Hi! My name is Sara Bickley. Starting in 2017, I’m planning to read all 200-odd books in my personal library and blog about them. (I expect this to take about three years.) Once the project begins, my collection will be frozen: I will neither acquire nor let go of any books.
Who I Am
A random American – thirtysomething, college-educated, and a bit useless – with a bad habit of buying books and not reading them.
What This Is
A project in self-improvement (with a bit of exhibitionism thrown in). I’m going to read through every book in my library: the Bibles, the reference books, all six volumes of the Norton Anthology, everything. And I’m going to blog about it.
The Library In Question
Here, have a look. It’s 212 books as of December 7th, 2016. That number will almost certainly change before January 6th; I plan to do a mini-purge before the end of the year, and I expect to get some books for Christmas. But after that, the catalog is fixed.
Two to three years, I think. I’m not a fast reader.
Why So Few Books?
Because I’ve purged my library several times over the years. I’d always kind of hoped to read them all, so minimalism comes easy.
Also, I live near family members with extensive libraries of their own, which means there are plenty of books (such as cookbooks) that I’ve just never had occasion to get for myself.
- I’ll read every book straight through, including those (such as the dictionary or the breviary) that aren’t actually meant to be read that way.
- Skimming is fine. Reading without comprehension is fine. Skipping truly incidental parts of a book (such as footnotes or indices) is fine.
- I do not oblige myself to closely examine maps, illustrations, musical notation, or text in languages I cannot read.
- I’ll generally read the books in order by Melvil Decimal Number, which is how they are catalogued and shelved. (I anticipate a couple of deviations from this order, but I’ll try to keep them to a minimum.)
- I’ll write, at the very least, an intro post for each book, noting bibliographical information and my own history with the volume.
- I’ll try to maintain a regular posting schedule including intro posts, notes upon finishing each book, personal updates, and occasional full reviews.
- I will neither acquire, nor get rid of, any new books until I’ve read them all.
The “Omega Library” name comes, in a roundabout way, from TV Tropes. There used to be a trope called Omega Cast, which (as I remember it) referred to a show which had the same cast from the first episode to the last – no guest stars and no turnover at all.
This concept came to mind when I was planning my reading project. I assumed that “omega” was an established term to refer to something that unfolds over time but retains the same population from beginning to end.
Turns out I was wrong about that. The “omega” in the trope name is of unclear origin, and the trope itself was renamed to Minimalist Cast (and its definition altered a bit) a few years ago. So “Omega Library” is not so much a reference to anything external as it is an idiosyncratic and obscure appeal to private memory. Which describes a lot of my approach to this project, anyway.