I just deleted all the books from my GoodReads bookshelf. All of them, every last one, had to go. Maybe it's the Southern Baptist upbringing, but sometimes I need to purge away the past, go down under the water of the present, and come up glistening wet and newly born, ready and wide-eyed for whatever the future might bring.
I now have three books on my virtual shelves. First, my two field guides to the birds. They are necessary and I do read them or look at them almost every day. Second, The Basic Teachings of the Buddha, which I only purchased last night and stayed up reading past midnight, laying on my back on the front porch couch.
I did the same a few months ago with my CD collection. I emotionally and physically removed the past from its cluttered shelves (unfortunately making for a very cluttered floor - ha!) and started over, focusing entirely on the things I was buying in the present. My new CD shelf is filling up quite rapidly, and I have discovered a ton of music, both new and old, that I never would found/given a chance otherwise.
By the way, the CD of the week is Family Tree by Nick Drake, a collection of very early home recordings and a lovely sad essay written by his sister that explains Drake's childhood and early adulthood and makes them seem quite normal and happy, not at all what you'd expect if you listen to all the "tragic" palaver and hype that has built up over the years. This is a very humanizing CD, which is very welcome considering the near-constant mythologizing of Nick and his suicide. There is nothing worse than people who write about music for magazines for money. They will drink the blood of children when they believe it will help them gain admittance to their fantastic (and highly imagined and unrealistic) world of the artist and the artist's "scene."
The book of the week is the abovementioned The Basic Teachings of the Buddha, which is thematically linked to the Nick Drake CD in that it seeks to humanize the Buddha and his teachings. The only thing worse than music writers are priests, and Buddhism has had centuries to be fucked with by these self-proclaimed "holy men." This simple book selects just 16 suttas (out of thousands) which the editor and translator, Glenn Wallis, feels best illustrate the main teachings and concerns of the Buddha himself, as a human being, on this world, who was no different than you or I.
A pretty good start to autumn and to new shelves, if you ask me.