Lots planned at Bluestalking for the coming year, including more book chatter, author interviews, sharing of links and resources, etc. Lots! I'm actually pretty excited about it, which may sound uncharacteristically chipper coming from me. I fear my reputation as a crusty curmudgeon is in tatters. But trust me: any symptom is temporary.
As my 2012 summary said, 2012 was extraordinarily good to me, reading-wise. Not so great life-wise, though. It was the year of the mind-blowing read and the fascinating interview with many a kind and generous author, to all of whom I owe a great debt. Unfortunately, I didn't get to as many author events as I'd have liked - certainly not as many as the year before - but I'll see what I can do to remedy that this year. I may even make a big book event or two.
Regarding matters book-related on the home front, it's been called to my attention that my books are swiftly pushing the humanoids out of all our common living spaces. I'll admit I buy a lot of books - and receive them, as well - but the numbers in which they're reproducing are the stuff of legend. They're like rabbits, only without the smell and little pellets.
Far be it from me to say anyone can own too many books but I admit, without reservation, I own too many unread books. I don't expect to get through my entire collection in a lifetime but it wouldn't be such a bad thing to narrow things down, even just remind myself what all I own. So, 2013, you are officially the year I begin the process of reducing the size of my book collection.
How does a bibliophile go about winnowing her books? My method, which I developed after much forethought, is to take it slowly, stack by stack, nothing too overwhelming. Actually, it'll give me less time to spend in bookstores, occupying myself with books I already own instead of shelling out more $ on new books, working with my own books satisfying that book lust I too often channel into accumulating. It's a win/win.
First, there must be a process of elimination, a method of weeding out the worthy from the unworthy, the reads from the donations - or sales via Amazon Marketplace. Each book will be evaluated on merit, employing Nancy Pearl's 50 Page Rule, which is exactly what it sounds like: after reading 50 pages, if a book doesn't grab, out it goes.
But before that, to narrow the field, Goodreads and Amazon are generally reliable sources in helping to determine a work's relative merit. Because my taste is fairly esoteric, I won't necessarily toss out anything other readers may have felt a bit lukewarm about. If popular reviews are bad, and I'm still on the fence, I'll try 50 Pages, then make my determination based on these two criteria. The goal is to give each book a fair shot, without rendering the whole process so long it becomes tedious and overwhelming. I need to see progress early on, to feel confident I'm moving in the direction of owning a library filled with quality, not mere quantity. But trust me: this place will still put many libraries to shame.
What makes it through this grueling process of elimination will go back on my shelves. To seal the deal I'll slap a bookplate inside the cover, symbolizing "I intend to read this book." That doesn't mean I'll read it now (though it doesn't mean I won't, either), or set some arbitrary date by which to finish it. It only means this is a book worth the space it occupies; this is a book I'll pass on to my descendants, hoping they're readers... The alternative doesn't bear thinking about. So I won't.
Employing this method I estimate I can get through the thousands of books in my collection within the next two to three years. Yes, you read that correctly: YEARS. When I say I own thousands I mean literal thousands, not in "man-speak," either. THOUSANDS. Four-digit numbers
By the end of the project I'll have logged each book into my library at Goodreads, all categorized and counted, crossed and dotted. Won't that be lovely? Then I won't have to scramble, struggling to remember which of Wodehouse's books I own and which I still need to buy. Duplication of titles will be but a distant memory!
I'll be living the dream, my friends. Living the dream. Here's to 2013 and another year of great reading.