Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welcome to No Book Left Behind!

Hello, and welcome to my blog, a.k.a, No Book Left Behind! I bet you're wondering what this is all about, huh? Well, here is the story of why I've started this blog... go get a snack or something to drink, because this is a long story!

So I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. No matter where I've been or what's been going on in my life, reading has always been my happiness and my passion. Rumor has it that I learned to read at age two and a half, and no one is quite sure how I learned. I don't know if that's actually true. But something I know that is true is that I've had a lifelong book obsession. As a child, I'd bring along a tote bag full of books just for car rides, filled with my childhood favorites, like Judy Blume books, American Girls books, The Babysitters Club series, etc. When I was nine years old, my local library put a "maximum limit" on the amounts of books that I was allowed to check out of the library at one time, because I would go there and fill my bookbag with books. I was especially a sucker for young adult series! I loved to read and was a pretty fast reader by a young age.I read a lot in high school, mostly typical teenage books, and a bit in college, although my reading-for-pleasure was often traded for textbooks and study materials. But I never stopped loving to read.

I graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelors' degree in Communication Studies/minor in Psychology in 2003. Despite what they tell you in college, and no matter how hard they prep you for the real world, I learned right away that having a college degree does not immediately secure you a job right out of college! So I had to do a little searching first. In the meantime, I took the first retail job I could find that didn't involve me standing in front of a grill or smelling like pizza- at a Borders bookstore. And my obsession was suddenly rejuvenated, and rejuvenated hard-core. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by brand-new books, all the time, an employee discount, bargain books, free advanced reader copies of unpublished books, and the chance to check out books and then bring them back. It was my version of heaven. And boy, did I take advantage of those perks and privileges. I can still feel the thrill from Employee Appreciation Weekend, where everything was 70% off for employees.It was at that same time that I discovered the beauty of used book sales. At libraries, yard sales, etc. I kind of became addicted to book sales. I would hit them, and hit them hard. One year, I pulled a muscle in my back carrying all the books I'd bought to my car, but I was too happy to care. Finding a great book for fifty cents is truly one of life's greatest pleasures in my mind. So yes, I believe that I am addicted to books, and reading- so I guess it's a good thing I ended up having a career as a proofreader, huh? Getting paid to read all day long is a dream come true for me! My "ultimate" dream job is to be a book editor, particularly fiction, but really, any books will do just fine!

But in my defense, there are many worse addictions in this world. And it's not like I'm addicting to buying brand-new books or anything like that. Almost all of my books are either used, so I bought them for very cheap, discounted, or free. So it's not even really an expensive hobby.Between working at Borders and going to tons of book sales, I suddenly found myself accumulating tons of books, but not getting around to actually reading a lot of these books. I still kept using the library, borrowing books from friends, etc. Out of curiosity, a few months ago, I counted up all the books I owned, and then of those books, I counted the books I had accumulated over the years.

As of this past month, I own 302 books. And of those 302 books, 157 of them are unread.

So I made a deal with myself. No more checking out books from the library, borrowing from friends, or anything else until I have read every single book on my shelf. What is the point of buying all these books if they do nothing but sit on my shelves, collecting dust, not getting read? It's like buying shoes and clothes and never wearing them. What is the point? And they're all books that I want to read, which is why I bought them in the first place. So why not read them???

So here are the conditions of my self-imposed project (appropriately named "No Book Left Behind"):

*I have to read every unread book that I own. Since I have a major variety of interests, and because my obsession of buying books knows no limits or boundaries, this includes everything from self-help books to fiction to memoirs to textbooks to classic literature. I have to read them all.
*I'm going to pick each title at random. At first, I was going to read them in the order I bought them/acquired them, but there are so many, I no longer remember the order I received them. Plus, that's a little too OCD even for me. So instead I'm going to put the name of each book in a bag or box, shake it up, and pick a title at random. That's the one I have to read. Or else I'll never be able to figure out which one to read next, because I might just be the most indecisive person on the planet.
*Every time I start a new book, I'm going to post a picture of it, along with the title, maybe where I got it or why I bought it, etc.
*I reserve the right to quit a book if I hate it. Life is too short to waste time trying to get through a bad book. I'll give it a try, but if I don't like it, I reserve the right to quit and donate it to the Salvation Army.
*If I do finish the book, once I do, I'll write up a brief review/synopsis of the book, and then move on to the next book.

And it's that simple! (Or, that sad. Depending on how you want to look at it.)

I probably won't blog every day, because there's no need to update every day on the progress of where I am in the book ("Today I read eleven pages... today I read nineteen pages.... I like the book so far..."... talk about boring!), and I'll probably blog about other stuff too, my life in general, etc. But I'll definitely be putting up a new post every time I start a new book, every time I finish, if I quit a book before I get to finish it, and all the stuff that happens to me in between. In addition to books and reading, some of my other passions include: health/fitness/nutrition, writing, coffee (love love love flavored coffees!), my friends and loved ones, finding amazing sales (my new recent obsession is Plato's Closet!), bargain shopping, grocery shopping (Wegmans is my favorite place ON EARTH), trying out new healthy recipes/food in general (I'm constantly reading food blogs and watching The Food Network for culinary inspiration!), music, laughter (I try really hard to keep my sense of humor, no matter what! It's not always easy, but I do try!), and trying to have fun! I've been through a lot in my life, but I am determined to lead a long, happy, and healthy life and try to enjoy life as much as possible!

I also recently just ended a year-long relationship. I am sad that it ended, but I am honestly looking forward to taking this time in my life to focus on myself and my happiness. I still have a lot to learn in life, and I'm really looking forward to learning it and discovering who I am and what I want out of life, and becoming truly comfortable in my own skin and happy with myself, which hasn't always been the case in the past.

I was curious to see how long it would take me to do this. So I thought, why not start a blog about it? And just like that, No Book Left Behind was born. At first, the blog was really just for myself, just for fun, but the more people I told about it, the more people wanted to read it, which really surprised me, because I thought that people would think I was crazy! But then I realized that I underestimated my friends, because they're a lot like me- book enthusiasts who love reading and books just as much as I do. And it makes me happy to have their support and encouragement!So that's why I started this blog. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and to read my blog in general!

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