I’m not a believer in New Years Resolutions. A constant and critical self-monitor, when I notice a bad behavior I try to correct it right away. Sometimes I’m actually successful. Now that I’ve finally removed all books from the garage—some were being held high above the water-line on plastic boxes—I’ve started to sort through systematically what is beyond redemption. A comment of occasional visitors, however, has goaded me into a resolution; you see, people sometimes ask “Are you going to read those again?” While aching to address the mindset betrayed by that very question, I cede a point; if I’m going to the expense of replacing a non-reference book, I should want to read it again. My resolution—when I buy another copy, I will read it then and there.
One of the stinging parts of this resolution is that some of the books were read by me just this past year, or even earlier this year. Jude the Obscure, although I enjoyed it, cost me a quarter year of my life of evening reading time. On that basis alone I should replace it, but if I’m not going to reread it why should I incur the expense? (Moving is anything but cheap.) I will also face rereading old favorites that have been put aside for a while. No house, for example, should be without Emily Brönte’s Wuthering Heights, although I read it again just months back, or so it feels.
This is perhaps a way of making lemonade from a cloud. Or finding the silver lining on a lemon. Whichever it is, I sense that it will figure toward my reading goal for next year. As I’ve spent the rainy weekend unpacking books, literacy is on my mind. For those who see my literomania as some kind of disease, I was cheered to note just how many of the books on display I had indeed read. The same goes true for a number of the academic books in the study, but, I must confess, while pulling them from their boxes I thought how boring most of them are. Boring, however, doesn’t equate to useless when it comes to books. Given their price points some of them may take years to replace. That’s the point of a resolution, in any case. It can cause some pain. As I stuff the moldy, distorted tomes into their body-bags I hope that rereading their replacements will bring them back to life. After all, resolution and resurrection are not so far apart.