I have a wall hanging above my bookshelves quilted by my mother. She is a terrific quilter. The wall hanging shows a bookworm juggling books in front of a long bookshelf. And the saying, “so many books so little time!
I work in libraries. I am surrounded by books nearly every second of the day. I usually have several books in progress — reading that is — both in print and e-book formats. I also listen to audiobooks on my morning walks and while driving. I read a lot of books! That’s essential as a writer and as a librarian. I’m not kidding anyone. I would do it anyway.
Here’s my guilty secret: I have far too many neglected, unread books!
That’s probably not unusual for most book lovers. I compulsively buy books. I have the most trouble with e-books. I’m a sucker for a good $1.99 sale. “I wanted to read that!” Followed by the one click purchase and then the glee of looking at my Kindle downloading new titles.
Recently I started adding my print books to my LibraryThing collection. I’m not done yet. There are still many bookcases left to go through. And I haven’t even started on the e-book collection. One of the things that I’ve noticed? Many of those books I was excited to purchase or receive, I haven’t read! Yes, I’ve read far more of the books that I haven’t read, but I have book guilt for the titles that have sat unread on my shelves.
One might say that if I haven’t read the book already then I’m not likely to read it and I might as well give it away — maybe donated to the library. I don’t buy that argument. Books are experiences. And there’s always room for new experiences. A book is like having a vacation all packaged up and sitting neatly on the shelf just waiting for you to take it down. I have a lot of vacations planned!
No, the real answer is that instead of booking new vacations, I need to start taking the ones I already have. So I’m going to save some money and start taking those vacations. I’m going to read those books before I buy more.
I can hear the book lovers laughing right now. A book fast can be a challenge. However I’m not taking a reading fast, I’m just not going to buy any new books unless needed for school. What about checking them out of the library? Although technically that doesn’t involve buying new books I want to put restrictions on that as well. Specifically, I will not check out library books in less they meet one of two criteria:
- Nonfiction audiobooks
- Books required for school
Books are no longer scarce. The new book that comes out will be available in the future. I plan to stay busy with the books I have instead of always adding to the pile.
How long will the book fast continue? Until I get through the books!
I also plan to keep track of the books that I’ve read — those that have been sitting unread on my shelf. I’m currently reading one e-book from the library, so I will finish that one. I also have one book preordered (Crimson Death by Laurel K Hamilton). But no more!
What about you? Do you find yourself inundated with unread books? Let me know in the comments!