For this year’s Reading Challenge, I’ve decided to forego the search of titles to fill a list of criteria, and instead look to the books that fill my shelves.
Yes, I’ve decided to set out and read all of the books I own. My personal library is not gigantic, but its number far exceeds the number of books I’ve been reading each year. Why, then, am I making this task my Reading Challenge? Inspiration for this goal comes from my experience with the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and more specifically, the sections about books. I already know that many of the titles on my bookshelves (and tables, and floor) do not spark joy. Many titles I’ve kept are from specific points in my life – childhood, college – that I don’t ever want to let go, but I’m ready and willing to be honest with myself about which books I’m keeping for soul-reaching, knowledge-acquiring, joyful reasons, and which ones I’m keeping simply to satisfy my sentimentality.
For the books that spark joy, I will keep them in my possession.
For the books that spark nothing, I will feature them in a Book Unhaul post, where I’ll offer them to you, reader of my blog. After a month or so of checking with fellow book bloggers and bookstagrammers, I’ll donate the books that spark nothing to special causes, secondhand bookstores, and/or accepting libraries and schools.
Here are the specifics:
- I will be transporting the books that are still at my parents’ house to my apartment so I can really go through my entire personal library.
- I will then alphabetize all of my books by author’s last name. Rather, I will add those books from my parents’ house to the already-alphabetized books in my apartment.
- I will judge the books before reading any of them. Like I said above, I know that there are some I already know I don’t enjoy, so I’m not going to bother re-reading them.
- I will re-read books I’ve read. Even those that I’ve recently read. This does not apply, however, to books that were part of my 2017 Reading Challenge, or multiple editions of books that I own. For example, I will not read all of my copies of Pride and Prejudice (but if Pride and Prejudice no longer sparks joy, I will do away with all of my copies).*
- I will not stop purchasing books or asking for books as gifts. I think it would physically hurt me (in addition to mentally and emotionally) if I didn’t get a new (or new-to-me) book all year long. If the author’s last name is in a part of the alphabet I’ve already completed, then that book will move to the top of the to-be-read list. If it’s in a latter part, into the bookshelf it goes until I reach that section. However, I hope this Reading Challenge will curb my “excessive,” “unnecessary” (words from non-book lovers, obviously) book buying habit.
- I will not stop checking books out at the library. This Reading Challenge will also hopefully curb my habit of checking out five or six books at once and only getting through two or three of them. Instead, I will try to take out just one or two at a time.
- I will write a monthly recap here on the blog that will include the books I’ve read, those I’m keeping, and those I’m parting with. I’ll supplement each blog post with a #bookstagram post, too (follow me here).
- I will try to work in a couple of audiobooks and ebooks along the way. My new-found love for the former tells me not to avoid them for an entire year, and my NetGalley responsibility for the latter reminds me that they will be in my life.
- I will not be suspending my From My Bookshelf feature, and I will not be including my volume of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales in this Challenge. The only way the FMB monthly posts would interfere with my Reading Challenge posts is if I decide to discard a book that I’ve profiled in FMB. But I’m not going to make a fuss about that now; I will cross that book bridge when I get to it! And since my reading of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales is an ongoing project, I’m going to omit it from my shelves and from this Challenge. Maybe I’ll finally get one of those stately podiums seen in rich mahogany libraries!
Those are the guidelines for my 2018 Reading Challenge. It will span many genres and time periods, and by the end of the year, I hope to be surrounded by only the books that have brought and will continue to bring me joy. I will be back to update this post with the titles of each book, because I think it will be fun to collectively portray which books I’ve read, kept, or discarded.
Finally, link up to your 2018 Reading Challenge in the comments! Share your thoughts on mine, and tell me if you have ever taken on a similar challenge and whether it was a success or not. Enjoy the rest of your 2017 reading, and thank you for stopping by!
*Pride and Prejudice will not be a victim of this. I only used it for the example.