04 November 2010

Back to the Book Question

I feel a bit like a kid today: I'm counting down the days until school is out.  Or rather, till my current class is done (5 days!).  I have three more assignments, including one 15 page research paper, which will be about the systems engineering behind e-readers.

In any case, I get a very short break between classes, only 5 days, so what I'm actually thinking about is how to spend those days.  Two of them, Saturday and Sunday, will be taken up with a Renaissance Festival and a Celtic Festival and Highland Games (very excited about both... even budgeted for souvenirs, i.e. cool jewelry...).  For the remaining three days, there are two goals (big step for me: notice the lack of house cleaning objectives!):

  1. Beat Lego Harry Potter (almost done w/ Year 4, just need to go back and play to 100%)
  2. Par down my to-read lists.
No typo, lists.  There are 3!  One on Goodreads, one on a spreadsheet, and one that's a stack of books in my room.  Obviously, there's a lot of overlap, but I suspect some books have sneaked onto one list or another without my acknowledgement.   Based on what I wrote before and the awesome feedback I received, here are my new book elimination rules:
  1. Any Star Wars books/series that I started and didn't like (I'm looking at you, Coruscant Nights!) or that I haven't yet started will be eliminated.
  2. Any book I've owned more than 4 years without reading will be eliminated or boxed, no exceptions (and I can't cheat here, there's yet another list with proof of ownership for that long).
  3. Any book that I feel will not be read will be eliminated or boxed.
  4. Parts of series that I've never bothered to collect will be eliminated.
Even if I wuss out a bit on #3, I think that's going to take care of most of the dead weight on my shelves.  Anything in a box (call it a "maybe toss it" box) will stay until January 1st.  If I can't remember it in two months, it goes.  I track my reading annually and I want to start next year's reading feeling lightened and not duty-bound to read something because it's on a list.  I want to go to a bookstore and pick up a book without feeling guilty that I have dozens at home that are unread.  I'm inspired by the success of others and knowing that when I eliminate Stuff, I feel healthier.

Are there other rules you would recommend?  Have you successfully done this yourself?  And how do I have a book list party to add some social pressure?  Or should I bribe myself with a treat to celebrate afterwards?


  1. only allow yourself to buy used? that will limit what you can get (unless you use online sources/means) and provide a cheaper way to obtain "new" books since you'll very likely get a credit for your used ones (if you so choose to turn them in at the same location(s)). i'm with you though: paring down my bookshelves is definitely up there on my to-do list!

  2. Hmm... actually, I have some lesser known views on buying used books. That's actually a great idea for a future blog post. Maybe I'll put it up tomorrow. Thanks!