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I have too many books. There: I said it. I used to be a voracious reader of books, but now I am…less so. The decline set in around the time I started being paid to read academic text for a living. It broke me. If you’ve read unedited academic papers, you’ll know what I mean.

And yet I remained a voracious buyer of books. Some habits are harder to let die than others, it appears. Bookstores remain a love…and spending an hour wandering around one, coffee in hand, determination not to spend money crumbling with every step, remains as good a way to spend the currency of my life as I can imagine.

Not that I don’t read for pleasure any more. My preferences are, though, changing. I’ve tried fighting it but I’m experiencing that cliched middle-aged move from fiction to non-fiction. I’m currently reading two autobiographies – it can’t be long before I start on a history of the Second World War.

For the quick hit of narrative excitement, there are always short-story collections, New Yorkers, or graphic novels (comic books for big boys and girls).

But here, in the photo above, you see my new reading process: rather than losing new books in a bookcase, I put them on my “reading shelf”. Next to my reading shelf are the books I am currently reading. Yes, there are three books there. I have no attention span. I need constant change to be kept interested. I am like a cat with ADHD when it comes to books. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

But this is my lifehack: the reading shelf. Being able to pick and choose, I get through all of my new books. Eventually. Get bored with one, move on to another. Get completely disillusioned with the book, put it back on the shelf. From there, I either give it another go when I’m in a different mood or it goes in the get-rid pile.

Either way, it makes more space on the reading shelf; space I can then fill with another trip to the bookstore.

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