Booking Through Thursday: Book Gluttony

May 14, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 7 Comments

Here is my response to this week’s Booking Through Thursday:

Book Gluttony!  Are your eyes bigger than your book belly?  Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them?  Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself?  Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

Hahahaha!  I am having trouble imagining anyone answering no to this question.  The only reader I know who does not hoard books is my man Rocket Scientist.  He will literally buy a new book, take it home, sit down, and start reading it right away.  Then he will finish it before he starts something else.  Amazing.

My biggest problem with book gluttony is the library.  I can walk in and take home as many books as I can carry, free of charge.  This is part of why I’ve tried to limit myself only to new titles I’ve put on hold.  Typically they come in at a manageable rate, especially now that I can only hold 20 at a time.  Ah, but, we can only check out 30.  I found that out the hard way, shortly after I moved here.  Right now I’m at 27 again and not sure entirely how that happened.

The next problem is lent books.  I always say ‘lent’ because people bring me their books when they think I will be interested in them.  I always feel obligated to give them a shot, especially considering I go through 9 or 10 a week.  (I have begged ARCs from Trish before when I just couldn’t wait to get them from the library, though oddly enough, I never seem to get around to them).  These books have a tendency to pile up, because they don’t have a “due date” the way library books do.

I will buy books that I can’t get any other way, but again, once I have them in hand, the pressure to read them disappears.  Heck, I can read that book any time, so even though I was desperate to read it when I found it, why not just let it marinate for a few years?  Part of the problem here is that I loathe paperbacks.  The other is the “due date” thing.

I’ve gotten much better about this over the last couple of years, particularly since I started tracking my reading.  I have actual metrics on how much I can realistically read in a given period, plus a long list of books I want to read before I die.  In theory I can tell you how many books I will be able to read if I live to be 75, my family’s minimum lifespan, and in that case, I should also know what many of those books will be.  So, okay, maybe I’d like to read Principia Mathematica, but realistically, I’m not going to.  It would displace something else.

All my books are currently packed in 10 identical Avon boxes.  I left out a good-sized stack of ‘lent’ books and second-hand books that are intended to circulate through our book group.  Other than those and the library books, I can tell you definitively that I’ve hoarded a three months’ supply.  Why don’t I just take three months off from the library and read them, then?  This is a question RS is bound to ask now that we’re getting married, and I’m really racking my brain to come up with an answer.

Um, because?


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  1. wow…you can borrow that many books?? I can only borrow 3books from my library.

    I do collect more books than I can read but I’ll read them one at a time

  2. only check out 30?!!!

    Wow!! I think my limit is 8! My library isn’t very good. I have to pay to reserve books, so it is normally cheaper just to buy the books I want, then sell them on.

    I’ve never heard of anyone not liking paperbacks before – I love them! Hardbacks are just too heavy.

    I love your blog BTW – I don’t think I’ve been here before – I’ve subscribed to your posts now.

  3. Huh. Maybe that explains why some people are bigger library users than others. If I could only get 3 books at a time I’d be there nearly every day of the week.

    What I don’t like about paperbacks is that they’re hard to hold open without breaking the spine, and the typeface is smaller. Also, sometimes the print seems to run right into the spine. I like nice library-bound hardcovers that will lie flat and can be propped up against things.

  4. I’m not sure what our library’s limit is. I’ve had up to 27 at a time on my card, but I also have my son’s card (he’s 4! He can’t be trusted to take care of it) and have been known to slip a selection or two of my own in with his books. Thank god I can look up our accounts online to see what books belong to which of us, and when they are all due.

    My husband used to be like your man Rocket Scientist- one book, maybe two, and read them before buying anything else. Now I bring him home books from the library at an astonishing rate. He manages to read through most of them and claims to enjoy many of them. His tastes are really easy to predict and it’s fun to choose books for him. (Non-fiction about: Baseball, WWII, Mt. Everest, Kurt Cobain (yeah, I don’t know why) and sociology type popcult like Blink and The Tipping Point.)

  5. I don’t know what my library’s limit is- but I’ve had twenty or so books (not all mine- hubby and child’s in that heap) out at once before. I remember when I lived in San Fran, once asking a librarian at the main library what their limit was. She said fifty. “Fifty books?” I was astonished. “How could anyone carry fifty books out at once?” She said (very calmly) “with a shopping cart.” Made me think someone had done just that. I hope they got them all back on time!

  6. Girl, check this out…my library has a 100 book check out limit AND they deliver.

    Serious. 🙂

  7. They deliver? I’m so jealous!

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