The bookshelf challenge and some thoughts on books

Apologies for not blogging in so long. I have been continuing with the bookshelf challenge, though I’ve been pretty sloppy about it for the last few weeks, a fact which I will shamelessly blame on my wonderful significant other, who loves to buy me books. I haven’t completely gotten through every single unread book on my shelves, but I made some serious progress. Besides the books I’ve actually sat down and read (I’ve lost count), I’ve sold 11 books, put a bunch more in the Powell’s/Goodwill pile, and I have ten more listed on Amazon just waiting for buyers. Meanwhile, a few books were claimed by my partner, and a few more by my mother, and some books I realized I want to keep as references or classroom resources down the road.

I haven’t 100% accomplished my goal of reading every book on my bookshelf, but I’m satisfied that I went through my shelves and considered why every book is there and got rid of the ones I really didn’t need to keep. Mostly, I discovered that there were a lot of books there that just weren’t that interesting to me, a fact I learned as, over and over, I sat down, read the first chapter or so of a book, and realized there were things I’d much rather be reading. I’ve also learned (partly as a matter of reflecting on previous book purging sprees) that expensive books relating to long-standing interests (i.e. math, linguistics, Montessori, Buddhism, and sustainability, in my case) are worth keeping, even if the interest isn’t abiding right now, because those interests will return, and I’ll regret selling that $120 textbook.

Lastly, I learned that my “ooh, ooh, ooh, I wanna know about that” mindset that fuels excessive book buying is not easily tamed. I’ve learned that I can indulge that mindset in a low-impact way by giving myself permission to check out anything from the library that catches my fancy. That doesn’t solve the intellectual clutter problem, because I still have all those books demanding attention, but it’s a heck of a lot easier on my bank account.

All in all, I declare the bookshelf challenge a success. On to the next challenge…


2 thoughts on “The bookshelf challenge and some thoughts on books

  1. Indecent Cocek says:

    I can relate to the mindset you mentioned. You’re just a renaissance woman, my dear! Indeed, the library is key. I’ve had to learn, recently, that it’s okay to check out a book and decide that I just don’t care enough to read it. And NO guilt about not getting back to it. Can’t keep my attention? TOO BAD!

    But I still lapse a lot…

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