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Introduction (Very Short Version)

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.

Links of Potential Interest

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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.

The Timeline

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.

The Plan

  1. 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.
  2. Skimming is fine. Reading without comprehension is fine. Skipping truly incidental parts of a book (such as footnotes or indices) is fine.
  3. I do not oblige myself to closely examine maps, illustrations, musical notation, or text in languages I cannot read.
  4. 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.)
  5. I’ll write, at the very least, an intro post for each book, noting bibliographical information and my own history with the volume.
  6. I’ll try to maintain a regular posting schedule including intro posts, notes upon finishing each book, personal updates, and occasional full reviews.
  7. I will neither acquire, nor get rid of, any new books until I’ve read them all.

The Name

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.