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Let’s Do Dewey

Aug 15, 2018 | Books

Glancing at the dozen books piled on my nightstand–it’s fair to say that I fit a lot of the common librarian stereotypes; there are piles of books and piles of cardigans in both my home and my car–I noticed a trend. There was a wide mix of adult, young adult, and children’s titles, but only one of them was nonfiction, and it came from my old standby: the true crime collection (I am not totally morbid–I do read memoirs and biographies, too, sometimes!).

So I decided to challenge myself to read more nonfiction. “This is the 2018 Nonfiction Challenge,” I said to myself proudly as I opened up the catalog to find a book. And then I realized that I had no idea where to begin. Do I want a history? And if I do, what kind of history would I want? World? American? Musical, movie, religious? Should I just browse the nonfiction shelves? The litany of questions I asked myself in the thirty second after I threw down my challenge was a reminder of why I don’t gravitate toward’s nonfiction.

But a challenge is a challenge, and I decided to hold up my end of the bargain (…that I made with myself?) through the help of an old standby: randomness.

Every month, I am going to read a nonfiction book selected with the help of a random number generator. Once the generator picks a number from 10-999, I will find a book in that Dewey section and read it, provided that it’s not a textbook or exam guide.

This month’s random number: 919.

It’s delightful–or cruel?–to think about New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii, during this spell of rainy weather. I’ve settled on Bill Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country. I’ll report back with my thoughts; in the meantime, feel free to join this challenge with me!