5 Bookish New Year’s Resolutions

It’s still January, so I can talk about New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s Resolutions, in general, aren’t my thing. (Except becoming more organized… I make that one every year.) But there are five bookish New Year’s Resolutions I made.

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  1. Read more books that I already  own. Culling my shelves for the 2018 challenge reminded me that I have tons of books I’m interested in reading. I just need to focus and not get distracted by new books. In addition to those, I pulled a bunch off my shelves that I always forget I have but know I want to read.
  2. Do better about writing about books I read. I started to keep a book journal in 2017, jotting notes about every book I read, but it quickly became overwhelming. I’m so busy, and adding one more thing to the list doesn’t seem like a great idea. I read for entertainment, but I also read to broaden my mind. Taking a few minutes to reflect on what I read in my journal seems like it would help. I’m reminding myself that I’m doing this for me, and if I have no thoughts about a particular book or just forget to write about one, the book police aren’t going to come get me.
  3. Start being more intentional about books I buy. I sometimes buy things at library sales or Goodwill “because it looks good,” and then often don’t get around to reading them. I end up with the situation I’m in now where I have to cull my shelves. Meanwhile, I don’t buy the books I really wanted because I’d have to get them from Amazon, instead of a chance encounter. That means that my TBR continues to grow and I never seem to get around to those books I really wanted to.
  4. Borrow more ebooks. In general, I prefer paper books for a lot of reasons. But one benefit of ebooks is that I can highlight passages I like. As I’m always trying to become a better writer, it’s helpful for me to be able to look back and see what it is I liked about those passages, if it’s something I just admire or something I’d like to do more of in my own writing.
  5. Be willing to part with more books. I have my list of criteria for keeping books that I try to adhere to, but I almost always struggle with getting rid of books, especially ones I like, even if I know I’ll never read them again. I’m trying to part with more things, in all areas of my life, but books may be the hardest. I just have to remember that if I ever have a burning desire to read that book again, there’s this awesome thing called the library where they have most books, and if they don’t have it, there’s this other thing called Amazon.

Most bookish New Year’s resolutions I saw included “read a certain number of books.” I’m not doing that. I’m sure I could read more books than last year, but number of books doesn’t mean anything. First off, I have many large books on my list, so if I set a number goal, I might be tempted to put off reading them. And I’ve put off Dune and The Stand long enough.

Second, I like the reading challenges because it’s like a scavenger hunt. But an arbitrary number… where’s the fun in that? At the end of the day, I read because it’s fun, not because I’m trying to impress anyone or so I can “win” anything. I just love reading.

Do you have any bookish New Year’s resolutions?

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So Hard To Say Good-bye

img_7738Over the past year, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my book collection. I have so many books that my shelves are overflowing. Finding a particular book is an exercise in rearranging. At least I’m shelving them in alphabetical order, so I can find what I’m looking for when I’m looking for it.

I’ve been trying to work my way through reading the books I already own, and then if they don’t meet one of my criteria, sending them to Half-Price Books.

I recently grabbed a romance off my shelf, read the back, and it looked okay. I was going to read it, but then found something else I wanted to read more. And the romance is still sitting where I left it when I decided not to read it.

I thought about re-shelving it, and then realized that if I saw it in the bookstore today, I wouldn’t buy it.

It’s not that it’s a bad book. It’s by a famous author, and I’m sure it’s entertaining. But it’s just not my taste anymore, if it ever was. Should I keep it on my bookshelf, taking up valuable real estate on the off chance I might want to read it one day? Or do I recognize that there are other books that I’m excited about reading, and that it’s okay if I’m just not into it?

Kind of answers itself, doesn’t it?

I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to let go of books I’m probably never going to read. It feels like I should read what I already own. But there are so many books I’m dying to read. Series I want to complete. New authors to explore.

Sometimes I read a book from the library and would love to own it, but I put off the purchase because my shelves are already overstuffed. It seems irresponsible and indulgent to buy more books, especially a book I’ve already read, when I have so many others I haven’t gotten to.

While I was contemplating this, I closed my eyes and pictured my beautiful bookshelves full of only books I love. Ones that mean something to me, that I want to read. That I’m excited about.

It’s like a shelf full of personalized vacations. Something that brings me joy instead of stress.

I think it’s time to take a careful look at the books I own, and instead of asking, “Would I read this one day?” ask “Do I want to read this?” If the answer is no, I know what I need to do.

Thank goodness for Half-Price Books.

Do you have trouble getting rid of books you don’t love? How do you handle the buy/ keep question?