“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” 
~ Arthur Ashe

One of the challenges I have when it comes to "starting where I am" is that the place I'm starting from is often kind of a mess. Case in point: At this moment I have 6 books on my Currently Reading shelf, all in various states  of "progress."

Somewhere along the way I lost the ability to commit to one story at a time. Like so many of us in today's world of information overflow and instant gratification, I am easily distracted. I also tend to allow my mood to dictate what I read. Unfortunately, this means that the allure of something new and shiny often wins out over the stories that have been with me for a while. Hence my overloaded bookshelves and the existence of this blog.

Of course, this lack of focus also means that when I do pick up one of those books I've left sitting for weeks, or even months, re-reading is almost always necessary. And this applies to both fiction: "Who is this guy they're talking about and why is he riding a flying carpet through a cavern with his eyes closed?" and non-fiction: "What were the steps in that breathing exercise that will help me sit with my depression and not let it grip me for weeks at a time?" 

So I want to take this opportunity to retrain my focus. To extend my original commitment by also promising to read no more than 2 books at once. One title will be for the book club that I have with my husband: Brayer Books and the other will be a title of my choosing.  Both will be chronicled here for your enjoyment. 

Tune in next week when I announce the "winners."

In the meantime I'd love to hear if you have trouble reading "just one" book at a time. Do you have any strategies for picking a book and sticking with it? 
Yesterday morning I received an email from my public library letting me know that one of the books I have out is due this Tuesday. Not exactly a blog-worthy subject, and yet...

Here's what usually happens when I get one of these emails:

  1. I move the listed book to the top of my pile, forsaking everything else I'm reading to try and finish this "newcomer" before I have to return it. 
  2. I rush through the book and instead of enjoying it I hear my inner critic snicker about how much of a flake I am, and how I'll never read all of the books I own.
  3. Finish. Return. Repeat.

Only this time there was a break in the cycle. A new voice inside me that said "Why not just return the book? In fact, why not just return all the books you have out?"

It was like magic. All of a sudden this commitment to read everything I own became a way out. An opportunity for me to change my pattern and choose to be the girl who follows through. The girl who doesn't set herself up to fail. 

Goodbye snickering. Hello pride.

Do you find it takes major shifts to change your patterns, or are subtle shifts just as effective? Is there a cycle you've been wanting to break? Why not break it today?
The other day I happened upon a post written by the fabulously frugal Anna of And then we Saved about how to prepare for a Spending Fast®.  While the pledge I made for Shelf Space isn't a full on Spending Fast®, Anna's tip to make a few final purchases was music to my ears.

I've chosen 3 titles to round out my library, and then it's no more money for books. These 3 made the cut:

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Fart With Headphones on the book! by Michelle Vargas 
Free Your Awesome also by Michelle Vargas 

You may notice a personal development / creative expression vibe, which is definitely the subject that most draws my interest these days.

What about you? What would you choose? 

Do you have a collection you're ready to tackle? If so, what items are you going to splurge on before you take the plunge?
and you can find mine here.