Four Bookstacks 9/31 #sol23

There are four small book stacks within four feet of where I sit to slice each morning.

My 2023 reading challenge is to read all of Shakespeare’s plays. I haven’t been keeping up with my reading schedule, but my current play (King John–better than you think it is!) and Marjorie Garber’s doorstopper “tour” through all of Shakespeare’s plays, Shakespeare After All, which I dip into before, during, and after reading a play, are at hand for when I get back to it.

Three books recently purchased to try to cure my reading slump: the second volume of Australian author Helen Garner’s Diary, T. Kingfisher’s Paladin’s Grace, and Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions for You. The Diary and Paladin’s Grace have already been started and abandoned, but I still have hopes for Makkai’s new novel.

I want to begin reading a few pages in a professional development book each morning, and my latest three purchases are waiting: Gholdy Muhammad’s Unearthing Joy; Ellin Oliver Keene’s The Literacy Studio; and Tucker & Novak’s The Shift to Student-Led.

The last stack of comfort rereads awaits reshelving–another stack of books pulled from my shelves, started and abandoned during this seemingly endless reading slump: E.H. Young’s Miss Mole, Stella Gibbons’s Cold Comfort Farm, Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove.

It would be hard for me to find anywhere to sit in my house where there weren’t at least four book stacks close at hand. Even when I’m not reading consistently, I am surrounded by books.


Today I borrowed the 4-4-4 format from Tammy at Writer Tammy Evans and added a twist of limiting myself to the books that were nearby. Also, I am constitutionally incapable of holding myself to one minute to write a sentence. I find myself gazing off into space and three minutes have passed by. That’s a good challenge for another day!






10 responses to “Four Bookstacks 9/31 #sol23”

  1. arjeha Avatar

    I only have three bookstacks surrounding me where I sit. One to my right, one to my left, and one an arm’s reach away. Two of the stacks hold a started book. The one I read depends on the mood I’m in and what I feel like reading at the moment. When I was in high school I read many of Shakespeare’s plays leaning mostly toward hie comedies and tragedies.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m a mood reader as well–hence the need for many book stacks! What I choose to read will definitely depend on my mood. I am really enjoying the Shakespeare challenge. It feels ambitious but also doable, since the plays don’t take too long to read.

  2. Trina Avatar

    The four-by-four-by-four format sounds interesting. I always have too many book piles. I am not sure that my family finds them very charming!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I would love to declutter more, but so much of my clutter turns out to be books! We buy new shelves, I fill them, and then there are more stacks!

      1. Trina Avatar

        I get you!

  3. Amanda Potts Avatar

    So many stacks of books – we have them everywhere, too. And I’m interested in this 4-4-4 format, but if it involves a minute per sentence I am highly unlikely to adhere to the structure!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I can’t imagine being successful at a timed challenge with one minute per sentence! I’m such a slow writer and will tinker with even the plainest sentence. But I’m going to try it sometime this month I think.

  4. Celia Fisher Avatar

    I stay with my daughter at the moment who is very minimalist and I am not allowed any book stacks anywhere! I hope you get through some of them. I can understand why you abandoned Helen Garner. I tried reading her twice and found her style quite boring and hard to get into. Shakespeare sounds like something I should get back into!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I admire the minimalist aesthetic and discipline so much but I’m hopeless when it comes to stacks and clutter! I read the first volume of Garner’s diary, which is a kind of writer’s notebook. Even though I haven’t read her novels (I’ve also tried and found her writing hard to get into), the notebook was interesting to me. But then it became more about her romantic life, and I found myself much less interested in that. The Shakespeare in a year challenge is really fun! But I’d better get at least a couple of plays read this month because I’m behind!

  5. Natasha Avatar

    I love this: “Even when I’m not reading consistently, I am surrounded by books.” My house is like that, too. It was fun to hear about the books that are currently in your piles.

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