The End of Your Life Book Club

February 28, 2017 Bonnie Discussion Post 11 Comments

Book lovers are constantly adding to a TBR that they won’t likely ever finished. Read it Forward recently released a TBR calculator which takes the number of books on your TBR, the number of books you read last year, and your current age and calculates approximately how long it would take for you to finish them all. It said it would take me 4 years and 4 months to read all 739 books on my TBR which sounds fairly doable… until you take into account the number of new books that I’m constantly adding to it. It’s a never-ending battle to read all the books you want to read.

In a perfect world, my schedule for how I prioritize my reads typically centers around my review books and their order of publication. These days though my picks have been super random and I’ve been all about the mood reading. Here’s the part where this discussion post turns a tad bit morbid. Imagine, like the individual in The End of Your Life Book Club, you’re given a time frame on how long you’re expected to survive. Will Schwalbe’s mother was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer where patients are typically only given six months to live. What would you do with your precious remaining days left on Earth? Everyone has a bucket list of things they wish to experience in their life whether it’s visiting some far off place or achieving something amazing.

Inspired by the concept of an end of your life book club, I decided to make a list to see which stories I’d want to spend that precious time on. I am 100% a reader at heart and I know that I’d be completely content and wouldn’t regret a single second if I spent my last remaining days in a comfortable chair surrounded by books. But which ones do you choose? Do you revisit old favorites, secure in your choice that you wouldn’t be wasting any time with anything that you didn’t already know was amazing? Or do you finally tackle those books that make you say “Why didn’t I ever make time for you?” For me, I can understand the lure between both choices, wanting to return to a book that feels like a best friend but on the other hand wanting to experience something fresh, new, and potentially exciting.

As I said, my reading picks lately have been a bit all over the place. This concept of prioritizing the books you choose to spend your time on (even if you haven’t been given a deadline on life) is a fairly enlightening concept even if it seems like a no-brainer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I’ve been wanting to read this FOREVER! I really need to make the time for it.” Well, what’s stopping me? Why not now?

Glancing through my TBR, I notice just how many I’ve said that about and still they sit unread. I declare myself to be a massive Sherlock Holmes fan, and yet I haven’t even finished all of Doyle’s stories. The Collector by John Fowles, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock are all recent favorites of mine that I gushed over incessantly, yet I never made time for the other books those authors have written. And Stephen King. I’ve read so many but keep going round and round about starting The Dark Tower series. Honestly, what am I waiting for?

In terms of re-reads, I’d choose: to be mesmerized all over again by Mary-Louise Parker’s beautifully written Dear Mr. You, to revisit the magical world of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy, to remember exactly why I fell in love originally with Rainbow Rowell with Attachments, to laugh until my belly ached in Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and to experience the beauty of friendship in Harry Potter.

This exercise has definitely inspired me to take a more conscious look at the books I choose to spend my time with. I hope that I can limit my excuse making and dive in head first, finally tackling those books that have sat on my shelf for far too long.

What books would you prioritize reading if you knew you only had a set time to read?

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11 Responses to “The End of Your Life Book Club”

  1. Heidi

    An intersting post, but for me it hit too close to home right now after losing my mom last year. I however do need to prioritize and get to those books I have long put off. I have been so much more selective this last year, and I continue to do so and I am having a better time reading.

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  2. Dani

    I know I got to talk to you about this in person, but this is one of my favorite recent bloggy things!
    My list would be heavy packed with re-reads. In my hypothetical final days, I want to revisit books that meant the world to me, rather than risk it on new ones – Sarah Maas being the exception. I’ll make time for her stuff any ol’ day 🙂
    Lovely list!
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  3. Jennifer | Book Den

    OMG. There are books I say I’m going to read every single year that I just don’t read. I think maybe I don’t read as many chunky books as I used to? I love them so much, but I start feeling like a failure if it takes me too long to make through a book these days. 🙁 And there is always the shiny new calling out to me.

    This post is very thought provoking, though. I don’t want to die in the middle of reading a crappy book.
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  4. Jessie

    This is a really good discussion post. It kinda reminds me of the 5-Year Plan I made for myself last year — basically that I was going to try to be more conscientious about what I chose to read and reduce my TBR of impulse-driven additions. But this post and idea are even more direct and I think that’s pretty wonderful — we all know we have a finite time on this earth, and yet we/I tend to put off doing/seeing/reading the things we want the most. Priotizing things is a good idea.

    I mean… I have books from favorite authors that I refuse to “break the glass” on, because then I won’t have any unread left. But then the question becomes — why do I have that book in the first place? Even reading 300 + books year, there is no way I will ever EVER be able to read all I want to. It makes me sad and yet it’s a fact of life!

    I think that’s why this year I have reread more than I have in any of my 6 years of blogging. I’m also remembering and re-buying childhood favorites for the same reason. Reclaiming a bit of “me” space in my reading, if that makes sense?

    Anyway. I love this post. Gemma Doyle is such a good series to revisit — my reread made me appreciate it way more than the first time 🙂
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    • Bonnie

      I’m all about prioritizing. I’m always trying to plan and make lists so that time isn’t ever wasted, which is sometimes a problem, but I usually get a lot done. lol But in terms of books, I feel like I read a lot of “filler” books that I could be spending that time on something more worthwhile.

      I’m the same way about certain authors. Always saving them for a rainy day or something but… really, why wait.

      And yep, I get it about the re-reading and getting childhood classics. Even though I’ve read for years, those originals that I read as a child are ones that molded my identity. It’s taken me a while to get into re-reading actually (back to that time wasting thing — already read it, why not read something new sort of mentality) but it’s something I’ve come to really love and appreciate… but if you’re enjoying something, it’s never wasting time. 🙂
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  5. Kate @ booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    I do plan on chipping away at my TBR stack (around 370 books) but it will take me years because, like you, I add to it. Oddly, one of the books in my stack is called something like ‘The Reading Project’ and it’s about a father and daughter who read together (and document what they read) – from memory the father is sick. This book came out years and years ago (before End of Life Book Club) – I will get to it eventually!

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