The Book Project

I love buying books. I love owning books. For me, the idea of a library, a place I can freely borrow books from but then have to return them, is like some kind of elaborate torture.

So, a while ago I committed myself to reading a bunch of books I had purchased but never read. It's so much easier to buy books than it is to read them that my to read pile became some literature or publishing based equivalent of that episode with Lucy and Ethel working in the chocolate factory.

So, in an effort towards necessary frugality and to fulfil the promise that an unread book implies is broken, I've listed some big players on my bookshelf that I absolutely must read before I can buy any more books*.

The list of books I still have to read is available on Goodreads. This doesn't include the five books I am technically "currently reading".

The one I am mostly reading currently is Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis.

I mention all of this because I almost succumbed to a purchase when I saw that Freedom, a new novel by Jonathan Franzen, was due out in a couple of months. My cursor hovered over the pre-order button on Amazon as I argued with myself over my own weaknesses.

The list keeps getting longer because, as easy as it is to buy books for oneself, it's even easier to receive them as gifts. That, of course, has happened from time to time since I made this promise to myself.

So I'm making the promise public in an attempt to hold myself to it. If you see me buying a book for myself, stop me and I will continue to try to stop myself.


*The exception to this rule is the purchase of books at an event where the author is signing books. That is more about the opportunity to add to my collection of signed editions than it is about the actual book. Two books have been purchased under these conditions: How the Universe Got Its Spots: by Janna Levin (read and purchased after seeing her in conversation with Laurie Anderson) and My Footprint by Jeff Garlin (unread and purchased after seeing him in conversation with Ira Glass)