We’ve nearly made it to the fourth month of the year, so I’m also nearly done with my self-imposed three-month book acquisition ban. My goal was to not acquire any books from any outside source — bookstore, library, online, publishers — and only read books I already have in the house.
So how did it go? Well, I cheated a little. I did feel that I needed to read and review The Maze at Windermere, which came by way of a favorite college professor. And I bought one new book for myself, A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry by Gregory Orr, because it just looked so excellent (and it is). But otherwise I was pretty good! I’ve been reading books that have been sitting around for years, and feeling glad that I finally gave them the attention they deserve.
Though I’m not going to maintain such a strict ban for the rest of the year, I’d like to keep doing this as much as possible. It goes along with a theme in my life, which I could call “Be happy with what you have.” I want to stop chasing new experiences and potentialities and be more grounded in where I am right here and now. Reading the books that are patiently waiting on my shelves could be a help with that.
What books stood out for me during these three months? I’m really glad I finally read The Art of Waging Peace, a year after I bought it. I’m still thinking about its principles and how I can make them more active in my life.
And I loved Peter Dickinson’s creative approach to storytelling based on Old Testament tales in City of Gold, with outstanding pictures by Michael Foreman. This has been sitting around much longer, at least a decade or more. It’s these kinds of treasures that don’t deserve to be ignored just because I own them and theoretically could read them anytime. The moment is now!
I got a lot of pleasure out of rereading during these three months. I suppose it should be a pretty sure bet that I’ll enjoy books I liked enough to keep around after the first read, but that’s not always the case. I was especially impressed once more by Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye and reminded that I need to read more of her fiction.
So, though I’m not counting or reaching for a numerical goal, I feel good about what I achieved and inspired to keep going. I know it will be great for me to penetrate my book collection further and enlarge my awareness of what I own.
How have your challenges been going this year? Are you revising any goals?