Resolutions, kept and broken

Perhaps the end of February is too soon to https://bookshelffantasies.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/j0439527.jpg?w=225really take stock, but certain trends are becoming crystal clear to me — namely, that my well-intentioned resolutions for 2013 just aren’t all recipes for success. I can see which way these things are going already… and it’s truly a mixed bag.

Let’s start with where I’m safely on track:

I resolved to organize my bookshelves. Well, I can’t say that I’ve completed the task, but in little chunks and bites, I’m making a dent. My books and their neighbors are starting to make some sort of weird sense. I can more or less find whatever I want within one or two tries. And hey — I’ve got ten more months to get it right!

I resolved to not start any new series, other than a) those written by authors whose works I read no matter what, or b) series that are new to me but have, in fact, already been completed by the author. So far, so good. The only new series I’ve allowed myself thus far is Gail Carriger’s new Finishing School series, starting with the newly published Etiquette & Espionage — and Gail C. is on my “read no matter what” list, so it’s all good.

I resolved to dive in and slowly work my way through the book of fairy tales I’d been coveting all of last fall. I’m happy to report that I’m making steady progress, and have now read about 1/3 of the stories. Seeing as how I usually abandon all short story books I attempt to read, I’d say I’m on the path of righteousness here.

I resolved to break out of my fiction-loving world and read 3 – 5 books from non-fiction genres. And here I am, two months into 2013, and I’ve just finished reading my first one! I read Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild this past week, and really enjoyed it. Next up in my non-fiction quest? I’m not 100% sure yet, but I’m leaning toward science or history. Stay tuned…

So far, so good. I seem to be sticking with my resolutions. Until, of course, you consider the #1 resolution on my list:

Maintain a healthy ratio of old to new: I have piles and piles of unread books in my house, at least 20 unread books on my Kindle, and yet I still gravitate toward grabbing the newest releases, checking new titles out from the library, and ignoring what I already have. Well, it has to stop! Stop, I tell you! My resolution for 2013 is to aim for at least a 2:1 ratio. For every new book, whether purchased or borrowed from the library, I will read at least two that are already in my collection. I think this will be my biggest challenge, to be honest, and I thought of settling for even a 1:1 ratio… but hey, let’s aim high.

FAIL! I am utterly and completely failing at sticking to this goal. Yes, I’ve read a few good books from off the shelves… but I can’t help myself! I keep acquiring more… and more… and more. Library or purchase, new or used, the books keep coming. I read book reviews, or I stumble across something interesting in a store window display, or I see what my friend is reading, and I just have to get it. Now. Even if I’m not going to read it for a while. Here are the new-to-me books that have made their way into my home since January 1st:

  • A Small Death in the Great Glen by A. D. Scott
  • Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt
  • Hanging By A Thread by Sophie Littlefield
  • The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
  • The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll
  • The Reinvention of Love by HelenHumphreys
  • Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear
  • My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
  • Graphic novel series Y: The Last Man and Runaways
  • About 15 books picked up at my workplace book swap
  • Library books, including my current read, The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler

So, yeah. Not doing so great on the no new books front. My healthy ratios are kaput.

But I may be okay with that. I guess I should just pat myself on the back for my small successes, and keep plowing forward. I solemnly swear that I will make a dent in the numbers of books sitting unread on my shelves by the end of 2013 — just maybe not as big a dent as I’d naively assumed I could make.

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