A tower of books with a almond- or vaginal-shaped opening
These books were presumably read, by someone, before being incorporated into this work of art

I thought I wouldn’t need to make any resolutions for 2018. I figured I could just keep working on the ones I make every year. There are some things I’m already actually good at, and every year, I think “I’m going to keep on doing that.” I’ll read the Bible every morning. I’ll take the recycling before it overflows. I’ll keep not smoking. There are some other things I haven’t gotten good at yet, and every year I think “I’ll do better this year.” I’ll actually lose some weight. I’ll get to bed earlier. I’ll wash the dishes instead of leaving them in the sink overnight, and I’ll vacuum more like once a week than once a quarter. I say all those things every year. This year, I decided it was redundant to make new resolutions, when the old ones were still perfectly good.

But then I cleaned off my desk. Really. I had something else to do, so cleaning off the desk made perfect sense. Now the desk is clean. (One old resolution down.)

Part of the task of cleaning off the desk was separating the five stacks of books hanging out there into those that had homes on the book shelves, and those that were in the “to be read” section, which I have taken to thinking of as being “on the read me shelf.” There is an actual shelf. It’s full. So there is also a stack on top of one of the bookcases in the office. That stack has attained a height that prevents me from adding more books to it unless I get out the step stool. So there are also two additional shorter stacks on top of the bookcase next to it. And some books that have landed on the little table next to the chair in the living room where I usually sit when I actually sit in the living room, which is a sort of “read me” annex, I suppose.

I counted 44 books on the “read me” shelf.[*]

This prompted me to make a resolution for 2018 after all: I am not buying any new books until I have read these.

(OK, until I have read these, or until I have decided that I really don’t want to read that book any more. I may need an escape clause, and whoever put this syllabus together surely had these on the “recommended” list, not the “required” one.)


[*] Addendum (6.28.18): (a) the original count should probably have been more like 65 – and would have been, if I’d counted the books that “didn’t really count” (since they’d been there so long, or that I had actually started but not finished, and so on), and the ones that were more or less hiding on the other side of the office (“oh, right, those …”); (b) the reading list is online here.

interior of book tower in Prague Municipal Library