Book Problem


There are a ton of ways to hear about a new book.  On TV, in the newspapers, in magazines, on blogs, browsing the internet, browsing in stores, and even better, by word of mouth.  There is nothing I love better than to have someone tell me about a good book they’ve enjoyed.  If they are enthusiastic enough, what will I do?  Probably buy it, even thought I know all too well what I already have in my To Be Read pile.

Friday, yet another one arrived via the UPS truck, and I sort of cringed.  Something has gone awry with my ability to manage, organize, and move through reading materials.  Back in the day, (when I was working the nine to five job) I subscribed to one magazine, and I typically had no more than about two or three books to read at any given time.  I didn’t buy more until I had read them, and I kept up with my one magazine (RUNNER’S WORLD) each month.  My night stand held the current magazine issue, maybe a couple back issues, and the current book I was reading.  That was it.

When the book arrived on Friday, I opened the package, took it out and went upstairs.  I stared at the other books yet to be read, dismayed by the sheer numbers.  I looked at several months worth of back issues on the magazines (plural!!) I’ve subscribed to as well.  Maybe I have a problem?  Buying books when I still have so many, plus, subscribing to four different magazines (all related to writing).  I mean, I can barely stay ahead of the pile of books, much less read the magazines.

Maybe you’re wondering just how many, like maybe I’m exaggerating a bit here.  Well, I went ahead and counted them.   Might as well face reality, and it’s fifty.  FIFTY brand new books, I haven’t bothered to crack open.  What is going on??  I mean, I’m reading, constantly…, but it also appears I succumb to buying more if I hear of one receiving rave reviews in the genre of my current WIP.  I fold like a lawn chair and off to Amazon I go.  Here’s what’s even worse.  When I took the latest one upstairs, I started trying to organize all of them somewhat, and found I hadn’t even taken one out of the Amazon package yet.  It was like opening a Christmas present…, I had no idea what book was inside.  (Hilary Mantel‘s WOLF HALL – I don’t even know why I bought it, except I bought BRING UP THE BODIES, and I must have heard something about this one… *sighs heavily.*  See what I mean??)

I feel like the woman who buys too many shoes…, or dresses, or bathing suits, or whatever.  I have to stop.  I have to get this crazy book buying thing under control.  And I need to let a couple of the magazine subscriptions expire.  It’s worrisome at the very least, and downright irresponsible at most.  It wears on me because I know they are sitting there, these brand new books, that need to be read.  They aren’t supposed to be dust collectors.  At the same time, I don’t want reading to be a chore, as in,  I MUST READ THESE, like when you need to scrub the bathroom.

I’ve decided I’ve got to exercise a little self control here, and read what I have before I buy more.  I think this will be harder to do than I realize.   I’m bothered by the fact I don’t know why I bought most of them at this point.

There had to be good reason…, or maybe it was just word of mouth…, or something.

Can you relate?

 

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10 Comments

My Kindle has kind of put me in the same situation. I have books on there that I’ve forgotten about! Not quite 50, but it’s at least in one place. If they were paper books, I’d be staring at the stack right now, feeling overwhelmed, probably!

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    I had to move “the pile” out of sight. I figure why not treat it like going to the library? Finish one and then go to the “book room,” and select the next one. Less pressure…, right? I just realized though…and you reminded me. (slaps forehead) My e-Reader has books on it I haven’t read. Uh, I think I need to up my count by quite a few…Blech.

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Absolutely, positively YES on that.

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NOW I understand, I mean I REALLY understand why agents ask for so few pages during the early process of submitting. All of my new books…if they don’t grab me in the first few pages I’m afraid they get added to the unread stack.

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    I know! That is so easy to do…shove it aside…put it to the back…and then, THEN, I think about my work, and someone doing that…and what do I do? Back to page one…now, how can I re-write this for the fiftieth time? 🙂

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I am almost NEVER pleased by books I’ve had recommended to me. I suppose my tastes are eccentric enuf to mean I’ll never fit in with anyone else’s ideas of good books. Nonetheless, I have a shelf of books to be read and three somewhere in progress on my night stand. Many I’ve had an interest in forever. Others I acquire because the book discussion group I’m in will be reading them (or not as it often happens after I purchase them).

As problems go, though, it’s not a really bad one.

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    Remind me not to recommend a book…LOL! Seriously though, I know what you mean…I’ve got a few in mind as I type this that I just know I won’t give a hoot for…, and those are the ones that were put to the back of the pile. A few are written by authors I think I “ought” to read. Except, it’s a different time now, and older books no longer fit today’s idea of a good book. That’s what’s so weird – no longer is it okay to write in the way you were allowed to do, in say, Truman Capote’s day. One I am intrigued by though, is “THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER,” by Carson McCullers, When I read about this book, the premise, I was surprised to learn after I bought it that she was born in 1917, died in 1967…

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Oh welcome to my world. I have hundreds of books in my house and well over half of them I’ve never read…if I had to take a stab I’d say at least 150 unread. This is why I haven’t done so much writing. With so little free time between work and my family, I can’t go without reading…the pull is stronger for me than anything else. It was definitely getting out of control for me too and the last book I read I went to the library…haven’t done that in years!

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