Does this photo shock you (knowing my OCD reading habits, that is?)?! Especially considering the state of my nightstand some months back when I knew things were so out of control I had to stop doing a weekly photo of my in progress reads? Here we are past the halfway mark of the year and something had to give. Looking back at July's 'reading stats' of how many books I managed to finish, it is actually not nearly as abysmal as it felt and overall I am not too far off track for how many books I am hoping to read my way through this year. However, something has to give . . .
The piles of in progress books are so out of control that they are starting to stress me out. I was finding myself lugging more books in my bookbag than I even had time to possibly dip into over the course of a day. Dragging books back and forth, they should not be the weight they have become. I can't seem to say no to a book, which means I keep starting them and not finishing them. My bad habit has to come to a stop and so drastic measures are needed, I think.
As much as I wish I could be a one book at a time reader, I know that is not quite realistic for me at the moment. And having several books on the go from a variety of genres (which is my 'normal' mode of reading) is still not working (as I keep adding more 'must reads'), so I have decided to try, for the month of August, to stick with only three in progress books (whatever the genre) plus my monthly prompt book. So, yes, three books and I am still cheating.
I am going to try very hard to stick with a 'Three plus One' reading plan for the month of August. That means--only three books on the night stand and in my hands at any time, plus my reading prompt book (as yet undecided). If I get through more than one prompt book, I will happily choose another. But the first has to be finished. No more books to be added to the pile until something else is finished. Every time I say I am going to do this, I bargain with myself--I will start this 'when I whittle all those books already started down'. That is pretty much impossible. I never manage to stick to it without starting more books.
So, all those other books that were waiting/languishing either go back to the shelves for later (if I had not made too much of a commitment to the stories and characters yet) or they sit in a pile under the night stand or near it. They can be cycled in--as I finish what is on top. No rule breaking. Well, I say that, but who is to know but myself. Still I am going to try very hard to stick with my plan in the hopes I can get back into a more manageable reading habit. No more toting piles of books around (only to not have time for them all anyway).
Surely it will be better to focus on just a few stories at a time, spend more time in those pages and with those characters. I am hoping I will finish a book in a more timely manner. Maybe I will finish more books in a month, too, or maybe not. Either way the goal is not to just consume everything I see but to spend quality time reading each book. And three plus one other seems a pretty generous number of books to have on the go at once. I suspect plenty of readers would still think this quite a few books rather than a few (that is how excessive my reading habits have become!). I feel like this out of control reading habit is a reflection of an unsettled inner mind (I am trying to borrow from my yoga philosophy here, can you tell?).
Other than my monthly prompts, all other plans and goals from the year are out the window. I am determined to give this one month of dedicated attention. A mere thirty-one days. Library books are going to be my one challenge. My 'get of jail' card is going to be my prompt book--at least I am assured of one random book pick for the moment. I am already pondering this (maybe this month will help be get back to being a more thoughtful reader).
Those three books on my night table are the special three (plus one coming soon). And as I finish each one, I get to choose another. Motivation.