I wasn’t going to join Andi’s #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge. Why? Well because I’m not one to have entire bookshelves and ebook collections stacking up on me. Before Christmas? I had five books on my shelf that I hadn’t gotten to during the year. Five books.
And then Christmas happened. Christmas happened and I was drowning in new books (in a completely delightful way) and I realized how many, many books I had to read.
Add to that the fact that it was the new year! 2015 challenges had finished! The longlist for the Tournament of Books was out! New challenges for the new year had begun! Anticipatory book lists for the year ahead were being published left and right, “Best of” lists for the past year were being thrown at me, and all I wanted to do was buy! new! books!
And that jerk shelf with all my Christmas books sat right there staring at me. Asking me if I was going to spend money on books. More books. Really? When I had about 30 sitting right there?
So I did it. I joined Andi’s challenge. Because of the brilliant “You do you” twist, I was able to couch it just the way I needed to: I would read my own damn books…and any others that were free. I do a fair amount of reading on my phone or ereader while I’m out and about and I don’t gift those sorts of books to myself very often. Which means I don’t have stacks of them waiting. Which means I had to get them somehow without breaking my challenge (and going broke all at once). So by allowing myself to read free books, that mean I could still pick up books – digital or otherwise – from the library without breaking the “rules.” Perfect, right?
So how did I do? Let’s look:
- Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon – Christmas gift
- The Sky Is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson – Gift card
- Lumberjanes #1, by Noelle Stevenson – Christmas gift
- Find Me, by Laura Van den Berg – Gift card
- Hamilton, by Ron Chernow – Re-read, previously owned
- Humans of New York: Stories, by Brandon Stanton – Christmas gift
- My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman – Library
- This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp – Gift card
- The Kindness of Enemies, by Leila Abouelela – Library
- Tiny Pretty Things, by Sona Charaipotra – Library
- The Best American Travel Writing: 2005, edited by Jamaica Kincaid – Christmas Gift
- Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson – Library
- One Day, by David Nicholls – Previously owned (one of the five I didn’t read last year)
- Last Night in Twisted River, by John Irving – Previously owned (one of the five I didn’t read last year)
- Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup – Library
- The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen – Library
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews – Christmas gift
- Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy – Gift card
- What Was She Thinking?, by Zoe Heller – Previously owned (one of the five I didn’t read last year)
- The Book of Aron, by Jim Shepard – Library
- Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf – Library
It must be perfect, that lovely little system of mine. Because I’m proud to say that after accepting the challenge during the first week in January, I haven’t bought a single book. If my reasons for taking up the challenge were to curb spending, I would say it’s an unfettered success.
But I still have a shelf and a half filled with unread books. Let’s keep playing in February, shall we?