So there's a wonderful project spreading through Bookstagram right now: #TheUnreadShelfProject2018. Basically the idea is that you take stock of all the unread books on your shelf, and prioritize reading them in 2018. Simple! This is, of course, going to look different for everyone, but I did some thinking over the past few days, and decided I'm jumping in with both feet.
One of my major goals (and Rikki's too!) for 2018 was to read all those books on my shelves that I really want to read "someday" but keep putting off for one reason or another. I also have this silly tendency to avoid reading books I know I'll love, because I don't want them to be over. As a result, my shelves are awash with books I'm pretty sure I'm going to love and haven't read.
This is going to be the year that changes.
Basically, here's how I'm structuring it for myself:
- Cull my collection: This is the obvious first step: get rid of stuff I don't actually want to read! I'm planning on KonMari-ing the crap out of my shelves and getting rid of anything that I'm not excited to read. I have quite a few books on my shelf that I purchased years and years ago, and I've changed significantly as a reader since then. I'll also be returning all my library books, just for a clean slate.
- Make a list: I got a lovely new journal for Christmas from my step-sister that I decided will be dedicated to this project. First, a master list of all the unread books on my shelves, and following that, space for a bit about the experience reading each one. I'm interested to see how my expectation of a book corresponds to the actual experience of reading it, because so many of these I have built expectations for for years. It's like I created my own hype for them, and I'm curious to see if I was right or wrong.
- Start prioritizing: Once I have a fresh stack of books I'm excited about, I need to organize them so they are readily available and in plain sight. I have a bookshelf in my bedroom I'm planning to use exclusively for this project, and everything else needs to go back to it's home on my main shelves. I'll be sticking high priority books on the top shelf, and lower and lower priority as I go down. That way I have to read the best ones FIRST.
- Reduce library use: Currently, I use my local library...let's say "excessively". I check out a huge stack each month, usually finish half of it, and renew the rest to oblivion, while also putting ten more titles on hold. Since I'm working on reading from my own shelves, I'm planning on limiting myself to one library book a month most months. There will always be that one random book I'm dying for that I don't own, but I need to slow down on swiping that library card.
- Buy/request less: I don't need to place myself on a book ban simply I honestly don't buy that many, but I definitely want to continue being highly, highly selective about purchasing books. Supporting my local indie stores is really important to me so if there's something I want, I'm going to give them my money, no hesitation. Also, Rikki and I have the wonderful opportunity to request books from publishers, and usually have those requests granted, but right now I need to start being ultra-selective, cause I've got a backlog of ARC's to get through!
I'm not dealing with hundreds of unread books on my shelves (thankfully!), so I'm hopeful this strategy will see me finish everything waiting for me in my personal library this year. I honestly wonder how I will feel at the end, and how my relationship with my books will evolve. Will I feel annoyed that my shelves no longer hold fresh possibilities? Relieved that I finished and enjoyed the things I own? Will I have culled even more from my stacks by the end? Have discovered new favorites? Who knows, but I'm ready to find out!
So...who's joining me?