It’s not quite the end of January and already I’m abandoning one of my New Year’s resolutions. I resolved to keep a more detailed reading journal, recording not just the dates I start and finish each book, but also what led me to pick it up in the first place, where it came from and so on. The idea was to track the ebb and flow of my reading, and to maintain a list of books abandoned as well as those finished.
Here’s what it reveals about my book acquisitions and reading activity this year so far:
I’ve checked 46 books out of the library, bought 16, and received 3 review copies from publishers. I’ve begun reading 23 books. Of those, I’ve finished 10, and abandoned 3 that didn’t sufficiently capture my interest. Ten are still in progress. In addition, I’ve read 5 short stories and 3 essays with no intention of reading in their entirety the books from which they came.
This mad circulation of books through my house and my hands didn’t feel overwhelming until I began to write it all down. I’m quite sure that I would find the sort of record I’ve been creating very interesting to contemplate after the fact. But, in the moment, maintaining it is proving exhausting. It’s detracting from my reading experience rather than enhancing it. So, I hereby release myself from this self-imposed obligation. My reading can once again meander at will free from constant surveillance.