I recently filled an entire composition notebook with titles of fiction books I want to read someday. (I should probably clarify and say that each title and series are separated by at least 2 lines to keep it looking orderly, so not every line is filled.) I started keeping a notebook when I was about 15, and have graduated to bigger and bigger notebooks, but each time I was transferring the same titles and discarding the old one. I’ve debated on what to do now that I have one whole notebook full and don’t want to go to a larger, spiral-bound. I guess I’ll have to go to 2 notebooks (besides my third non-fiction one), but I don’t really relish the idea of so many notebooks! So, the jury’s still out on that for now.
I used to think that I had to read every book by every classic author I liked (Frances Hodgson Burnett, Eleanor H. Porter, Alexandre Dumas). I think this is because I wanted to be able to say, “‘The Memoirs of a Physician?’ Oh, yes. I’ve read that…” and sound really intellectual and know-it-all. The lists of their complete works took up a lot of space in my notebook. Eventually I realized that I don’t have anything to prove, and that I may not actually be interested in everything anyway. There’s nothing that will kill the spirit of reading quicker than reading something you’re completely uninterested in. So I decided to do a little weeding. I went through my titles and if I couldn’t remember what a book was about, or came across one of those “Complete Works of E. Phillips Oppenheim” -type lists, I looked up the titles on the internet (like goodreads; Fantastic Fiction; wikipedia; amazon, etc.). I read plot summaries and reader reviews, and if it just seemed like something I wouldn’t be thrilled to read, I crossed it out. Also, if I couldn’t find a plot summary at all, I crossed them out. I decided if I didn’t know what a book was about in the first place, there was no reason why I should include it in my list.
I saved a LOT of room this way! Of course, now that room is taken up with other books, but at least they’re books I want to read instead of books I feel I have to read. I have no time or desire to invest in doing that anymore; there are other books I’d rather read and time’s short enough as it is.
Tastes change over time. I’m glad to see I don’t necessarily want to read the same books as when I was 15. It shows me I’ve grown at least somewhat in my reading habits!