Some weeks ago, I started reading the novel Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart, which I’d purchased over two years ago. After reading more than a hundred pages, I decided I wasn’t enjoying it enough to finish it, and donated it back to the public library. (I’d initially purchased it from their Booktique, seemed appropriate to let them sell it again to someone else.)
This experience has led me to think of a creative way to work my way through my TBR (To Be Read) Mountain, those over-400-books-I-own-but-haven’t-read-yet. I’m already participating in the RYOB Challenge, am doing all right, and plan to continue that. But even if I complete the Challenge, let’s be honest, I’ll still have something like maybe-390-books-I-own-but-haven’t-read-yet — it’s just an obscene amount of books, I realize that. So I started thinking of ways I might be able to make more progress through the unread books, and last week, I came up with the Read 20 Pages Project.
Note that this is not a Challenge, but a Project: something for me to try, independent of what other readers / book bloggers / bookaholics are doing or contemplating. Basically, when I’m between books, or want a break from my current read, I’ll get a book from my TBR Mountain, and over the course of a few days, read at least twenty pages of it. For a book of 150 to 250 pages, reading twenty or twenty-five pages should give me a good sense of the writing style, and some information about character, plot, setting, etc. — enough of these elements to decide if I’d probably enjoy reading the whole book. (At this point, I’m planning to include only novels and other works of prose in the Project, since most of my poetry books are much quicker to read than the novels, anyway.)
After reading twenty pages or more, I’ll decide if the book is a keeper, one I’d be happy to pick up later on and read through, or if it should be weeded from my collection and sent on its way to another good home. To keep track of the books I’m sampling for the Project, I’ve created a new page on my blog, with the label “Read 20 Pages Project.” I’m planning to just list the titles and authors, and the month and year when I read part of it. I’ll probably start tagging them in my LibraryThing catalog, too, so I’ll have another easy way to keep track, and see at a glance if I’m making any progress. Please, please, cross your fingers, and send me waves of willpower, so I can make some progress!