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The books I haven't read

2017TBRStack

This is a stack of books, gathered in 30 seconds from various places around my house, that I have purchased or borrowed with the intent of reading this year.

This does not include the three books I'm currently reading, the half dozen books in my library basket or the other half dozen books on my library hold list. Also not included: the two books I've been reading aloud with my 7-year-old and the handful of books that keep popping into my head that I should reread. (I always return to comforts like Austen and Montgomery in the fall.) As Christmas nears, I'll be reading The Nutcracker (illustrated by Maurice Sendak) and A Christmas Carol with my boys, and rereading some of the short stories in Jeannette Winterson's Christmas Days collection on my own. OH! and I have two different book discussion groups that I need to do reading for before spring.

People often say, "Oh! I wish I had time to read more!," to which I say, "You have the time!" But I also hear readers bemoaning the state of their to-be-read list — it's too long, they'll never reach the end of it, they don't have time for new books, they aren't reading the right books, etc. I am guilty of this, and I've found it to be self-defeating. When I get too caught up in what I'm not reading — too distracted by awards lists or the books everyone is talking about — that's when I find myself not reading. 

I have accepted the fact that I will never reach the end of my to-be-read list. It just means I'll always have a book to pick up.

But finding the right book-life balance is constant work in progress, which is why I liked this collection tips from BookRiot. Sometimes all I have time for is short stories. Other times, I'm ready to take a deep dive into dense nonfiction. Sometimes I just say no to a book. Sometimes I read a critical favorite and find I hate it. Sometimes I want the familiarity of a reread; sometimes a debut novel makes me a fan for life. All of it is OK because the goal isn't to read the right books or the most books but MORE books by MORE people about MORE things.  

I'd love to see your to-be-read stacks. Share them on social media with the tag #MakeAmericaReadMore.