Read ALL the Things!

I might identify a little much with Hyperbole and a Half’s brilliantly funny “This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult.” Oddly enough, most everyone I know feels similarly, and that crowd includes some honest-to-goodness talented adults. But maybe some part of each of them is always screaming, “INTERNET! FOREVER…”

Internet Forever is not exactly the rallying cry of a generation. It’s also a really good way to accumulate a considerable to-be-read pile, especially if, say, you, were once a books editor and could never let go of those really interesting books you really hoped to review someday but never had time/space/wordcount/an entire newspaper to devote to them.

This is where my delightfully doomed project comes in: Real ALL the Things!

The concept is simple: All book nerds have a stack of unread books. Some of us shelve them separately from the read books. Some pile them horizontally. Some incorporate them into the shelf with the read books (heathens!). Some desperately hope that the the piles won’t topple on us in our sleep. I’ve been most of these people.

It’s time to take a stand. I’m challenging you — but more importantly, I’m challenging myself — to Read ALL the Things. To take on the pile of unread books — the one that sits there, off-kilter, wondering if you’ll ever put down Entertainment Weekly or turn away from more blogs than you can count and turn back to those pages, those Kindle titles (yes, ebooks totally count, even if they don’t pile up the same way), those hardcovers that have been out in paperback for three years already.

Since my to-be-read shelf is actually almost an entire bookcase, I’m giving myself a little bit of wiggle room. But I’m also making some rule-like things. To wit:

1. Nonfiction is optional. I love nonfiction, but it takes me twice as long to read. Nonfiction is like extra credit in the RAT challenge.

2. All read things must be blogged, even if it’s a puny little entry about how many tears I cried at the end of some really touching novel I don’t really want to tell you, the entire world, was on my shelf.

3. RESIST THE URGE TO ADD BOOKS TO THE SHELF. All new books must be begun immediately, before they so much as touch the to-be-read shelf. They are still Things in the grand scheme of Things, but … you see where I’m going with this, right? The shelf is infinite. The shelf can never be defeated if it’s one book off, two books on. (I bought myself Catherynne M. Valente‘s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by promising myself I would read it immediately. I then got my grabby hands on Emma Forrest‘s heartbreaking and wonderful Your Voice in My Head and, when I finished that, was away from home and had to steal something from someone else’s shelf, so opted for My First Palahniuk and picked up Choke. It’s a vicious cycle. And Fairyland is totally next, as soon as I’m done with sex addicts and feigned choking and envisioning Sam Rockwell, as in the movie adaptation, in my head.)

That’s it. Three is my lucky number and three is a good number of guidelines-slash-rule-like-things. I just want to be able to desire a book, obtain it, and immediately begin to read it without feeling like there are 47 other books I should get to first. This may be an unmeetable goal, but it should be fun to try. Especially if you play along.

Now: Who’s with me?

(Coming soon: A photo of the bookcase in question. Then you can tell me what to read first. Seriously.)

Read ALL the Things!

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