The point of books is to have way too many but to always feel you never have enough.
I read the quote above a couple of months ago and I can completely relate. If that is the point of books, then I get it. In fact, if the shelves and stacks and boxes of books that I see at every turn in my home are testament, I live it.
For as long as I can remember I have been a bibliophile. I love books–everything about them. Most of all I love falling into them and losing myself, learning something, or being inspired. Sometimes even all three.
I am never without reading material and usually I read a couple of things simultaneously. I know that reading more than one book at a time sounds odd to some, but I have fiction books that I read before bed or when I need a break from work or when I have some time to relax; not to mention non-fiction that I read for business reasons, health research, educational purposes, etc. And I always have something on me to read if I find myself with a few minutes to spare, waiting on someone or something, or if I need a brief escape.
I devour magazines of all kinds, literary journals, and my daily Wall Street Journal (on paper, thank you very much). And though I thought I would never succumb, I did eventually buy an e-reader years ago, which has since been augmented by apps on my tablet and smartphone, so I really always have reading material on hand. (I also keep a book of short stories in my car. . . just in case.)
Sometimes, all of this reading makes me feel like I might come to a similar end as Cervantes’ Don Quixote, who “from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
With all my reading, you’d think I wouldn’t have an unread book in the house. But I do have a few. Actually, more than a few. Okay, okay . . . a lot more than a few. I’m know I’m not the only reader out there who has a hard time keeping up with their “to read” list.
But lately, the reading I do for my work as a book editor has taken up so much time that my pleasure reading has waned, much to my dismay. The bookcase in my office is overfull and I have stacks in other rooms as well. Books are almost literally closing in around me. It seems the occasion to catch up on my reading is long overdue. No time like the present, I say.
So, starting with my office bookcase, I’m going to make an effort to catch up–or at least make a significant dent in my ever-growing cumulative page count.
Here’s what my bookcase looks like now:
I know . . . overwhelming.
After removing the books I’ve read, and some of my reference books, this is what i looks like:
I’ve left some reference books as well as some volumes that I’ve read but refer to from time to time on the shelves, but those only take up about two shelves.
Still plenty to read.
And that’s what I’m going to do. Read. . . . .More. . . . A lot more.
I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. But in the case of my reading backlog, I think I owe it to my bookshelf to commit to reading, if not all, then at least a lion’s share of the volumes still waiting. So come January, get ready for more reviews and recommendations and hopefully, we’ll watch the bookshelf’s unread contents will slowly dwindle together.
Wish me luck!