Reading Through One’s Entire Bookcase

Photo of three Margaret Atwood books, The Robber Bride, The Edible Woman, and Alias Grace

The Robber Bride, The Edible Woman, & Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

So I’ve decided to start a project recently. We’ll see how long I can keep it up.

The idea is that I want to read all the books I’ve actually got. I do like the fact that in my collection of 2000 (probably more by now) books, there are many that I haven’t yet read. This means that when I’m casting about for the next thing I want to read, there will always be something new available. On the other hand, there are some books I’ve had for several years, and I haven’t read them yet. So I decided to see whether I could just start at the beginning of the first shelf of the first bookcase and just go across the shelf, reading all the books on it, and then move to the second shelf, and so on.

I’ve just finished my third book on the first shelf. Three Margaret Atwood books, as it happens. I’ll write another post about those later, but it occurred to me when I was starting the second one that I have a whole bookcase full of science fiction and fantasy books as well, and it wasn’t part of the original idea. So now I’ve decided to alternate between them.

And then I have that bookcase that is mostly history books. And that other one, two of whose shelves are entirely language textbooks or “teach-yourself-[insert language here]” books. I think I’m going to have to exempt those. I can’t be expected to become fluent in Italian or Klingon or ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics before I can move on to the next book, surely.

This is going to be more complicated than I thought. And what happens when I come to a book that makes me think, “I am really not in the mood for that author/book” right now? We shall see. I might already have reached that point if I actually had a copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I read it once, was very glad I read it, and don’t want to read it again. If I have any other books like that in my collection…hm. I might need to donate them somewhere.

But anyway, after three books, I’m still with the program. The next book, switching to the SF&F bookcase, is Douglas Adams’ The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul. Big switch from Margaret Atwood!

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