Monday, 6 October 2014

Trying to Reduce the Ever-Expanding Book List

The conventional wisdom is that to be a writer you have to also be a reader.  As I have always been a reader, I consider this an asset, as I pursue my writing dreams.

reducing the ever-expanding book list
Image courtesy of Butterfield

I've maintained a book list of some sort for most of my adult life.  For many years it consisted of scraps of paper with one or two titles scribbled down and shoved in my purse.

However when I became a book purchaser, even though fiction was not my focus, the publishers sent their catalogues twice a year.  I got into the habit of spending my lunch-hours browsing through them, reviewing the latest releases and, of course, adding many to my 'list'.

This increased its size dramatically!  When I also factored in recommendations from magazines, Oprah and my reader family and friends, it became necessary to either give up or formalize keeping track.

I’d never be able to give up on all those books, plus I love lists, so formalize I did.  I took all the dog-eared and soup-stained notes and typed up My Book List.  It was a mammoth affair at one point, over six pages long and, although I didn't count, probably contained at least three hundred titles!

I have read many of those books in the ensuing seven years, which is just as well I think (and kind of the point!).  Last week as I was preparing to add the Goodreads widget to the blog, out of curiosity I decided to add numbering to My Book List, to see how many remain. 

There are a hundred and seventy-eight titles still listed!  178!  It doesn't help that I’m adding new books to The List almost as fast as I’m reading and crossing titles off.  Obviously, as long as writers are writing, that’s just the way it’s going to be.

I also know that The List, even as it currently stands, is not complete.  There are books that I see on my travels that I want to add, but never remember once I’m at home.  Or, I do as I did in the early days, only to find the paper scraps months later, forgotten, crumpled and illegible at the bottom of my purse.

Nor does it include the dozen or so books that are currently sitting on my ‘to be read’ bookshelf.  They provide a visual reminder just by being there, so don’t need to be added.

This summer I read comparatively little, so with Fall’s arrival, as I hunker down, I hope to reduce the 178.  In doing so, as well as my reading pleasure, I’d like these books to motivate and inspire my fiction writing, to which I'm also returning.

This is part of the reason for installing the Goodreads widget.  I’m hoping that you’ll follow along with me, if you're interested.  I’d love to hear your opinions and comments about any of the books.  And, of course, if you have any books to recommend, you know exactly what I’ll do with them!!

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