We all have the problem, don’t we? More books than shelf space. More books than we have time to read.
It may be that due to reading speed (or lack of it, actually), other demands on our time, more books coming into the house than there is time to read them. I have all three problems, and the result is a “To Be Read” stack that’s not a stack. It’s several stacks plus an entire bookcase. More than one bookcase.
Here’s a photo of my nightstand, and the book shelf unit next to it. Each of the books in the picture is waiting to be read, or in a couple of cases, re-read. I want to read them as soon as I can. I read a book or two a week, on a good week it might be three. There are enough books here – and some of these are omnibus volumes with two or several novels or short story collections within them – to keep me reading for two or three years, easy.
Am I making any headway in this accumulation? Nope. Why? Because I continue to buy books.
That’s right, even though I have more books than I can read, I continue to buy more. I can’t seem to help it, I’m a book addict.
The books in the photo, and I know it’s hard to see the titles of most of them, range from mystery, science fiction and fantasy, through non-fiction, YA, graphic novels and poetry. Some of them have bookmarks in them, where I stopped reading and haven’t gotten back to continue. Some are recent arrivals and some have been in the house, and on this shelf, for a long time. Oh, and the top shelf? It’s double shelved, there’s another layer behind the one visible. This isn’t all. As I said, there’s another bookshelf this size, it’s on the other side of the bed, and a third one against another wall. What you see here is just the top of my TBR pile.
I love books. I love the look, feel and smell of them. In the good old days when libraries were places filled with books, (as opposed to computer terminals and meeting rooms and data desks and teen activity areas and all the other peripherals), I loved the smell. I’d go through the door and the scent of bindings and pages, of paper and ink, would draw me in. I didn’t have much money for books when I was a kid, or as a young adult, the library was both a resource and a haven of discovery.
Bookstores, the brick-and-mortar kind, had that same wonderful smell, until espresso bars and other additions changed their olfactory landscape. I’d still rather smell the inside of a book store than a Walmart. The best is the used book store, a dying breed from what I can tell in my area, but they smell right.
But back to books themselves. (Oh, and shouldn’t I be reading instead of writing this anyway? Yep.) The best part about a book is what’s between the covers, of course. The cover matters to me, probably more than it should, because I like art and fancy I have some small level of “artistic eye”. I love the old pulp covers, love the great science fiction illustrators and artists. I have purchased a book for it’s cover. There, I said it. It will probably happen again. Sometimes the book itself justifies the purchase, other times I wish I’d kept my money in my pocket.
As it happens, every book in the picture was purchased as a result of: 1) a review I read, 2) a new book or collection by an author known to me that I just had to have, 3) a recommendation by someone whose opinion I value, which I guess is also a kind of review, 4) a discovery on a publisher website, where I’d gone looking for something else. There aren’t so many of the last group, but it happens, especially with smaller, specialty publishers.
Some people smoke. Some drink, or take drugs or spend the day on Facebook, or stay plugged in listening to music and reading tweets all day. I read. I buy books, lots of books. More books than I can read. The shame.