What did making a “Books Read” list teach me?

When we do something, we normally begin by asking “why”. Why did I do that? Why did I enjoy that book? The given answers are usually “just because” or “why not”, which are evasive and incomplete.

Why did I make a “Books Read” list? Because someone recommended it to me.

The real question, however, is not “why”, but “what”. Let´s paraphrase:

What made me do that? What interested me in that book? For what reason do I make a “Books Read” list?

The “what” questions push you to think about it. They do not accept vagueness.

What made me follow the received recommendation? What happened while creating the list?

Making the list required an inventory of my own library, so I grabbed a pen and paper and marked which books had already been read and which were just collecting dust. More importantly, the list serves as a public record of my past and a commitment to the future.

To begin, I assumed I had read more books on certain topics than I did, and to my delight, I still have a long way to go in several areas. My literary tastes are mirrored there, and it was impressive how well it showed me how they have evolved through time and where they have stayed the same.

Every book I had ever read had some influence on me; as a result, they are part of both my past and my present, as well as my future. The promise is that I will start reading about new topics and literary genres.

What did I learn from my “Books Read” list?

It provided me with structure and motivation. I came to understand that rather than manifesting in what we say, our preferences manifest in what we do and how we act.

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