My New Year’s resolution.

book staircase

Note: Not my actual house. Though I wish it were.

Is it still January? Can somebody check? /waits while somebody checks/ It is? Cool.

As it is Still January and all, I believe this still counts: I have a New Year’s resolution!

:: trumpets ::

Typically, I don’t do the resolution thing. I’m more of the “if you want to change something, March 27th is just as good a day” school of thought, though I don’t judge people for whom making resolutions is meaningful. We all have to find our own ways to achieve the Me that we want to be, and if New Year’s resolutions work for you? You go on with your resolving self. For a few years, I did resolve to floss “more often,” but now I floss nearly every day, and there’s no point in resolving to do a thing that you know you won’t do. “Every day” just ain’t happenin’.

But lo! On Saturday I stumbled into straightening up all of my many and various and wildly over-loaded book shelves (I took two books off my daughter’s shelves, bought them to my office where they belonged, and two and a half hours later, emerged from the clouds of dust), and I was very, very forcibly reminded of all the many and various books that I own that I have never read. Ever. Evereverever. Ever.

Und zo.


And when I say “many and various,” I mean it, gentle reader. If I keep this resolution (which I will), by New Year’s Eve 2013 I will have read, among many other tomes:

  1. House of Sand and Fog (novel) – Andre Dubus III
  2. Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of Settlements (sadly not a novel) – Gershom Gorenberg
  3. I May Not Get There with You (biography + I found I even had two copies) – Michael Eric Dyson
  4. These Are the Breaks (hip hop prose poetry) – Idris Goodwin

And that’s really just the tip of the literary iceberg.

The steeper challenge will be to see if I can keep the unspoken other part of the resolution, the and I won’t buy any more books until I do part. Indeed, I ordered another book from my local indie bookstore that very same day…but I ordered it about an hour before the Great Straightening Up began so I think it, too, fits under the wire.

Wish me luck! I’m goin’ in.


  1. Lise

     /  January 22, 2013

    I’d like to say I’ll do the same but…y’know…. as I look at that sack of books you handed me the other day…. I can’t help but think that the deck has been stacked against me. Not that I’m ungrateful for the books. Watch out for House of Sand & Fog. You might want to start some Prozac about two weeks before reading it. Worth it, but still. Even more chilling in today’s economy than when I read it.

  2. This is a noble and worthy endeavor and you have my complete support. Keep us posted. When we thought we were going to move, I “de-cluttered” my book shelves which means that most of my collection now lives under our bed, protected from dust by garbage bags. The rest are boxed in the garage. I immediately began to miss my friends and will begin the excavation soon. In the meantime, I discovered our library’s used-book store and for $5 bought eight new books while checking out two more, Ford’s Canada among them. BTW, I loved House of Sand and Fog and one of the books I bought is Dubus’ The Garden of Last Days.” Unsettling story. The writing in Sand and Fog was much better.

  3. Darth Thulhu

     /  January 22, 2013

    Best of luck.

    It’s been good to read your tweets and blog, but if we never hear from you for the next 11 months, we’ll know it was for a Good Cause.

  4. Wonderful, Emily!

  5. Snoring Dog Studio

     /  January 23, 2013

    A wonderful idea – but one I couldn’t ever commit to considering that my sister continues to buy books and lend me them. And I’ve barely gotten through her library, much less my own. So much to read, so little time.