Project Read My Bookcase

Since I started my new job in April I’ve been reading more, which is great. One of the best things about working (particularly in a junior position) as opposed to studying, is that leisure time can be proper leisure time unburdened by residual feelings of ‘I should be studying’ guilt. This is especially true of reading time, which can be proper reading-for-pleasure time unburdened by feelings of ‘I should be reading course-work’ guilt. One of the great things about working in a library, is that I’m working with people who also love reading – so recommendations and book-lending are constant.

When I started this job and simultaneously reduced my commute and expenses by moving back in with my parents, I unpacked all of my books onto my bookcase in no particular order (with the exception of series, which were kept together) and decided I would read/re-read them all in the order they were now on the shelf. In so doing, I would also cull my books by ruthlessly deciding after reading which books should be kept and which given away – through application of the ‘will I ever read this again?’ test. Thus far, project Read My Bookcase has been almost utterly unsuccessful. In six months I’ve only read about 6 books from my bookcase, because other books keep getting in the way!

Firstly, as mentioned above, people at work keep lending me books.
Also, I joined the book club at work. We meet every month/six weeks or so and discuss either one or two assigned books.
The book club books I try to get from the library (either the Glasgow library or the Perthshire library van, depending on whether I’m at my parents’ or boyfriendface’s house), so that I’m not wasting money on the book (and sabotaging the bookcase weeding agenda) if I don’t enjoy it.
Whenever I return a book to the library van, I feel bad if I don’t borrow another book.
Book club reading, library loans, and books borrowed from colleagues all need to be read by a certain date/within an acceptable time-frame and thus take priority over project Read My Bookcase books.

Then there’s the commuting factor. Mostly I now drive to work, but initially from Glasgow I was taking public transport – which I still do sometimes if I don’t want to drive. This means 15 mins on the subway, 30-50 mins on the train (depending which train I catch), and then 15-20 mins on the bus. And then the same in reverse to get home. From a reading point of view, this commute is great (apart from the bus, which makes me travel-sick if I try to read).
There is, however, Commuter Reading Problem 1: duration of commute vs. time required to finish current book vs. how big is my bag, and can I be bothered carting a ‘spare’ book around?
The obvious Solution A = e-reader, but then that wouldn’t help project Read My Bookcase.
I think maybe Solution B = bigger bag.

Of course what frequently happens is that I finish my book on the outward journey, and acquire another book for the return journey. This is even more problematic when it occurs on a journey into town (Glasgow) because thanks to Waterstones’ deals the book (singular) for the return journey generally multiplies into books (plural). (Incidentally, the biggest danger of implementing Commuter Reading Problem Solution B (bigger bag) is that it will involve a trip into town to purchase a big bag, which will mean being in town in the vicinity of Waterstones with an empty bag big enough to fit ALL THE BOOKS IN THE WORLD!!!!!!)

Most of these books bought in Glasgow end up at boyfriendface’s, which essentially means that I also have a book-collection there, albeit a far smaller one. The ‘living between two places’ complication means that frequently when I finish a book I’m at boyfriendface’s and take my next book from there, thus delaying progress onto the next project Read My Bookcase book. In fairness sub-project Read My Books at Boyfriendface’s is progressing at a far swifter pace, and I actually do have a wee pile of ‘unlikely to read again’ books to be taken to the charity shop.

So, project Read My Bookcase is progressing at snail’s pace; however general reading is at it’s highest point since my undergrad (English) degree. I’ve been keeping a list since March(ish) and have read 32 books (39 if you split up several multi-volumes into the individual works, which I haven’t done on the list).

P.S. – I’m probably going to start blogging mini book reviews in order to combat ‘read it 2 months ago; can’t remember anything about it’ syndrome.

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5 responses to “Project Read My Bookcase

  1. I envy you! I have not succeeded in true guilt free reading – except at bedtime – since my first baby was born – apart from when I’m on holiday. The big exception was when we took off and lived in our camper van for several months – all “children” happily getting on with their lives independently of us – sort of (there were various calls relating to cooking questions etc but as it was always from a distance, I could give advice without getting involved in the work!) So I did actually READ BOOKS in a way akin to when I was young (I used to sit behind the couch as a child for hours reading, oblivious to all that was going on around me) – avidly, voraciously, totally immersed in the wonderful world of books. So enjoy it Fiona. I’m delighted you have had the sense to choose an occupation where you actually get paid to be involved with books!

    • Haha, yeah – your obvious downfall was going into medicine. That’s clearly not going to be a job that lends itself to free time – for reading or otherwise! Don’t worry – I learned from your mistakes 🙂 xx

  2. So is Human Traces by Seb.Faulkes in your ReadmyBookcase list or have I just added a good but big book to your problem !? XX

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Pingback: Week in review, week ending 9/28/14 | Random thoughts of 210Darryl

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