Pet care, military history, even the reference shelf: this guy is going to read a book from each of them. Robert Sedgwick wants to expand his reading, and to promote his local library. He decided the best way to do this was to read a book from each bookcase in the library – there are 133 bookcases, by his count – and blog about it here. He’s on book 43. He has over 20,000 books to choose from.
As with any self-imposed Herculean challenge, one must set oneself some rules:
Firstly, he defined a bookcase:
‘For my purposes a bookcase is a set of parallel horizontal shelves with vertical sides. As soon as you cross a vertical line it’s another bookcase. Tables of books laid flat I will treat as one bookcase.’
Then a book:
‘I will only read English prose/poetry books, so things like telephone directories and dictionaries which are not meant for reading I won’t consider as books, likewise audio cds and recordings of people reading books are not for this project. If there are no valid books on a bookshelf then I will ignore that shelf.
If possible I will not read any book or author I have read before and I will select books at least 150 pages long. I’ll only break this rule if there is no other choice on the bookshelf.
My intention is to stick to the adult library and not to select books from the children’s section.’ I think it’s a shame about the kids’ section, but never mind.
He also states that if he is utterly loathing the chosen book he reserves the right to abandon it and choose a different title from the same bookcase. Very wise.
He began at the front door and is working his way around the library in an anti-clockwise direction, gradually spiralling into the centre. He’s been through true crime, thrillers, young adult and book of the week. You can take a virtual tour of his chosen library here to get a sense of what he has in store.
As a person who works in libraries I have two things to say about this:
1. Everyone should look around sections in the library they don’t often visit – there are hidden gems and Dewey-decimal quirks that mean you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Ask the people working there for recommendations – we know where the buried treasure is (and we’ve read half of it)!
2. Also, keep going back to your favourite sections because libraries are constantly getting new books, either brand new or circulated from around the county. They don’t all go on the ‘new titles’ section to make sure you go to the shelves and see the older stuff too. We want you to take out a new book and an old favourite!
What do you think of Robert’s idea? Could you do it? Is there a section you’d never consider taking a book from? Comments please!