Who knew me and Mandell Conway, conversation-partner number two for this third season of meandering conversations, would spend a whole episode talking abouts books. (Well. More or less. Not 100% perhaps. But a lot. And as I am a book buff I was pleasantly surprised to find a book buff-friend in Mandell).
You see, I know Mandell more for the stories he writes, as we met up in end November 2020 for The Storyskills Workshop. Luckily for me, Mandell started a blog in the first months of 2022, publishing writings he somewhat irregularly shares on LinkedIn too, which is where they caught my eye. In that way, he kind of made his way into my mind as I started to ponder who I wanted to spend season three with.
It’s fascinating how easy it is to set up rules for reading, rules that might or might not serve you (or your reading habit).
’… as I began to learn and like to read and fall down these rabbit holes of self-development, I wouldn’t buy books unless I was reading them. And then if I read a book, I would finish them. Then I read somewhere that it’s okay to have a bunch of books in your house that you haven’t read. Just look at it as if you have all this wisdom accessible to you at any moment.’ ~ Mandell
I did the same thing as Mandell, punished myself by judging me a failure if I started to read a book without finishing it. Today I’ve so let that belief go, as there are way to many books out there for me to spend my time reading books I am not getting something of value from, regardless what that ‘value’ might be.
I’ve also imposed a no-book-buying-ban on myself, having ten years or so when I’d only read library books. I’ve relaxed a lot around that issue too, buying books that I know I want to marginalia in. (No. That’s not an actual verb. But in my vocabulary it is.)
So when I learned about tsundoku (having books piled everywhere) in an article by Austin Kleon, I laughed because this is so me. He also quotes Edward Tufte:
“The important books in my library are the unread books.”
Perhaps this is true for tankespjärn as well? The important thing is to be in a setting where the potential for coming across one (or two, or…) is high. Such as when you join me and Mandell in this our first conversation. Enjoy!