Literary intentions

Here are the books I want to read this year. They’ve been culled from the many, many unread books in the house.

There are two complementary goals in #theunreadshelfproject: one is to read books already in possession and the other is to put the brakes on book-buying. For me, there’s a tertiary goal: to finish books I’ve already started (about 1/3 of those pictured).

And of course, I want to read more.

Our current political nightmare has turned me into a news consumer, a fact both good and bad. Good, because I need to know what’s going on. Bad, because — well, you know why — because it’s all so overwhelming, alarming and disturbing. Also bad, because it means sacrificing other reading.

Seeing “Top Ten Books of 2017” on Instagram this week made me wonder: had I even read ten books over the previous twelve months? (I had and then some, but lax tracking also wants improving).

So. My shelf is sagging with weighty non-fiction, and since I prefer as a rule to read fiction, these 30 books represent an unbelievably ambitious goal.

And look at the size of the James and Mathiesson novels!

That’s okay. This is about intention and focus and not about making myself miserable. It’s also about changing my relationship to COMPLETION.

Each of the two books that I’ve already finished this year (yes! that’s two books in two days!) spawned ideas for future reading. I could just line titles up on an Amazon wishlist or a Goodreads TBR shelf, but the former is inescapably a shopping site and the latter bugs me for a bunch of reasons, so I’ll make a standing post here instead.

Bear with me while I figure this out.

Meanwhile, we’re bracing for a “bomb cyclone” : up to 12” of snow is on the way, along with nearly hurricane force winds (more the Cape and the Islands, but also here), all to be followed by record shattering cold (they’re predicting -10 to -20 for the weekend). Because of the Super Full Moon two days ago, flooding from storm surge is a real possibility along the coast, too.

I just hope we don’t lose power.

At 17 degrees, Finn and I worked up a good sweat playing fetch this morning. I sniffed the air. Doesn’t smell like snow yet!

18 thoughts on “Literary intentions

  1. gsoweaver

    I hope you don’t lose power too – I just read the article in the WP about the “bomb cyclone.” Glad it is going to miss us in central NC, but I hear that the southeastern coastal roads are already a mess. I’m joining you as far as attempting to read what I have and not buy any more books this year. I love physical books so much – used to manage a small bookstore and I’ve always wanted to own a used bookstore. But I don’t have the room in my small house. Between my husband and me we literally have a few thousand books, I’m sure. I love Goodreads to organize my reading and to get good recommendations from my friends though. 30 books is a lot if you are also an artist, writer, or have a full-time job. Good luck!

    1. deemallon Post author

      Glad the storm is missing you, too. It is much harder for southerners. I mean, we have our thermal underwear and down sleeping bags and gloves, hats, ice scrapers etc. I used to spend so much time in used book stores! I understand the longing. I don’t think I’ll actually get through all thirty books. I do have other things to do. But I think the goal will increase the time spent reading and so it’s worthwhile. I will check out your blog, but I’d love to know how you make goodreads worthwhile.

  2. ravenandsparrow

    I honor your intentions on the reading! It seems like a good way to face the incoming storm. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thanks, Dana. People in my neighborhood take good care of their trees so we’re at slightly less risk of a power outage. Fingers crossed. My sister’s building up in Salem has never lost power and she is blocks and blocks from the water-so she ought to be okay, too. She has a very sweet neighbor who checks on her even if the elder agency has to cancel services for a day or two.

  3. Mo Crow

    loved the story quilt in “The Invention of Wings” and keep seeing “Sing Unburied Sing” in lists of books people want to read this year, will see if it’s in the local library. Old Man Crow reads 2-3 books at once every week but it takes me about two weeks to read one book these days as I read in bed and fall asleep mid chapter which leads to dreaming up spurious scenarios that don’t really happen so it’s always hard to get back to where I was and by then I fall asleep again!

    1. deemallon Post author

      I usually read many books at once, like your man. Taking it more one at a time will be new for me. The Ward novel is one of two omnipresent books that is worth the hype. The other is Celeste Ng’s “little fires everywhere”

  4. Sue Batterham

    I also read in bed and fall asleep, but if I don’t read I don’t sleep😩. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself, and if it’s not enthralling reading, I give it up. Good luck!

    1. deemallon Post author

      One of the main things I’ll do is swap a certain amount of TV for reading. I’ve wanted to do this for a while but it took this challenge to get me started.

  5. RainSluice

    I am looking forward to googling each book on your list (I only recognize one). If I accomplish that much I’ll be very proud of myself. Today I was back teaching in my MakerSpace, after a 2 week break (one week with a horrid cold). I was so excited I didn’t sleep well last night. Now (12 hours later) I am saying to myself, “YESSS. I NEED a snow day, so I can recover from today”.
    Sounds like Boston will get it bad 😦 I’ll be picturing you with Finn, fire in the fireplace and a lot of great books – and leftover yummy soups. I will hope you have all that comfort and not too many days of too severe weather!

    1. deemallon Post author

      Sorry one whole week of vacation was given over to illness! One book you gave us — the one entitled “will the last journalist out please turn out the lights?”

  6. Nancy

    Well Dee, this is a mighty goal!! I hope you succeed because you want to,, so it will feel good 🙂 Hope you keep power and snuggle up and read!

  7. Katrin

    Sound like some really good books! Hope you write about the interesting ones :-). 6:15a here a bit west of the cape and no snow as of yet. Though the air is definitely feeling a bit damp. Last night hubby went out for routine grocery shopping and came home laughing as the bread shelf was near empty at the store. I rolled my eyes, we live in New England, snow happens.

    1. deemallon Post author

      I saw reports about grocery stores being absolute madhouses. I’ll never be that person. And what’s with the bread? Why not cookies or canned beans? But having listened to some of the wall to wall coverage of this storm, I actually see what’s driving the hype. We’ll see if it ends up being any different from any other nor’easter. Right now: just swirly wind and a sky whitened with snowfall (9:45 am).


Love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s