A few of the books I’ve always meant to read


“What are you reading?”

For me, there’s always an answer. There’s nothing I like more than finding myself enthralled in a book I can’t wait to get back to reading.  The characters of a great book stay with me throughout the day, even when I’m not reading.

I love movies, too. But almost every reader accepts that a movie made from their favorite book is always going to leave them feeling just a bit hollow.  Even my favorite adaptations—Harry Potter, The Notebook, Carrie—leave huge swaths of the story on the cutting room floor.

I loved the film version of The Help, but we never got to see Skeeter dragging her typewriter across town and spending late nights typing and retyping her beloved manuscript.  I understand why they cut it out—it doesn’t make a compelling visual and doesn’t move the plot along—but that’s how I remember Skeeter in my head.

I search out book recommendations everywhere. I browse library shelves, used book stores, new book stores, yard sales.  My Amazon wish list is a huge backlog of books I will never get through.

My bookcases are packed with books I’ve picked up along the way. Earlier this week I started weeding through them, as I periodically do, removing books I’ve read and won’t revisit, or books I’ve never read but no longer wish to.  As I did, I realized I have dozens of books I’ve been meaning to read for a long time.

Some I found on clearance racks and picked up based on their covers. Some are classics that interested me but were never assigned in school.  Romances or mysteries by authors I love.  Others are popular books from their time.

I’ve been meaning to read some of them for almost as long as I can remember. But something always gets in the way—a hot new bestseller, or the latest from an author I love.  It occurs to me that these books have been on my shelves for years and I may never get around to reading them.

I don’t want that to happen. So I’m making it a priority—a quasi-New Year’s Resolution (a bit early) to read the books I’ve always wanted to read.  Not all of them, and not exclusively, but I want to focus on the books I’ve never managed to read or weed out of my pile.

There are so many things in our lives we never do because they have no deadline. Reading a stack of old books is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but it seems like a start.

And anyway, with this year’s particularly distasteful wall-to-wall election coverage, the idea of turning off the internet, television, and radio to read a good book is more appealing than ever.