The Impossible Dream

April 7, 2009 at 6:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Do you suppose it’s possible to have, at some point, read every single book in one’s house?  To have not a single volume left unperused on any shelf?  (Excluding the phone book, or…?)

I’m merging households this summer, for the first time in nine years.  It seems like as good a time as any to try to clear some space in the bookshelves.  Honestly, half of what I have right now is either a library book, on loan from a friend, or was passed on to me by someone with the intention that I pass it on again.  (I almost never keep a book once I’ve read it).  I don’t feel like I can just… offload… these books, because I do intend to read them.

I can stop any time, I swear!

Anyway, what this means is that I’ll be reading a strange mishmash of things for the next few weeks.  Hand-me-down books are a lot like second-hand clothes – while they may suit the new owner, they reflect the taste of their original purchaser, and so standing next to one another they may appear to be odd mates.  For instance, I just finished a Jodi Picoult that was tucked in there with a couple of Booker Prize winners.

That’s the other problem – I just got over being quite sick and lacked the brainpower to read anything more complicated than fashion magazines.  I looked at my stack of library books and found they were all heavy non-fiction topics, with the exception of one 600-page novel.  Sigh.  So anyway, I figured I would start with the grocery-store paperbacks and work my way up from there as I start getting more oxygen to my brain.  (No offense, Ms. Picoult, I’m just jealous of your alarmingly good looks).

Anyway, to make a long story short, I’m going to try to read my way through half a bookcase by the end of the summer.  Is true love motivation enough for such a seemingly lost cause?



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  1. I wish you the best of luck on your goal! At one point when I was a teen, I had actually read all the books on my own shelves, and was striking out into my parent’s shelves (leatherbound classics, mostly) when I wasn’t at the public library. But since my own collection has grown out of control, I can’t see that ever happening again.

  2. I had at one point read all of the books in my house because we were on a budget freeze for a few months. It was like living hell (excuse my language). But it really sucked. I don’t recommend it!

  3. That sounds like an excellent challenge! It’s one I need to undertake- we have five bookshelves in the house, and they’re all full. A lot of them are books I put away for my son for the future, but a LOT of them are my thrift store treasures, too. Good luck to you! 😉

  4. My bookshelves are overflowing – I need to sit down and read some of those books. Read-a-thon, maybe?

  5. I guess we have to ask ourselves the question, if we don’t really want to read the books we have on the shelf already, why do we have them? Insulation? Possible resale value? Fuel? Ammunition in case we are attacked by zombies?

    I try not to keep around any book I know I could get at the library, especially if the author has long faded into the age of legends. For instance, Jane Austen won’t be earning any royalties where she is right now, and every library in the English-speaking world probably has a copy of “Pride and Prejudice.”

    I just wanted to mention zombies and P&P in the same comment because I’m so excited that “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” should be in my mailbox any day now!

  6. I’m moving for the first time EVER… out of my childhood bedroom, so I’ve amassed a LOT of books. I’m thinking I’ll just add some of the books to my TBR list and get to them later… moving has enough pressures without trying to read all my books too. LOL

    P.S. Check out BookCrossing if you haven’t already — travelling books!

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