Library Loot in reverse

library-loot Today I am returning a pile of books that I took out of the library earlier this month — unread. I write this as I sit on our couch with a bookshelf beside me. I turn 90 degrees to the right and can see in our bedroom another shelf with books, not to mention I turn another 45 degrees on the other side of the L-shaped couch and see yet another bookshelf full of books. Most of the books on the shelves are like the books I am returning — unread.

I am keeping one book from the library, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, because I am reading it as part of the Baker Street Challenge. However, two other Agatha Christie books, Poirot Loses A Client and Death On The Nile, I am returning even though I am in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. Why? Because I know I can get to them later and also after a spree of reading several of her books in a row, I need a short break. I will return to them at the beginning of the month, with yet another spree.

Another reason for my returning the books unread is because I have become too indiscriminate in choosing books to read. Last week I just randomly chose books from the shelves. I ended up with quite a few “H” authors as a result. I have discussed this previously on this blog: why am I reading?

As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s not that I have to be taught some grand life lesson in every book that I pick up. However, on the other side, I don’t want to read books just because they are there– or read purely for “leisure.” Yes, reading can be– and should be– fun but sometimes I have to ask myself what am I hoping to get from this book besides a good feeling.

Life, in my opinion, is too short to be wasted on all pulp fiction. That does not mean I don’t read some “pulp fiction,” because even from the “mundane,” something can be gained. However I do find value, sometimes more value, in reading books that are classics, one of the reasons I’ve joined the Really Old Classics Challenge, or as I do often on Wednesdays read spiritual books. For example, on my Wednesday reading list is a biography of St. Teresa of Avila by Rowan Williams and also a Stephen Mitchell translation of the Tao Te Ching.

All this to say that I want to be more discriminate about what I choose to read. From now, I am going to work toward the goal of considering a book before picking it from the shelf — and aim toward that “shelf” being one of those already in our house before the library. Why pick up books at book sales if you’re not going to read them?

On that note, I’m off to read the biography of St. Teresa of Avila or the Tao Te Ching or who knows maybe something off one of those shelves I discussed earlier.

This post also can be found on my main blog, an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe). If you are interested in getting a more complete picture of this unfinished person, you can subscribe to that blog, if you so choose.

10 responses to “Library Loot in reverse

  1. Pingback: Sweet Dreams Are Wishes Your Heart Makes « An unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

  2. I am often returning books unread to the library! Not sure I could do it on such a large scale as you did though!

  3. You know, my reading has changed a lot since I’ve been blogging, and while I think a lot of it is for the better, I don’t read as many classics as I used to, and I want to work on that!

    The main way that I stay mindful about my reading is via all of the challenges that I join-I spend a lot of time making up my lists, so then when I’m not sure what to get from the library, I can just get books from there! It’s helped me meet my reading goals, and it’s been a great way for me to discover books I probably never would have found simply randomly browsing.

    I often return books to the library unread-that’s one reason I love using the library for reading isntead of buying books; I don’t feel guilty abandoning a book that I don’t like when I haven’t paid for it!!

    • justareadingfool

      Hmmmm, challenges as a way to keep yourself mindful of what you read? That’s different, I guess, although I guess similar to what I’m doing with the few challenges that I’ve joined. I’ve been a lot more selective with the challenges I join lately, only in three now Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and Really Old Classics, and they seem to fit with what I’m aiming for in my reading.

      The problem for me with the library books is sometimes I keep them so long that I lose them and then do have to pay for them! Okay, that’s only happened once, but still…I don’t want that to happen again. 🙂

  4. I think you are aiming for a good balance. My excuse for my shelves of unread books is that they are my retirement savings 🙂 And the good thing about library books is that even if you don’t read them for whatever reason, you don’t have to feel guilty at all because you can always borrow them again. Public libraries are my books storage facilities that someone else takes care of for me.

    • justareadingfool

      Oh, I don’t feel guilty, just sometimes that feeling that I’m never getting anything finished. However, that’s the name of my main blog, an unfinished person, and sometimes you just have to roll with it.

  5. What a smart idea. I currently have a ton of library books checked out. What I take back unread I’ll do a post about.

    I think sometimes we pick up books because of the idea that we may one day read them.

    • unfinishedperson

      My eyes are sometimes bigger than my stomach, or in this case, my appetite for books. 🙂

      The thing is about that “one day” with library books is that they’re due back in three weeks and that “one day” never comes. At least, that’s what I’ve found.

  6. I just recently had to return a bunch of books to the library unread. It kinda broke my heart 🙂

    • justareadingfool

      It kind of breaks mine, but they’ll still be there…just as the books on my shelves are still there…:)