The Wonder Library

Jeanne M. Lambin
5 min readJul 12, 2023


Today we tackle the subject of books, reading, and time.

Do you have more books than time to read them? Do you often wonder what actually is in all those books?

You are not alone.

Here at the HIP Headquarters we have a lot of books. We love books. They are practical. They are aspirational. Practical because of the worlds contained therein, aspirational because of all the worlds contained therein. We get books because of who we are but also because of who we want to be.

Unfortunately one’s interest in books is not proportional to the time allotted to read them. If it were, my name would be Timey McTimeforreadingface.

Alas, that is not the case. While the number of books published each year increases, our allotted time does not. We still have only 24 hours a day. Thus, for the perennially curious person, there is the unfortunate equation that there will always be more books than time to read them.

There will always be more books. Indeed, it is hard to pin down an exact number of books published each year, especially since now those numbers include e-books, audiobooks, and self-published book. According to Publisher’s Weekly, Bookscan, which includes Amazon sales, 690 million print books were sold in 2019. Then there all the titles already in print.

According to ChatGPT, the number of books published annually in the United States varies. According to Bowker, which provides ISBN registrations, around 300,000 to 400,000 new titles are published each year in the United States.

So, all this is to say. It’s not just you.

Which is why we created our newest Time Re-Imaginement Tool, The Wonder Library.

The assortment of books perused. Image: Jeanne Lambin

The Wonder Library

The Wonder Library appeared in the world last week, when, feeling particularly flummoxed by the inverse relationship with the amount to read and the time to do it, we decided to do something about it.

The idea is simple, grab a stack of books and a timer. Set the timer, open a book, to a random page, read a short passage and move on.

We will give a more detailed breakdown of how to play The Wonder Libray in the next section but before we do, here is what we discovered when we played.

So onward!

First we will share what we discovered in our Wonder Library, then we will show you how to play at home, or work, or whenever you find your self with some books and a little bit of time.

The Time Timer (our favorite).

The Wonder List for July

We opted for eleven books in eleven minutes. We opened the book to a random page and either wrote down or paraphrased what we read.

1. “Choose the simplest problems where we will have the highest probability of succeeding.”

The Art of Problem Solving by Robert R. Carkuff, p. 30.

2. Build in recovery periods.

7 Minutes to Fit by Brett Klika

3. “Letterboxing is an outdoor hobby that dates back to the late 1800s. It is an activity that can be done in groups and is an opportunity for creative expression and social change.”

eco monopolies in the Commons Letterbox challenge, booklet accompanying exhibition by Joan Giroux

4. “Crutch. Find one thing that always helps you and ensure its available.”

Shit’s Fucked: A Positivity Guide. Zine by Gina Sarti

5. Pursue inner peace.

Keeping Up Your Spirits Therapy by Linda Allison Lewis with drawings by R. W. Alley

6. Create a map to accompany your sacred story.

The City is a Labyrinth by Sara Kate Istra Winter

7. “How are you feeling today? Check your breathing. By observing your breath you can make such a difference in how you feel.”

The Little Book of Mindfulness by Dr. Patrizia Collard, p. 46.

8. Count to 21.

Energizing Brain Breaks by David Sladkey

9. Start saving, even small but consistent savings can add up.

How to Open the Door to Your Future by Dan Kennedy, p. 53.

10. You already have everything you need to become great.

Radical Careering by Sally Hogshead

11. Fumage: A method of creating images or effects by passing paper of canvas over a smoking candle or lamp, the image is then fixed or worked on.

The Book of Surrealist Games compiled by Alistar Brotchie, p. 53


“I madly love everything.”

Creating Anarchy by Ron Sakolsky, p. 175.

AI Generated Image of a rabbit in the Wonder Libary created in collaboration with Mid-Journey

How to Play

If you’ve ever wondered what actually in those books you have been accumulating, The Wonder Library is here to help you find out. TWL is a short activity that you can do in just Eleven Minutes, that will help you access all that splendiffery lurking on your library shelves.

And please note that when we use the term library we mean a room full of box, a box full of books, a shelf full of books, a stack of books, a public library, a school library, a little free library, whenever a small group of books are hanging out together, well, we call that congregation library.

⚡️Gather your materials

  • Writing materials
  • Stick notes
  • A stack of books
  • A timer

🪄 Decide on your method

You can either set the timer for eleven minutes or whatever increment works for you, or choose a number of books to look through or to both. We picked 11 books in 11 minutes.

⏲️ Go!

  • Pick up a book
  • Open it to a random page
  • Jot down, paraphrase or flag the sentence or passage closest to here your hand is on the page
  • Move on to the next book.

👀 Reflect

After you have created your very own Wonder Library, reflect on the experience.

  • What did you discover that was surprising or insightful?
  • Is there something that you discovered that relates to your life and work?
  • If so, what can you do to remind yourself of this or keep it in the front of your mind.
  • Want to share your list? You can do so here

Share Your Wonder List

And finally…

What I love about the Wonder Library is that in invitation for serendipity to appear. I know I can so easily fall into the trap of getting stuff done that I can lose track of what is already there, the Wonder Library is a chance to connect to what is already there and to let serendipity to some of the work for us.

More rabbits at the wonder library. AI generated image created in collaboration with Mid-Journey.

The AI generated images were created in collaboration with Mid-journey. The rabbit is an homage to the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, who was always pressed for time.



Jeanne M. Lambin

I help people imagine, create, and live better stories for themselves, their communities, and the world.