Thursday, January 08, 2009

Book Challenge 2009

Normally, I scoff at New Year's resolutions, but for some reason, I made a ton of them for 2009. In retrospect, it's more like a to-do list, but if turning tasks into resolutions motivates me, I guess that's good. Anyway, the toughest resolution I made this year that I intend to keep (as opposed to merely "good intentions" like weight loss) regards books.

My book habit is out of control, as ridiculous and pathetic as heroin addiction, albeit not as unhealthy. It's been growing for a while (recall my 30-book purchase at Powell's in Portland in June 2007), but last year was just insane. Anytime I went somewhere, whether downtown or in the suburbs, I stopped at a bookstore or two on the way home. I began buying groceries in Niles so I could visit two bookstores in the process (this also fed another addiction, smoked bacon and cheddar panini at the Corner Bakery). When I finished a book, I often celebrated by buying several more. I hit every sale at Half Price Books, including a whirlwind tour of every store in the Chicago area for the "20% off everything" Labor Day sale. I bought so many books that weekend that I hid several bags full from my wife out of embarrassment (if that isn't a "cry for help," I don't know what is!). Plus I used an endless stream of e-mail coupons at Borders and Barnes & Noble. I was completely out of control.

Now I have piles upon piles of unread books. You'd think I was starting a library.

Ideally, I would stop buying books cold turkey, but I know that's unrealistic. Besides, I love a deal, and when Borders sends me a 40% off coupon (as opposed to the usual 20-30% offers), it would kill me not to use it. But I have to rein in this compulsive behavior somehow.

So here's my resolution:
To finish reading more books than I acquire.
Note the specific wording. I say finish reading instead of just reading. Finishing a book is more important than strictly reading the entire thing during 2009. That gives me an incentive to plow through my stack of half-read books. Since finish works in my favor, I counter it with acquire rather than purchase. That way I can't indulge my addiction by asking for a bunch of books for my birthday or Christmas.

My wife's first reaction was utter disbelief, so I know I'm in for a challenge!


This blog has been courting death for several months, but I hope to repurpose it for my resolution. That means it will be mostly about books (maybe I should rename it DJReader?). I'll list every book I finish and try to write at least a brief review, along with updates on my positive or negative balance for the year.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I feel I should make this resolution, as well. It's funny, but for a few months last year (while I was employed!) I was reading 5-6 books per month. Now I'm down to 1-2.

Anyway, I look forward to book recommendations! (Like I need the encouragement.)