My Bookshelf Challenge (Intro)

“A few years ago in Kabul, I thought the war was finished, and I started building a home in Panjshir,” he said. “A room for my children, a room for me and my wife, and a big library for all my books. I’ve kept all my books. I’ve put them in boxes, hoping one day I’ll be able to put them on the shelves and I’ll be able to read them. But the house is still unfinished, and the books are still in their boxes. I don’t know when I’ll be able to read my books.”

Ahmad Shah Massoud, quoted in “The Lion in Winter,” by Sebastian Junger

I was a librarian in my teenage years. Perhaps that was where I developed a love for reading. More likely, it might have sowed the desire in me to build my very own library.

Some fifteen years ago, with a decent stipend from being a student-teacher and any excuse to visit Borders at Parkway and Wheelock I purchased books freely – faster than I could read them. Although I’ve given away or sold a number of them since, there had always been books that I’ve purchased with the promise that I would read them someday.

Today, even after instituting a book-buying ban the last five years – the result of a lack of space and drawing a salary that could just barely keep my pants up – there are close to a hundred books on my shelves, probably two-thirds which I haven’t even read through.

Well, the time has surely come for me to read these myriad of books from the library which I had curated through the years. As I read, this blog will be the medium in which I share my thoughts and experience reading. (I mean, if it does happen. I really hope it does.)

The Strategy

In order to read as many books as I have, the target is to read about 100 to 120 pages a week. Furthermore, here’s an interesting tactic I recently thought of that should help in overcoming the lethargy of reading, especially longer, more laborious reads – book rotation. For these books, the idea is to read a chapter or two, take a break from it and revisit it in two or three weeks. I should in theory, systematically alternate between fiction, history, spirituality and current affairs in order to read diversely and cover a many books on the shelf as possible.

Here’s to a productive second half of the year and finally reading books from my own library, insha Allah.