First of all let me try to quantify in a single sentence what it is I am trying to do: I would like to read a book from every bookcase in Dorking Library.
So there. I have stated my goal. There are several reasons why I would like to do this. I would like to help publicise the wide range of books available in the library. Libraries are under threat being "non-essential" public services, and I bet there are many people who would use them at least occasionally if they just knew all the services them offered. Dorking Library might be miles away for some readers of this blog, but in reality it could be any library anywhere for the purposes of my project. If you're reading this then just think of it as your local library wherever that may be.
Secondly, I am a fairly eclectic reader already, reading a large amount of non-fiction and some fiction, but even I have become set in my ways. I tend to overlook whole sections of the publishing industry because I think I don't like certain types of book, or certain authors, or certain subject matters. But how often do I review my own fairly arbitrary decisions? I could tell you for instance that I am not a fan of Westerns, but I am not sure I have ever read one, certainly not in the last 30 years anyway.
Thirdly, I have read everything I want to. I've probably got about another five books I could even vaguely say I was desperate to read on my immediate horizon. Don't get me wrong I have loads of books to read but I wouldn't miss 95% of them if they were to disappear tomorrow. So I need new inspiration - from somewhere. Maybe it will come on the 21st case, who knows!?
So by taking a book from every bookcase I will force myself to re-examine at least some of my long-held opinions on what I do and don't like. My project will be a journey though the complete range of the publishing industry, in English anyway. It will be a journey that I would like to share with you.
I'm making it a bookcase and not a shelf because I want to see the project through. I don't want to die midway through my undertaking, or for the library itself to disappear. A bookcase seems feasible within a reasonable timeframe. I have in my mind a figure of about a year, that may turn out to be laughably naive but it's what I am currently envisaging the project taking.
I will be starting my project in the New Year, but I'll have lots to say before then.