So, in those moments when I’ve just put both kids down for a nap and I’m exhausted, but shouldn’t nap because I have things to do, but also don’t quite have the energy to do those things at the moment, I sometimes wile away a bit of time watching Booktube videos. While much of Booktube seems to focus chiefly on YA books (not my usual genre) I just really love watching people discuss books. And I like watching their book hauls too. It gets me so excited about reading.
It reminds me of when I was a kid. We lived a brisk 10-15 minute walk from a small local library in my home city and, of summers, we would go there and just stack our arms with all we could carry, and walk home…we would grab more than a 10 year old could reasonably get through in the two-week time period. But, either way, I would walk home and show my mom each and every one of the books I got with the same giddy excitement I recognize in many booktuber’s eyes as they do their book hauls: the books they bought, received as ARCs, or were given as gifts.
Of course, it made me want to go to a library or a used books store or ANYWHERE and stack books high up to my chin. But since the library is not the most convenient trip to take at the moment, and one cannot just buy books willy-nilly, I decided to do the practical thing and do a monthly “haul” of my own bookshelves. I have quite a number on my shelves that I have not read, and I am going to pretend each month that they are brand new books (which, in the meaningful sense, they are!).
Moreover I am going to present my “haul” to my husband, who will probably smile and roll his eyes a little and say “I already knew you had that book” or “You’ve already told me about that book.” However silly that may seem (and it is undoubtedly silly) it actually does give me that fresh, just-got-back-from-the-library excitement. Plus, it’s motivation to get through more books in a month than I’d originally intended.
And, although I have just said that this is silly, maybe it’s not quite so silly, because I am reminded of something C.S. Lewis said–I think it was in Surprised by Joy–about the thrill of those brown paper packages which contained new and exciting books. This is a time-tried pleasure, clearly. It’s hard not to get excited. Of course, there have been books I was giddy for that ended up being extremely disappointing, but there have also been books I picked up with a shrug and casual interest that ended up making me cry, or sticking with me for years and years.
So here ’tis. I scanned my shelves and picked these books for the month of April. (I am still reading The Brothers Karamazov, The Republic of Fear, and المجتمع العراقي throughout, bit by bit, until I finish them).
Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone: I’ve heard good things about this and, while I am NOT a fan of urban fantasy, I’m going to give it a shot.
The Slave, by Isaac Bashevis Singer: Historical fictions set in 17th century Poland about a “devout captive Jew who falls in love with his master’s daughter.” I know nothing else. Found it for 3 dollars in an airport years ago, then never read it.
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley: Classic dystopian about the way in which empty pleasure and distraction can tyrannize and destroy quite as thoroughly as force, violence, or war. Always wanted to read it, so now I will. If I like it–well, and even if I don’t–I have another Huxley on my shelf from years ago.
Saddam’s Secrets, by Georges Sada: From the front cover “How an Iraqi General defied and survived Saddam Hussein.” Was a gift from friends, signed by the author.
Letters to Malcom, Chiefly on Prayer, by C.S. Lewis: My favorite author, and a book of his I have not read. Enough said : )
If I can get into the groove of doing this every month while simultaneously reading the big ones in the background (Middlemarch comes after B. Karamazov!) then I will have worked my way through much of my own shelves and far outstripped my current goodreads goal!