Every book lover know this to be true: buying books and reading them are two separate hobbies. There’s nothing more exciting than the possibility that you’ll read this awesome-sounding book you just picked up … one of these days, or months, or never.
I’ve been there, pruning out books that never made it out of the shrink wrap, asking myself why I even bought it. If you’ve ever been in the pre-loved book market, it’s great exactly because it’s dirt cheap. But if you’re trying to rehome almost-new books, don’t hope to recoup much of what you spent on it.
The Unread Shelf Project
When it comes to the unread masses, Whitney Conard of The Unread Shelf Project knows exactly where we book lovers are coming from. An owner of a LOT of unread books, she started a journey in 2018 to read them and quickly amassed a following along the way. This managed to escape my notice until I stumbled upon a bullet journal spread for this year’s monthly themes. I’m in!
There is a theme assigned to each month, together with challenges or assignments. The first one was to count the number of unread books. Instead of identifying the unread, I counted everything: 473. I only keep a small percentage of the books I’ve read, so the unread accounts for the majority. Let’s conservatively say that I’ve read 150 out of the 473 books. That leaves 323 books.
The 2020 List
After consulting the monthly themes, I pulled out 28 books that I would like to finally read this year:
- Still Missing – Chevy Stevens
- Bangkit – Appy Mohd Hapizan
- Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell (Malay)
- Teach Yourself Ethics
- Communicating Effectively – Garry Kranz
- A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
- Night Sky with Exit Wounds – Ocean Vuong
- Poetry: A Survivor’s Guide – Mark Yakich
- SingPoWriMo: The Anthology
- How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
- Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli
- When I Say Spoken, You Say Word
- White Pine – Mary Oliver
- Modern Guide to Energy Clearing – Barbara Moore
- Depression & Other Magic Tricks – Sabrina Benaim
- Cartography – Chloe Ling
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover – DH Lawrence
- Wicca – Scott Cunningham
- In the Pocket of Small Gods – Anis Mojgani
- Coexist – A Fairy Tale – Anna Tan
- Instructions for Happiness and Success – Susie Pearl
- Once We Were There – Bernice Chauly
- The Light Between Oceans – ML Stedman
- Lion – Saroo Brierley
- Such Wicked Intent – Kenneth Oppel
- The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
- The Last American Vampire – Seth Grahame-Smith
- Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho
Whew! Now I read an average of 50 books in a year, so these aren’t the only books I’ll be working on. But it’s a start. Here’s my current reading list, which is a spillover from December unless stated otherwise:
- Depression & Other Magic Tricks – Sabrina Benaim (from the Unread list)
- The Bullet Journal Method – Ryder Caroll
- The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary – Marysia Miernowska
- Urban Magick: A Guide for the City Witch – Diana Rajchel
- Shadowplay – Joseph O’Connor
No more buying?
The second challenge is a book buying ban, which isn’t an issue for me because as of two years ago, I mainly buy locally-published books or chapbooks by Malaysian poets. However, I’m a NetGalley member so my book buying ban absolutely applies to not requesting galleys as well!
I don’t know about you, but I’m quite excited about this project! You can find me on Goodreads or on Instagram under @kuchingbooks so we can cheer each other on.
Are you joining the project? Let me know in the comments.