Not only am I trying to read the sixteen books I've selected as ones I want to get to this summer, but I also want to read more books from my shelves so I can enjoy them and move them on to other readers to enjoy. This is a slow process. Years ago my sister had me do some math to determine how many years it would take me to read the books on my shelves if I didn't purchase anything new. At that point, it was more than a decade. Now, I'm afraid it is far longer.
So a few books here and there don't seem to add up to any free bookshelf space, but I'm making an effort.
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper - When Judd Foxman's father dies, the entire family returns to sit shiva at his dead father's request, despite the fact that they really don't practice any religion. We get to hear about Judd's failed marriage and the struggles he's had in his life, all with humor. I found myself chuckling quietly while reading, and just wish I hadn't waited for 11 years before picking up this book.
The Hole We're In by Gabrielle Zevin - takes a look at one family who lives beyond their means. The Pomeroys claim to have put faith at the center of their lives, but most of their focus seems to be on acquiring possessions and keeping up with the Joneses. When they have to rethink how they've been living, the youngest daughter, Patsy, is the most deeply affected. While this story does share the stories of the entire family, it is Patsy's story that is told in the most depth. This one was published in 2010, so it's only waited a decade for me to enjoy it.
The Quality of Life Report by Megan Daum- this book reads like a memoir, but tells the story of Lucinda, a lifestyle writer for television who pitches to her boss that she should move to a small town in the midwest and write about what life is like from a different perspective. Living in the midwest myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and felt that Daum didn't make us midwesterners look too backward (I'm also OK with poking a little fun at myself). This one sat on my shelf or 17 years, but at least I finally picked it up and enjoyed it.
I can't guarantee how many books I'll get through from my shelves, but it does feel good to clear a few things out. However, because I enjoyed all three of these - and it took me so long to get to them - there is no incentive for me to get rid of books I haven't read. After all, I might miss out on something great.