I recently tidied up the bookshelves a bit, and these are my to-be-read shelves. Except for a few school books tucked into the corner, these are unread books that I hope to read within the next year or so. The top is mostly non-fiction, and the bottom is mostly fiction, although the school-books down there pushed a few of the fiction books up to the top.
Of course, I'm diligently reading my books for the "From the Stacks" challenge, as well as my library book, The History of Henry Esmond by Thackeray, but since I had to tidy these shelves anyway, I couldn't resist making tentative plans about what to read next.
As I've already stated, I'm going to start From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun in January. I'm about halfway through The Literary Discipline by John Erskine, and when I finish that I will have to decide between starting The Educated Imagination by Northrop Frye or The Gift of the Jews by Thomas Cahill. I have a biography of C.S. Lewis and an intriguing mix of education-related books to read, from Thinking Youth's Greatest Need to Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy.
On the fiction shelf, I have Jane Eyre waiting for a reread, and I think it has been over ten years since I last read it. I have Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. There are two more books by Chaim Potok, a "Miss Read" book, The Complete Father Brown by Chesterton, and a few examples of the lighter reading I enjoy. I've got The Pickwick Papers to be my Dickens-for-the-year in 2007, something by Evelyn Waugh (whom I've never read) and Henry James (ditto). There are a few Christian fiction novels I picked up for peanuts at a sale which I've never heard of before and therefore view somewhat askance. They may be treasures and they may be rubbish, and if I had to guess which is the more likely...well, if anyone knows anything about Tracy DePree or Linda Lee Chaikin as authors, feel free to warn me.
There's more, of course, and between the library and my other book resources here in Poland I'll have plenty to read in 2007. It's a warm and comfortable feeling, because there have been years when I had no more than two or three new books to read for the whole year. That's when I began the habit of rereading all of Jane Austen's novels each year (although I've missed Northanger Abbey this year and I'm unlikely to get to it in the next three weeks). I may not have time to reread them all in 2007, although I probably will. I like to pace myself with new books because the supply has always been short. That doesn't seem to be the case so much these days. I think my book-buying spree in the States last year was a shade on the gluttonous side.
The good news is that overbuying books isn't like overbuying bananas. They aren't going to rot on that shelf, just wait their turns. And a room with shelves full of books is a friendly, homey room to be in.