I Will Read Every Book I Own OR SO HELP ME

There’s something about a house filled with bookcases, overflowing with books, that has millennials of a certain erudite disposition in a real chokehold. Maybe it’s as simple as blaming Capitalism, and the impulse to buy, buy, buy that we’ve been inundated with, literally from the moment we were born. Or maybe it’s the fact that the vast majority of us grew up with Disney films, and we can blame that one scene in Beauty and the Beast where Belle cheerfully glides across her bookshelves while on a ladder, perfectly content with being held captive by a furry because OMG LIBRARY. A scene that has definitely ruined an entire generation, and one I can confidently say is directly responsible for my generation’s obsession with built-in bookshelves.

“What is the point of buying all those books when you have a public library at your disposal, where stories are free, and you can read truly whatever you want?” is a question that someone more reasonable, with better impulse control might ask. And to them I might answer, "Getting immediately recognized at your local bookstore like you're a celebrity is FUN, actually."

There's only one problem with hoarding obtaining an indecent number of books, and that's the fact that books are designed to be read. Did you know that? That they're not just for looking at, with their pretty, pretty covers and their deckled edges and their special editions signed by the author you had to order online from a bookstore in Vermont? It might come as a shock to you, dear reader, that the stacks and stacks of finished manuscripts you have piled on your beside table at home were intended to be enjoyed, and by enjoyed, I mean read in their entirety. I know, I know. It's horrifying. The thought of READING books and not just collecting more is offensive to my ears, as well. It's insulting. Despicable. Upsetting. I don't have TIME to read. Think of all the unhoused books, waiting pitifully on the shelves, hoping to find someone who will love them, like so many puppies with their big, sad, watery eyes!!

It is with that humble truth in mind that I have decided to be brave, so very brave, and embark on the noble quest to read every single book that I own, and chronicle my thoughts here, in this blogpost (and subsequent blogposts, should I prove worthy of this immense undertaking). I am the champion of destiny. The master of my own fate. This is my hero's journey. 


Ironically, we're starting out with a book about a serial killer. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is such a strange, disgusting little man, and I was delighted to spend nearly 300 pages trapped in his head. This novel is a feast for the senses, and there were times where I felt I was gorging on the prose; it was that decadent, that worthy of a feast. This book is for people who love unloveable narrators. 

Picnic at Hanging Rock

This came as a suggestion for books to read if you enjoy The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and I'm pleased to say that suggestion was spot on. This book is trippy, with constantly shifting narrators that would be messy in any other text, but here, it just works. The story evokes a time and place so effectively, it feels like you're traveling through time. Read this if you want to unravel a mystery. 


I'm being cheeky with this one, because I specifically recommend the edition edited by Carmen Maria Machado, which is a must-read for classic horror fans, vampire fiends, and people who want to reclaim queer history or you're interested in queer subtext. (Fortunately, there's no need to purchase; you can ILL the book.) This is so much better than Dracula, and you can fight me on that.

The Virgin Suicides

I was in college when I first watched Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides, and while I was enraptured with the aesthetics of the film, I didn't really "get it". That was over a decade ago, but that film has stuck with me. It took me awhile to read, but it was well worth it. It's rare for a book to exceed your expectations. Even better, the movie is on Kanopy, so I don't even have to pay to watch it again.

This journey officially began in early February 2024 when I read Eaters of the Dead: Myths and Realities of Cannibal Monsters by Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. It's a great book, and one I would recommend if you're interested in the subject material. I've also read an advanced copy of Fruit of the Dead by Rachel Lyon, which I did not like nearly as much as her debut novel, Self-Portrait With Boy, but is one I would suggest if you're looking for a Persephone and Demeter retelling that will challenge you. Besides the books already mentioned, I started a Well-Regarded Classic Written By A Dead White Dude, that I found to be not worth the psychic damage of finishing because clearly, the man liked the smell of his own farts. If you're curious about which book I'm referring to, it was made into a film starring James Dean. You can quickly figure it out from there. You're welcome for the major hint. 

Finally, I'd like to give a huge shout-out to Sarah Mathews, whose project "Year of Hanx" (in which she watched and reviewed every single Tom Hanks film she could get her hands on) inspired me to do something similar. Those blog posts are some of my all-time favorites, and I highly recommend you check them out. Welp. That's it. That's all I have to say. Until next time, when I come back with more books that will prompt my friends and loved ones to ask, "You good bro?!!!!" Catch you on the flipside, fellow nerds. 

-Adam Lopez is a Readers' Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.