Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Challenge 2011

After some thought (and a little encouragement from Jen), I've decided to do another "book challenge" in 2011. The best reason is because I can't trust myself if I don't. After Book Challenge 2009, I went on a binge in January 2010 that added about 25 books to my piles. Borders was having a hell of a clearance sale, but still...

The primary goal again will be to finish more books than I acquire. I could try to beat my total of 101 books finished in 2009, but that might encourage me to focus on the low-hanging fruit, the thinner volumes on my "unread" shelf. A better goal would be to increase the margin of finished to acquired since whittling down the piles is the whole point of the exercise.

This year I will add another element to my challenge. In recognition of the utter impossibility of actually reading all of those books, I will pick out two books every month that I will never read. There are some books that I acquired long ago when my interests were different. Others have a limited "shelf life." For example, I can't muster much interest in reading political titles from the Clinton era or even the Bush years anymore. Ideally, I would cull my stacks on a regular basis, but I've never been able to. This way I will have to do it.

What about reviewing every book online, a task that became somewhat onerous in 2009? Jen suggested that I could write about when I bought the book and why, plus whether it was worth reading. That seems appropriate considering I have confessed that I enjoy shopping for books even more than I enjoy reading them. Her idea made me think of 7UP and the famous "Uncola" advertising campaign from the 1970s.* So I may post "unreviews" instead of real reviews.

The only unresolved issue at the moment is whether I will be able to use Amazon links to illustrate my posts, but that is out of my hands.

* Incidentally, the most dramatic moment in my family's Christmas celebration this year was when one of those classic 7UP Uncola glasses -- the kind shaped like an upside-down Coca-Cola glass -- took a dive from my grandparents' cupboard, spraying shards of glass across the kitchen floor.

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