut back on my spending significantly over this summer where we’re studying and not getting paid for anything. But that’s not what’s really important to me.
I think the reason the idea has stuck with me is because one of my resolutions for post law school is to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. At some point, I’ve wanted to read all of these… but I haven’t. I’m also trying to look for new sources of inspiration, and admittedly, I am a creature of comfort. When I feel lackluster, I reach for an old favorite to get lost in, rather than new words to inspire me. That’s probably how I’ve read Emma and Pride and Prejudice more times than I can count, but until last night I hadn’t opened Mansfield Park. I call Jane Austen my favorite, and I haven’t even read all of her books? What kind of half hearted literary snob am I?
I don’t know exactly how many I have in front of me… I thought about going through the shelves and collecting them all but that seemed like a mess waiting to be abandoned and climbed over all week. But from here I can count more than ten, and that’s only with two shelves in view. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.