downsizing book collections: 4

I stacked the unread fiction into separate piles…many piles…many, many piles. The rule—they could not go back onto the shelves and into the collection until they had been read. It was a formidable task.  Fortunately, I had long ago established the practice of “if it doesn’t grab you in the first 50 pages, dump it”. A practice I started when I finally realized I would not be able to read EVERY BOOK EVER WRITTEN and was wasting time on books with little value when I could have been reading something really great. Just because I started a book did not mean I had to finish it. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy cured me of that notion. I hated that book all the way through, but I made myself finish it anyway. Maybe, it was so I could brag that I’d read it; or maybe it was because I’d hoped the ending would justify the beginning and the middle. It didn’t.

Re-think your reading “habits” and stop doing what doesn’t work. When you read for pleasure no one else governs what or how you read, not your Mom, your 5th grade teacher, old college professor, the librarian, or the N.Y. Times bestseller list.  Don’t feel compelled to finish a book you’re not enjoying. And most important: read what you have. What’s the point of having a book that never gets read?

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