My lack of Internet has made me surprisingly productive these last few weeks. Among my accomplishments, I've 1) completely unpacked and settled into my new apartment, 2) reduced my wardrobe to one closet, 3) tried several new recipes, 4) hung shelves, 5) went to the gym four times a week and 6) did a ton of reading.
The last distraction has been the easiest to do. Sneaking in time while cooking and before bed, I've read four books in two weeks, pretty good for me. One book I just finished today (while waiting for the Internet hookup guy) is called "So Many Books, So Little Time".
I came across the accompanying blog a few months before stumbling upon the book at the library. This seemed rather serendipitous so I checked it out.
Basic synopsis: The author decides to read a book week for year and chronicle the whole experience to see how and if reading affects her life (and vice versa). You can use this book as a list of recommendations or a commentary on American life. Sara Nelson is clearly an intelligent woman with a lot of interesting things to say. It also helps that she reminds me of a combination of a couple of my good friends.
What I keep thinking about though is the fact that Sara owns most of the books she read, which are part of a collection of about 3000 books in her New York apartment. As someone who's organized the library with 10,000 books, I can understand how much space 3000 books takes up and how much money they cost.
I've grown up with the philosophy “never throw out a book” but increasingly I wonder about the importance of keeping every single book I've read or what to read. Last year, I started randomly sending books to people that I thought they'd enjoy and I also started swapping books at www.swaptree.com. And with resources like public libraries and audio books subscription services, I wonder if I need to own all my book possibilities.
I'm guilty of certain behaviors talked about in this book: displaying certain books that visitors would happen upon in my house (the intellectual, interesting discussion stuff) and hiding the self-help, I'm-secretly-crazy books. I've publicly read to give people an impression of me. Books are not only recreation in our culture but as a status symbol, like clothing.
This book has made me realize how many great books I have to look forward to and also that I don’t need to go to the bookstore and buy every single one of them. This isn't just because I don't have pretty cherry wood bookcases to put them on like Sara Nelson but also because, as she reminded me, I'm not going to fall love with most of the books I read. And I'm going to save my money and precious shelf space for the great loves.
If you’re looking for some new books to read or want to think about how books play a role in your life, check this one out…of your local library!