Friday, October 7, 2011

And it begins!

My reading adventure begins (appropriately enough) with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, a book I have not read since high school--well, let's be honest, I probably never actually read it. This is one of many books I have on my shelf that I was supposed to read in high school, or even college, but somehow avoided...

I think Tom Sawyer was one of the assigned books in 9th or 10th grade by Mrs. Groffman--GREAT teacher, but I was not very easy to motivate back then. Clearly I've become more ambitious (or, some may say, crazy) over the years (this blog is case in point), but I do regret not taking advantage of all the great reading opportunities I had and ignored in high school.

Amazingly enough, I found the exact cover of the version I own (a very very old copy)
Anyway, I remember HATING all things Twain in high school, but I have a feeling my sentiments toward good ol' Clemens may have changed since I last attempted to read this particular work.

In other news, today is both my birthday (happy happy) and the eve of Yom Kippur, the most important day on the Jewish calendar. So, it seems as good a time as any to embark on this journey. I probably won't do much reading until Sunday, since I'll be spending most of tonight and tomorrow in our synagogue, but I'll report back with my renewed thoughts on Tom Sawyer and Mark Twain in a few days (this should be a quick read).

If you are fasting for Yom Kippur, I wish you an easy one, and G'mar Chatima Tova!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

welcome to shelf-by-shelf

I grew up in a house filled, floor-to-ceiling, with books. My mother has a Bachelors in Philosophy, a Masters in English, and she has her EBD (Everything But Dissertation) in Linguistics--so you can imagine we had a LOT of reading material in the house growing up. When I was a kid, I would lay on the couch and just study the shelves, memorizing the tattered bindings and obscure titles of the books that were intertwined with my childhood.

When my mother moved to Israel almost 5 years ago and couldn't bring most of her books with her, I jumped at the opportunity to have them in my possession. Even though I hadn't read most of them, and knew I probably never would, I, too, wanted a house filled with the best d├ęcor money can buy--shelves and shelves of books.

Well, after 5 years of looking at my mother's books sitting on my shelves, untouched, I've decided it's time to read them. All of them.

I'm turning 24 tomorrow, and I've resolved to spend this 25th year of my life immersing myself in the vast array of knowledge that sits right at my fingertips.

My plan is as follows:

I will go shelf-by-shelf, reading every book, regardless of content. Now, this gets a little more complicated as I've collected my own library of books over the years (I also have a Masters in English), and I am married to a doctor, so many of our shelves are filled with medical textbooks and other books devoted to health. So, I reiterate, I will read all books, regardless of content--much more impressive, huh?


The purpose of this project is to amass as much knowledge about as many things as possible before I'm 25, without taking any classes or spending any money.

There are going to have to be some ground rules, so that this whole thing doesn't get out of hand:

1. I will read every book in order of placement on my shelves (starting in the top left corner of this bookshelf, and working my way across):
2. If a book is completely unbearable (like some of my beloved hubby's boring textbooks), I must read at least 25% of the book before moving on to the next book on the shelf.

3. This challenge excludes: dictionaries, books in foreign languages (like Hebrew prayerbooks and bible), and any books that I have read within 1 year (although I can re-read any books if I loved them and want to revisit them).

4. I will blog about my experiences, frustrations, and thoughts along the way.

I look forward to going on this journey with you, shelf-by-shelf.

--Rachel