Rediscovering Books

In one of my earlier posts about how I’m spending my stay-at-home time (see Making Lemonade), I mentioned that I was planning to tackle the unread books on my bookshelves, after more than seven years as the satisfied owner of an e-reader.

Books mainly make their way into my home when my clients are disposing of them and I ask if I can have them. Usually it’s a book that I have been wanting to read or that I have been curious about. However, once the books make it to my bookshelves, they just stay there because I have a bias toward e-books (see In Praise of E-Readers).

I’ve discovered some surprises since I started tackling the books I have been accumulating. I’ve read 5 of the books from my shelves (plus another 7 e-books from the library.) However, I also started an equal number of books and then rejected them, either because they weren’t as enjoyable as I had anticipated, or because the print was too small and I would prefer to read them in e-book form. My pile of books to donate is therefore much larger than just the five books I have actually read.

I was very surprised at which books really grabbed me and which ones didn’t. It was not at all what I expected. I’m now one-third of the way through a 600-page whodunit of which I had low expectations but which I am having trouble putting down! This has motivated me to look more critically at the books I have left to read so that I can clear them away. I say to myself, “Are you ever really going to read that?” Sometimes I read the first two pages just to see if it will grab me.

I have always advocated for keeping the unread books on a separate shelf from the other books so that you can find them easily (see Book ‘Em, Danno). If your “Books to Read” shelf is merely collecting dust, like mine was, you may want to ask yourself, “Am I ever really going to read that?”

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