OVERBOOKED: One book a week for a year

Stephanie Chen, Senior Staff Reporter

This new year started for me as many “new years” have in the past – I was more sober than intended, as antisocial as always and, most importantly, deeply unsettled that surviving another year made no impact on the overall trajectory of my life.

I had been taught, as many good children of America are taught, that when the ball dropped in Times Square, it would usher in a New Year and New Me. In the past, my attempts at constructing a “New Me” included brief stints in Eating Vegetables I Didn’t Like and Running On Treadmills and Writing Handwritten Letters. The average time it took for me to abandon these New Year’s resolutions is about 2.8 weeks.

This year, that changes. I have resolved to read one book each week. The book can be a novel, poetry collection, play, or any other written work. It must be a bound paper book, not an e-book. And the books I select for myself cannot overlap with any class reading (for example, if I have to read “Let the Great World Spin” by Calum McCann for class, I can’t count it as my book for the week. Everyone should read this by the way.) So far I have read “Birds of America” by Lorrie Moore and “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick.

There are a few reasons why I’m choosing to do this:

  1. I’m an English major but my knowledge of contemporary writing, however, is pretty scant, and that scares me.
  2. I have a (medical?) condition that forces me to buy at least two books upon encountering any used book sale. Thus, I have a ton of books in my room that I’ve never read. This year, I’d like to stop being that asshole who has well-stocked but untouched bookshelves.
  3. I don’t like the way my brain works after staring at a computer screen for too long. The screen’s light burrows into the most vulnerable crevices of my soul and breaks apart my neural synapses with its evil little hands. According to “real” science, however, reading from light-emitting electronic devices can adversely affect REM sleep, the body’s internal rhythms, and alertness the next morning.
  4. There are so many books in the world, and so little time to read them! I’m getting older every day and my books’ pages are decaying every second! We’re all in a race against time, and we’re always losing!! This is so depressing!!!

Even though I’m a second-semester senior, the normal college student’s issues with this new year’s resolution also stand in my way: I am enrolled in 18 credit hours, am writing an honors thesis, have an internship and hold leadership roles on campus—all of which require an enormous amount of time. I’m determined to finish this out though, even if it means I have to stop binge-watching “Top Gear” re-runs in order to make more time to read (which is, in fact, a thing I need to stop doing.)

Here’s to a book-filled 2015,

Stephanie