The Infinite Pile

I have just started to work here as an intern at Beaufort and this is my first publishing job ever. Being in this environment has made me take stock of books and how they have shaped my life. Ever since I could remember books have been stacked sky high in my household. Growing up I would always see all of these old books around my house. Some books were placed on rickety shelves that were dipping due to the sheer weight of Hemingway and Fitzgerald and others were stacked in strategic places around the house, piles that went all the way up to my chest. At first, the idea of reading these books was daunting. I saw them as unreadable and too complex. But, as I got older and reading became a passion, I tried to read as many books as I could. I became fascinated with these authors on my bookshelves. I learned about new authors and bought more and more books. I collected more books than I could read. But I couldn’t stop sometimes. When I patrolled the aisles of my local book stores I kept finding new books that I wanted to read. It didn’t help that some of my favorite authors would release new books some years.

Reading all of the books I have spread around my house became a task at some points, like homework. It was hard to read my books during college due to the schoolwork I had. So, every break I had, Christmas break, summer break, spring break, Easter break, Presidents weekend, Columbus Day, etc., I tried to read as many books as I could. I became disappointed when I didn’t hit a certain amount of pages some days or didn’t read as many books as I would’ve liked to. I learned that I was sucking the fun out of reading when I looked at it like this. Over this Christmas break I set out to finish a good chunk of books. I made a list of all the books and was ready to check them off. A revolving door of family members came through my house during the break. I also traveled to see others and began working at my internship. All of this hurt my prospects of checking off the books on my list. When I got to my next book on the list, Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, I realized that I might not finish by the time the semester starts. I have come to grips with this. Reading shouldn’t be a chore. I should be able to pick up a book and allow it to envelope me. I am going to come back to The Corrections throughout my semester and finish it at my own pace. I am going to pick up other books during this time and start them. I feel like I need to learn to pick up books whenever I have a chance and read any amount, whether it is five pages or a hundred pages. I also feel like I need to put down books that I am not interested in and don’t like. I shouldn’t feel obligated to finish a book; it is just a waste of time. Besides, I may come back to a ditched book and find that past me was an idiot for not liking it. I hope that this new approach will allow me to tackle more books on my reading list and most importantly allow myself to enjoy reading even more.

-Matt, intern at Beaufort Books

This is a shared blog post for Spencer Hill Press and Beaufort Books.