If you read the decluttering books that are so popular right now (I’m looking at you “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”) you’ll learn how important it is to let go of things that are no longer serving you.
I feel the same way about books that I’m reading. A few years ago I figured out (approximately) how many books I have left to read in my life.
To do this I used the current number of books I read a year and multiplied it by how many years I think I have left.
Since no one can predict the future this is only a guess but I’d say I have roughly 3,600 books left – in my entire life!
Now, that may sound like a lot to you. Everyone reads varying amounts. But to me it is not enough. Which is why I started following Nancy Pearl’s Rule of 50. In her book, Book Lust, Pearl explains "I live by what I call "the rule of 50," which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense.
If you're 50 years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you're over 50, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100 - the result is the number of pages you should read before deciding."
I don’t completely follow the Rule of 50 but one thing it has allowed me to do is let go when a book isn’t right for me, or when maybe the book is right but it’s not the right time.
That’s why the library is so great! It’s so frustrating to buy a book, get it home, and realize that you don’t want to read it. So, don’t hesitate to put a book aside and pick up a new one. Life is only so long and there are so many fantastic books to read.
Denise Corey is the chief librarian of the Cumberland Public Libraries