Honestly? I had no intention of doing a reading challenge in 2016 until I discovered #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks at Estella’s Revenge. For the uninitiated, it’s where you read the books you already own. Sum total. How you choose to interpret it is all you, as suggested in the challenge’s subtitle: “The ‘You Do You’ Reading Effort.”
Can I tell you how much I love this challenge?
My book collecting mania had begun to exceed my ability to read said books, dramatically. Result: too many damn books on my real and virtual bookshelves and persistent overwhelm about what to read next.
So yes, I adore this challenge. (I wrote more about why here.)
I started this month off with a list of five books I plan to read at some point in 2016. I didn’t specify when exactly because a) With so many books, that list was bound to grow, and b) I knew a few ARCs would come my way, and I might have to buy one or two books for book clubs.
From the original list of five, I’ve read two: Brian Selznick’s beautiful and heartening The Marvels and Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, which is also beautiful and heartening. Turns out those are my favorite kinds of books to read.
I’ve also begun two books that weren’t on the original list but that have been on my virtual bookshelves for a while: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on audiobook (I have the British edition read by Stephen Fry, yay!) and the e-book of Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop.
It’s felt good to finally read these excellent books. Still, what’s perhaps most impressed me is that I’ve only bought two books this month.* The first is Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, which I’m reading for my book club meeting on Monday and wasn’t available at my library. The second is Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick, which is for a research project. Translation: They’re books I’ll be reading in the immediate future, not stacking on an already overstuffed shelf where they’ll be absorbed and forgotten.
I legit cannot remember the last time I only bought two books in a single month.** And while I think it’s awesome to buy new books and strongly advocate buying new books, it’s also important to read those damn books. When I look at my bookshelves and realize I’ve read, at best, half the books I own, it’s time to take stock.***
#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks provided that catalyst for me, and I’m excited to keep it going in February.
Anyone else doing a reading challenge this year? I’d love to hear about it!
*Turns out I’m a filthy liar. I completely forgot, when I wrote this post earlier today, that I bought three books at my library. Amazing how that can happen. Clearly, I needed this challenge since I’m apparently capable of buying books and completely forgetting about it. I actually bought five books this month, including these three at the library. Sigh.
**This could be because it still has not actually happened, in recent memory.
***The good news is, I still read more books than I acquired this month. So there’s that…