There are billions of books I might like to read, millions I might honestly want to read, thousands, possibly, I’ll read/re-read, hundreds I own today, and about three I’m currently reading. Books in those categories will shift over the years. I saw one yesterday that I’d like to read soon. If it had been a pre- “Moving Zeal” day, I would have bought it. Since it’s not, I’ll wait for its arrival from the library.
Shelf confidence is a silly pun.
That is, as you might have inferred, implying much more depth than it appears. The reason I didn’t buy that book was mainly because I wasn’t planning on reading it in the next few months. I want to sweep through my current display of books first, before buying anything new, unless it’s a 50-cent book I’ll immediately read because I want to dig into its context.
I am getting distracted by library books.
It’s easy enough to put a hold on something, get an email announcing its arrival, pick it up, then once I’m done with it, return it. I think my fascination with having encyclopedic shelves of CDs, movies, videogames, and books is based around the appearances of having interacted with the contents therein instead of actually interacting with it to some degree of frequency.
Which is fine when it’s actually “won,” but these three copies of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff represent my shelf confidence problem at its core: I own more than I need. As long as these three books are here, collecting dust, why should I buy more books that will also collect dust? Unless I will interact with it almost daily until completely read, why buy it?
Is the convenience of reading whenever worthwhile?
Having between one to three months to read something from the library might actually make it more special. I was ten minutes early leaving the apartment-mansion this morning. Rather than scroll through Twitter or waste that time, I blasted through a few pages of a writing book I’m reading. Unintentionally, the book I passed on yesterday would go into that queue somewhere in the middle.
Here’s the thing, too.
Although that copy of the book was nice, I can read it at any time. I have writing books from my editor J.D. that I borrowed earlier this year and still need to read. It’s a no-big-deal kinda borrow, but I still would rather not procrastinate on returning those books, fully read, any longer than I have procrastinated.
So I read for about 30 minutes daily.
Any more would cause me to procrastinate in other areas, too. Know what you own. Decide on the priorities you have toward interacting with what you own, slowly, and develop the courage to, like in situations requiring self-confidence, admit to yourself that you don’t like a book, or if you want to read it, schedule that time into your week. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but book it on your calendar.
Another pun there…
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I thought of the title and it just wrote itself, which is to say, I wrote it all in a fast 19 minutes in my car in the parking lot of work before the start of my shift.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: My apartment-mansion with my lacking shelf confidence to know how many copies of a book I have, one of which was probably almost free, but the third book?|
|Written On: August 29th [19 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: August 29th [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|