I downloaded the latest operating system for my iPad last week without really paying attention to what the update would do to my device. The reality is that it changed how iBooks works and as a result I had to re-download and then re-organise all of my books. I have so many ebooks that this is a mammoth task and I wasn’t happy at having to do it but I realised it would be a good opportunity to weed out books I’m probably never going to read and to make sure the books I really badly want to read are where I can easily find them.
Seems like a good plan, huh?
The problem is that it turns out that I have hundreds (well over a thousand actually) ebooks that I classed as being books I want to read as soon as possible! It’s not just ebooks either, I do have fewer print books than ebooks these days but I do still have books that I’ve had for years that I really want to read.
I got to thinking then about why I have so many unread books that I classify as being books I want to read soon and then I realised what it is.
Bear with me here…
My mum used to keep nice things for best. As a result her best things, her most favourite things hardly ever got used or worn. When my mum died I cried so much at how many of her lovely clothes she had perhaps only worn once or twice, and then there were the few items that had had better days that she continued to keep wearing. I realised that day that I was the same as my mum. I had so many lovely things that I kept in a cupboard or away in a box where they wouldn’t get damaged but what use are nice things if you never get to feel the joy of wearing them or using them.
I take great joy from the fact that every day my husband and I eat with my mum’s best cutlery. I’d always loved her best set of tableware but it came out at Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions only. I made a promise to myself on the day I left her home for the last time that I would use this cutlery every day and I have stuck to it. It makes me happy.
Sorting out my ebooks this week I realised that I have developed the habit of keeping my books for ‘best’. By this I mean that when I buy a book that I know I will absolutely love I save it for the right moment, for that perfect time when I can just curl up in the right mood and just read. The problem is that when you’ve saved a book for so long there never seems to be a right moment and the book ends up left unread for months, even years.
It’s such a silly thing to do because I’m usually a good judge of what books I will and won’t like, and so often I’ve sat down with whatever book has caught my attention on that particular day and find I simply can’t put it down because serendipitously it is the right book for that moment in time!
For example I recently read Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin, I had to read it for a specific date as I was on the blog tour but it so happened that it was absolutely the right moment in my life to read it as it had such a profound impact on me. I can’t stop thinking about the story, it completely and utterly captivated me.
I realise now that I need to start reading the books I’m keeping for best, because like wearing a brand new dress when I’m just mooching about the house, it lifts my mood and feels like I’m giving myself a little treat.
So I’m making a new rule for myself that I have to stop keeping books for ‘best’. Books are there for reading, not for cluttering up an iPad or gathering dust on a bookcase. I’m going to think about the best way to challenge myself to start reading these books… I’ll possibly start and write a blog post every now and then about how I’m getting on. If you have any ideas on how best to keep myself on track with this then please comment below.
*The image in this post is also my blog header and was taken where I used to live and I still have some of these books unread on my bookcase but I do really really want to read them so it’s not just ebooks, it’s all of my books!
Do you recognise yourself in this post at all? Do you keep books for a particular time that then never seems to come? How do you make sure that books you really want to read don’t end up gathering dust on your shelves forever more?