Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

#bookbrag and straightening things out

Recently, a friend of mine lamented her increasingly large "to-read" pile. She had, sad to say, developed a rather substantial habit and had purchased far more books than she had capacity to read in a short amount of time.

Leaving aside her shopping habits, I told her that, in order to get through the books she should make a list. I am very fond of lists, myself. They always help me focus, and given that I am a bit addled in my head when it comes to getting things done, I like to refer back to lists to keep me honest and on track. This is all part of, even this late in life, figuring out how the hell to deal with my rampant inattentiveness. So she put together a list of all the books that she had that she hadn't yet read, and began plowing through them, marking them off the list as she finished them. Excellent solution, and all's right with the world, right?

Not so fast.

I started looking around my own, rather impressive collection (oooh, new hashtag: #bookbrag), and found that there were many, many books in my own collection that I had yet to get around to reading. Now, I may be a hypocrite, but I am not a hypocrite! If she could do it, so could I. So I began making a mental list of all the books in my collection that, either through lack of interest, or through fear (yes you CAN be afraid of books. Shut up.) I had yet to read. And there were... a few. A lot. Like, more than 30.

So in the interest of not being that guy, I have begun a project. I will read all of the remaining books in my collection. If, by the time my birthday rolls around in 2012, I have NOT read these books I must get rid of them. That's it. No excuses. I've got to start somewhere. If I don't read these books then I obviously don't want to read these books and I shouldn't keep them in my collection, because they're just taking up space.

And some of these books are awesome! There's V by Pynchon, a couple of books by Calasso, Don Quixote, Moby Dick, The Golden Bough, some books on Shamanism, and a whole bunch more. I'll publish a full list soon.

In other news, the other major project in my life (the new book I'm writing) has taken a major turn for the organized, and I feel more excited about it than ever. I've outlined the book I'm writing and now large chunks of it seem to be fitting into place. It may not be as digressive as originally planned (or it may - now that I know the structure I can write in circles and always know where I'm ultimately headed) but it has legs, a sense of purpose, a backbone.

I'm pretty excited. Now to write the damn thing.

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