Friday, August 31, 2018

Can you have a capsule reading wardrobe?

I have never been one to minimize on books. But you probably knew that already.

So recently I was thinking through that clothes problem of "if I buy one more thing, I'll have to get rid of something else, and I really don't want to, because I like what I have." I have a similar issue with books: they come home, by ones and twos; or long-awaited holds drop into my Overdrive account; and, like taking an overfilled buffet plate, I sometimes don't get more than a taste of them before the next clear-out. I do finish a lot of books too, but sometimes they go by too fast.

I made a list of what I need to and want to read and re-read in the coming months, including some bit-by-bit books. Where do I want to be, reading-wise, when 2020 rolls in? I have textbooks, they're high priority. Bible reading as well. But then what? Do I want to be here in a year and a half and say that I didn't crack the cover of Pilgrim's Progress in that time? Or that I made no steady progress through a Charlotte Mason volume? Or that I never did finish Wendell Berry's Sabbath poems, or The Invention of Clouds?

 It's a pretty serious-looking list, but it's not impossible. Here's the thing, though: if I start throwing in more books, even good ones, something good I wanted to read is going to get edged out. See the parallel?

Of course plans can change. Books turn out to be boring, and pants ride up. Replacements are sometimes necessary. But in the meantime, I'm looking at books that didn't make the list, and thinking, "Do you really deserve shelf real estate if I have no plan to even look at you until 2020?"

Some of them do, because I know I will pull them out when I know just where that quote is, or because I suddenly want to re-read that Elizabeth Goudge forest scene. Some of them are just treasures.

Others...they're falling into the "so many books, so little time" category. Like thriftworthy clothes,  great titles pop up all the time in our sorting space, between the romance novels, the diet books, and the multiple copies of Eat Pray Love.  But I'm just one reader with just so much time. Knowing which books I'm looking forward to reading (textbooks included) makes it easier to thin out the rest.

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