The 52 Books Project

3 Feb

Each time I pick up a book, I make a journey into someone else’s imagination, memory, analysis or perspective. It’s why I love to read, why I buy so many books (Frankly, it puzzles me that Barnes & Nobles isn’t doing well. How could that be? It’s my primary bookstore!), and why I don’t hear people when they try to talk to me.

I’ve no idea how many books I read in a given year, but in January, I decided to keep track. That’s when I came up with the idea of the 52 Book Project: read and review – here in this blog – 52 books in 2013.

With all due respect to B&N and every other book retailer, I’ve added a wrinkle. The books must be borrowed. It doesn’t matter from where or from whom, but I’ll certainly make many trips to my public library.

If this project accomplishes anything beyond my reading, I hope it raises awareness of the amazing value that public libraries offer. While taxes vary from town to town, my public library costs my family $187.64 in taxes each year – or about $3.61 per book for this project. That’s if I don’t incur late fees. A pretty good deal, really.

This project actually kicked off on Jan. 2, when I stopped at my local public library to select my first choices. The book club is reading The New Republic by Lionel Shriver. Snapped that up. On a whim, I grabbed Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail for my second book.

Not content to leave this project to my own whims, I also asked Facebook friends for book recommendations. One of my personal goals for this project is to read outside my comfort zone: absorbing opposing views and exploring topics not normally within my interests.

I’ve always enjoyed biography, history, science and other nonfiction, but my friends suggested quite a few titles I may never have looked at. You can find what’s upcoming by looking at the Nightstand. When I finish a book and its review, you can find it on my Bookshelf.

I should also take a moment to explain my quirky reading style. I read up to 4 or 5 books at a time. Longer bios, nonfiction and novels over 600 or so pages will take longer than a week, so they’ll be spread out over a period of weeks or months (so mid-read reviews won’t be out of the question).

Also, I have this funny (endearing? irritating?) habit of reading the first 100 pages of a book, and then skipping to the last 20 or 30 pages before heading back to the middle. To borrow a line from Harry, I do this so that if I die before I finish, I’ll know how the story ends.

Finally, I reserve the right to scan or abandon a book midway through. Life’s too short to read stuff that sucks.

Anyway, I finished three books in January, and I’ve just picked up four more from the library. Technically, I’m a bit behind, but January was an unusual month for personal reasons. I expect to be back to normal reading – and writing – levels now.

First up for review: Strayed’s Wild. Check back in a couple of days to read what I have to say.


3 Responses to “The 52 Books Project”


  1. Book Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed | Words and Context - February 11, 2013

    […] The 52 Books Project: Book #1 […]

  2. When the Holy Retire: Book Review | Words and Context - February 19, 2013

    […] The 52 Books Project: Book #2 […]

  3. Libraries are Compassionate and Awesome | Words and Context - May 9, 2013

    […] so the 52 Books Project continues. I’m behind on writing reviews, and now I have new books to read. But we’ll […]

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