Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Try it or trash it

Yesterday I read a blogpost by Jen Morris on her website Jen Morris Creative entitled What I'm reading this year: 17 books in 2017.  She realized that she has many inspirational books sitting unread on her shelves and she is aiming to do something about that. It inspired me. Thanks, Jen. 

My bookshelf before the challenge

As a librarian I have always said that books need to earn their places on the shelves. They don't get to be there just because they are paper bound together into book form. They don't get to be there because someone sweat over each word, each illustration and some editor pulled out hair trying to convince that author not to use a semicolon 15 times on one page. They don't get to be there because they were donated by the principal's aunt or a favorite of hers from childhood. Even MY favorite childhood books have not been exempt from my scrutiny. 

No, to earn a place, and keep it, a book must be useful, used and relevant. If not, sayonara. Becoming a librarian made me much less romantic about books. I'll guard them from censorship and use my own money to buy them for kids. But, dare I say it, they are not sacred just because they are books. 

Content, my friends. Content keeps them on the shelves. 
My book shelf after turning the books upside down. I hope to be able to turn them right side up again soon. Don't count on it, but I do hope. 

Never more than in my own home must this be true. I look at my shelves of art techniques and shake my head. So many techniques, all untried. So I have declared, rather hastily I might add, that in 2017 I will conquer this shelf. Each book has been taken off the shelf and turned upside down. Each will only earn it's place back on the shelf if I have read a chapter or tried a technique. Going so far as to say they will be thoroughly explored is going a bit overboard. 

I hope to be able to report positively on my progress through this self imposed challenge. 

Do you have a stack of books you need to get through? What kind of books are in your pile? 

Check out Jen's list of books she is going to read this year. There are some that sound very interesting. Now where is that Barnes & Noble gift card? 


  1. I love the idea that books need to earn their place on the shelf. I never thought of that but I so agree. I love what you did with yours. Yes, I too, have many technique books. Along with all the others that came my way over time. I have mostly fiction on my to read pile for a good reason -- I don't read all that much fiction. Well, I count mysteries as mysteries. So, I jump to those or the biographies or the histories and the fiction doesn't always make it to the top of the pile, even when I chose it! You make a wonderful point -- and probably time to purge again.

    Thanks for all the wonderful words on my baby posts. We are simply smitten with this little baby grand!

    1. Earning a place on the shelf was something that came to make sense to me over time. It's still hard for me to follow through with it, though. So occasionally I have to tell myself it's time to commit to it once again.

      It's easy to say happy things about your baby posts - joy simply radiates from the blog. I really enjoyed seeing you in this light. So glad you are smitten. Every child deserves to come to the world that way.

  2. Funny, we just cleaned out some more boxes of books from our barn, as if we didn't get rid of enough from when we moved 2 years ago and I found a whole box of art books that had been missing that I kept looking for and couldn't find, and now I am re-reading things like they were new - YAY. xox

    1. Oh, isn't it delightful to find something you have been looking for? Especially books that inspire! It is kind of fun to have a whole mess of books that feel like new, but cost nothing extra. Hope you enjoy reading through them. Despite my declaration, I have only peeped into one book so far - The Artist's Way. Maybe not a good one to start with if I really wanted to clear the shelf, but definitely a great one to crack open for moving forward. Both feet in!


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