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Reading is for winners!

living room bookshelves

One of my resolutions for 2012 is to read more books.

There was a time when I, all by myself, had a small personal library of over 1,000 books. Then I got married and moved out of my parent’s house into an apartment. My husband brought his own books into the equation but books weren’t nearly the vice to him that they were for me (CDs were his thing… we still haven’t even begun to sort through his massive CD collection).

Over the past four years, I’ve weeded and purged our shelves down to about 300 books. Letting books go is never easy but it was a matter of just wanting to not have so much stuff.

Now, I make it a habit to comb our shelves once a month and remove any book that I feel like is taking up space. The benefit to this system is I know exactly, at all times, what books I have. And I also have plenty of room for any new books. I am also a lot more picky about the books I allow onto our shelves. If it isn’t a book I truly love and am likely to read or reference again, I don’t want it on the shelf.

So what is the point of me saying all of these things? Well, despite my careful curation of our bookshelves, there are a good number of books that I own that I haven’t actually read.

It’s sad, isn’t it? I keep them because I want to read them but have never made the time to do so. But now that is going to change!

My 2012 book resolution is to read 52 books throughout the year and about half will come from my own shelves. Some of these I have already started at one point but, for whatever reason, gave up (I marked these books with a *). The books from my own shelves that I plan on reading this year are:

  1. Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig
  2. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  4. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft*
  6. The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe
  7. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson*
  8. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood*
  9. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  10. Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne
  11. The Inner Vision: Liberty and Literature by Edward McClean
  12. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis*
  13. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss*
  14. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates*
  15. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley*
  16. Modern Art in the USA: Issues and Controversies of the 20th Century by Patricia Hills*
  17. Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley
  18. After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection by James West Davidson*
  19. Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France by Evelyne Lever
  20. Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady
  21. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  22. Women and Writing by Virginia Woolf
  23. Murder at the Brown Palace: A True Story of Seduction and Betrayal by Dick Kreck*
  24. Lies my Teacher Told Me by James Loewen
  25. Shakespeare by Michael Wood
  26. Living by Fiction by Annie Dillard
  27. The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel*
This is a pretty good balance of fiction and non-fiction, I think. The remainder of the books will come from Amazon.com’s Top 100 Books of 2011. I found the list through the Novel Challenges blog which, if you’re looking for a book challenge to join in 2012, is a great website with tons of wonderful challenges to pick from. I haven’t picked the other books yet, but I’ll update this post when I do.
living room bookshelf
I plan on checking in here after I finish reading a book, but you can also catch up with me on Goodreads. I’ve already started The Poisonwood Bible and I’m liking it so far, even though it is a little heavy handed. But the writing is beautiful. Next, I’ll probably hop to a non-fiction book – maybe The 4-Hour Workweek, which is another one of those books I began but never quite finished.
Do you have any 2012 reading goals?