A challenge: listen up, library book addicts.

Sara, at Sara Jayne’s Eclectic Reading Blog, has proposed a challenge for fellow library raiders. If, like me, you find yourself at the library every week to pick up a new (and very tall) loot tower on hold, I am willing to bet you have an obsession. You’re a book addict who can’t resist the high of requesting book after book after book. I know this, because I experience the same problem.

My name is Raya, and I love books. I love requesting books and finding books more than I love reading books. It’s a life-sentence affair with the written word.

As a book enthusiast, I read, discover, and suggest dozens upon dozens of stories. Perpetually scanning fellow book bloggers’ blogs for new, interesting novels, I also graze GoodReads shelves and let their recommendations feed my TBR list until the stack threatens to topple. My to-read list is so bloated that it will remain fatally plump long after I am dead. Considering all the books and authors I mark down for later reading, and out of all the books I put on hold, how often do I take time for casual shelf browsing at the library? Hardly ever. I walk through the doors, grab those books, check out, and strut to my exit like no one eyes the nut carrying 15 books.

(One might conclude that small dents form in this TBR overgrowth, seeing as how I visit the library at least once a week. To strip the truth naked of any obscurities: no. The list is as fat as ever and still growing, which is a commonality many bibliophiles and lit-lovers share.)

I catch myself wishing for the few minutes I spend inside the library to stretch. I miss my long visits, sitting comfortably between shelves and examining summaries and pages. Although I still do this, it’s not as often as I would like — nor is it as long as I would like, which is why I agreed to join Sara’s challenge:

  • At your library, find one book that is entirely new to you. It should be a book that you haven’t read reviews on and it is NOT on your TBR list. Take note of the author: have you read his or her writing before? Find a writer and introduce yourself to this person’s work!
  • Read the book (and hope it’s a good one)
  • If you like, review the book on August 24th

It’s one thing to find books online and then pick them up, because you know what you’re getting. Interrogating shelves for a satisfactory read is something else; you sit on uncertain ground. The synopsis might captivate, and the page you skim might read well, but there are no reviews to help you decide. Unless you cheat by asking a librarian, access a library computer, or browse the Internet on your cell, these book are entirely unfamiliar. You can’t feel certain on what to expect, but you can hope to enjoy it. Picking up random books is my favorite way to find wonderful stories I might have otherwise never read — if only I did it more often!

If you like to discover books and drop by your local library, stop by Sara’s post and leave a comment! I made a library trip (again) today, and while the new batch of held items I picked up forced me to return more unread books, I took time shelf-hopping as well…

The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson
Published Jan. 22nd, 2007 | Doubleday Canada

Ambrose Zephyr and his wife Zappora Ashkenazi (“Zipper”) have achieved a happy and balanced life together. She is the yin to his yang. He is the only man she has loved without adjustment. The two live contentedly in a narrow London terrace full of books.

That contentment is thrown into turmoil on or about Ambrose’s fiftieth birthday, when they receive the news that he has contracted a mysterious illness that will most certainly lead to his death within the month. In panicked delirium, from beneath their bed Ambrose withdraws an oxblood suitcase containing the ephemera of his long-suppressed life’s ambition: to travel the world in a pilgrimage through the alphabet, from Amsterdam to Zanzibar. [Read more…]

I hope everyone’s week kicked off with a pleasant Monday. Happy reading!