Sunday, March 31, 2013

Remi's Remix or How I Plan To Topple My TBR Pile Without Inflicting Great Harm on Myself

Hello out there.  It's been a while, hasn't it?  Anyways, I've been mulling over a way to revamp (restart) this blog for the past few months and I'm finally sitting down to actually start doing the writing.  So with a Starbucks concoction at my side and good tunes on the ipod, here goes.

I think it will come as no surprise to the people who know me or who have read this blog that I buy a lot of books.  I'm an avid reader, sure, but in some ways I'm an even more dedicated book buyer.  Yard sales, online, bookstores, thrift stores. . . If there is a way to acquire a book, I've probably tried it.  Well, except stealing, that is.  Heck, I even bought my tattered copy of Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book (though I probably shouldn't brag about that).  I love buying books.  So much so that some of my favourite vacations have involved treks (pilgrimages) to bookstores.  I mean, who can go to Paris without wandering amongst the lovely shelves Shakespeare and Company?  A train trip from New York to San Francisco?  More accurately, it was a trip from The Strand (NYC) to City Lights (SF).  So, while I do read a lot, the piles of books in my place tend to grow much faster than I can read.

Now, the dedicated book fiends out there are probably asking themselves "Hey, what's the problem?"  I mean, there are far worse habits to have, aren't there?  Isn't it almost a duty to rescue good books from bad (meaning not your) shelves?  How can a person really just pass by that lightly worn and wonderful hardcover of [insert great book title here]?  Seriously.  I've asked myself all these questions and more and I have the groaning bookshelves to prove it. 

Some of what I'm dealing with. . .
The problem is, a large number of the books I have taking up space in my place haven't been finished.  In some cases, they haven't even been started.  Maybe I bought the book with the intention of starting it after I finish the one I've been reading and then got distracted by something else.  Maybe the book didn't grab me after the first few chapters and I got distracted by something else.  Maybe I got distracted by something else but then, in turn, got distracted by something else entirely. . .

(There might be a theme here.)

. . . So now I've come to the point where I want to do something about this.  Sure, I love having all these books but what's the point of owning a book you don't wind up reading?  Maybe it's finally time to read some of those great 19th century tomes I've been accumulating to read someday.  Or the great sci-fi novel I read about on the NPR website (a great spot for book suggestions, if you haven't been).  Or maybe it's time to tackle some of the books I planned to read back in university but never got around to it.  So many options and they are all sitting there waiting for me on my shelves. 

So that's what I've been thinking about.  Of course, thinking about doing something and doing something are two different things.  If I make it a challenge to myself, I feel I'll be more likely to stick with it.  Readers of this blog will know I used to take part in John Mutford's Canadian Book Challenge.  I really enjoyed it for a couple of reasons.  First, it forced me to read a lot of great Canadian books (never a bad thing).  Second, it helped to discipline my reading, forcing me to finish what I started.  Thinking of this, I have decided to blog about this project as a way of keeping myself honest.  Here are the details:

The challenge - Remi's Remix (thanks to Emma for the title)

The goal - to read and blog about 20 books I had on my shelves on January 1, 2013 that I had not finished.  The only caveat is that I may reread a book but only if I had bought it in a new edition (i.e. ditching a tattered paperback for a hardcover) that I had not read from by January 1.

The deadline - December 31, 2013.

That's it.  The caveat is really only there for one book right now and I will explain the reasoning when I get there.

If you're wondering why I picked January 1, the reason is that I actually planned and started my rereading back in January.  I'm just getting to the blogging now.  Right now, I'm only into my third book but I'm starting to pick up the pace.  The only real problem with this challenge is that too many of my favourite writers are coming out with books this year.  I just finished Andrew Pyper's latest, The Demonologist, and it was great.  Elizabeth Ruth and Joe Hill both have new novels out this spring and Margaret Atwood has a new one this fall.  I'm sure there will be others.  So while I hope to buy fewer books this year, I can't stop completely.  Such is the life of the book geek.