We are unequivocally strong advocates for #theunreadshelfproject2018 that began this year. We absolutely love what it stands for, and the way it encourages readers to take ownership of their purchases and to take control of that ever-growing TBR pile at home. With that said, we are four months in and we've learned some things about ourselves through this project that we didn't think about prior to starting.
Our shelves Lack diversity
I have not always read so widely and diversely. My book collection has been decades in the making, and doesn't quite reflect the broad range of books I've been drawn to in the past year or two. I've learned and developed so much in recent years that my reading life has had a dramatic overhaul, but my shelves haven't quite caught up. I also quit buying books like I used to. I purchase books I know I'll love, can't wait to read, plus I keep books that have been gifted to me. By contrast, years ago I would just buy anything that sounded good. As my life and tastes mature and grow, I want more than my adolescent book buying self can offer me. Insert: thank you library forever and ever.
Not Using + Supporting Local Libraries
Speaking of the wonderful, wonderful library, I simply cannot forgo supporting it. If nothing else, my children love to go and I love to see what's new, what's recommended, and the simple joy of picking something up at random. It also offers me much more diversity than what I have at home.
It's Okay to Have Books You Haven't Read
Sometimes it's just having the books that matter. Books create an atmosphere all on their own, and their presence is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to continue reading. When guests come over, I love to hear their thoughts on books on my shelves that they've read and I haven't. It gives them courage to offer a full, unfiltered opinion, because I can't yet offer one.
What We're Loving About The Unread Shelf Project
The best thing about this project so far is simply the encouragement! I feel that wonderful surge of motivation to pick up those beloved books that have been waiting for me! Sometimes you just need someone to give you that little push, and that's exactly what this project has done. I love getting to pick from my shelves and to think about what I want from them before I select anything anywhere else.
Slowing Down the Book Buying Process
Seeing how many books I have to read at home has encouraged me to not buy books I honestly just do not need. If my shelves are already full of books I haven't read, it's foolish to add more, especially if I'm just going to push off reading it now because I own it.
Using the Library
I simply don't want to break up with my local library, even if it's temporary. Instead of buying books, I go straight to the online library catalog and find what I'm looking for there. Often times, I'll even ask the library to purchase it and they do! Michaela likes to reserve a stack of books for herself online and pop in to pick them up to supplement her reading for the month.
As far as general progress, we've both read more off of our shelves than we had been previously. Making it something intentional has prompted us to check our shelves first before we head to the library or pick up a new release, and that simple act of prioritizing has helped us make progress. Mixing in our own books has been actually really satisfying; it's forced us to stop procrastinating on some books we've been meaning to read and evaluate our collections more critically; both excellent things for our reading lives!
Are you participating in this project? Have you learned anything thus far?