Friday, 3 January 2014

Empty Shelf Challenge

When it comes to my book mountain, I desperately need an intervention. Around Feb/March 2013, I realised that I hadn't read a single book. I decided to set myself what I thought was a very simple challenge - I would choose 12 books to read throughout the whole year - that's only one book a month (albeit I'd have to do a bit of catching up due to missing a couple of months). But one book a month, that's easy, right? Wrong! I just don't know where the time went, but I definitely did not complete the challenge. In fact, I'm still halfway through the book that I started in August!!

I did get really hooked on crochet in 2013 (pun intended), and I don't know about you, but I can't read and crochet at the same time (well, I've never tried, but I don't think I'd get very far with either). So I think books took a back seat to blankets.

I really want to read more in 2014 though, and although the simple thing would be to just pick a book off the shelf, read it, then choose another and so on, it's always good to have a bit of inspiration and motivation.

I first read about the Empty Shelf Challenge on Twitter, which linked me to this article. It's really simple - you empty a shelf, and then fill it with all the books you read during the year, taking regular photos of the shelf filling up. If you wish, you can share them on Twitter using the hashtag #emptyshelf. The idea is that by seeing the shelf fill up, and by taking part in the challenge with other people, you'll probably be more motivated to read more books. So far, so good. When I first read about it, I thought "I'm going to try that". But then I spotted the flaw. I want to get rid of my books once I've read them. I usually take them to work to give to a book-devouring colleague. I don't want to save them all up and still have them at the end of the year.

So, I think I might do the Empty Shelf Challenge in reverse. I'm going to fill a shelf with as many books as I can that I want to read this year, and I'll (hopefully) take photos of it as it empties.

Another dilemma that I always have is, should I read my favourite books first, or save them for later, something to look forwards to, and read some of the books that I'm less bothered about first? Well, I've decided that I'm definitely going to read all my favourite ones first. Life's too short to save things for later, isn't it? The only problem with that is that I might want to keep some of them, but hopefully I'll be able to give most away.

So here is the shelf that I filled with books that I really want to read this year:

2nd Jan 2014

There are multiple books by Kate Atkinson, Alice Hoffman, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult and Dorothy Koomson. There are also several Scotland-themed books, both fiction and non-fiction. Since I love Scotland so much, I feel that it is only right that I educate myself on it's history. I also want to start collecting novels that are set in Scotland (preferably the Highlands and Islands) and if they are written by Scottish authors, even better. So I'll end up keeping a few of those books. And there are one or two other novels and non-fiction books in there too.

I finished the book that I started last August, so I've updated my Books I've Read page. I've now taken my first book off the shelf - Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult - so here is the shelf on the 4th Jan:

Yes, I put my ornaments back...

So that's that - I've also tweeted about it using the hashtag.

Let me know if you're doing the Empty Shelf Challenge too.

Edited to add: Did you spot the mistake, because it took me a few days to notice?! Somehow I've acquired two copies of The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman, and both were on the shelf. I've actually started reading it and put the other copy with the other books that I'm planning to give away. So it wasn't intentional cheating, but I've managed to take two books off the shelf in one go!

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