Booking Through Thursday: Unread

July 9, 2009 at 10:52 am | Posted in Book Blather | 5 Comments

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

Give me the list or take a picture of all the books you have stacked on your bedside table, hidden under the bed or standing in your shelf – the books you have not read, but keep meaning to.  The books that begin to weigh on your mind.  The books that make you cover your ears in conversation and say, ‘No!  Don’t give me another book to read!  I can’t finish the ones I have!’

This hit my button, all right.  I’ve read over 650 books since January 2008, yet I still somehow have unread books in my stack at home.  Why do we all do this?

I’m better than I used to be about actual stacks.  In high school, I used to keep all my library books in a stack by my bed, and it began to grow until it was about two feet high.  One night, I had a nightmare.  I woke up dripping wet with my entire family shouting at me.  It turned out I had lashed out with my arm, spilling my water glass on myself and knocking all the books onto the floor.  Bedlam.  Ever since then I’ve made sure not to keep more than one book by my bed, and it’s the one I’m actively reading.  Right now there’s nothing there but my favorite lamp.

I can also claim to have eliminated the habit of stacking books on the floor.  I invested in the biggest bookcase I could find at Ikea, and (other than cookbooks, which have their own smaller case) the rule is that all the books have to fit.  I can’t borrow or buy any books until some of the existing ones have moved on.  This works for me because I’m not a re-reader and I know I can rely on the hundreds of thousands of books in my local library system.

That being said, there is an entire section of bookshelf in my house devoted to books other people have lent me that I have yet to read.  There are, I think, three more sections of books I’ve been given to read and pass on.  Some of them are even actively on my TBR list, i.e. I would have sought them out to read eventually.  So why are they still stuck there?  If these books were stacked next to my bed… well, we’re in earthquake country, so let’s not go there.  On the floor?  I’d never vacuum again!  Truly, if we were to pull out all the library books, loaners, and pass-along books out of my shelf, there would be precious little left.  About 85% of that bookcase is technically a TBR pile!

It’s possible I’d be more likely to read these books if I checked them out in hardcover from the library and then returned the unread paperbacks to their owners.  The lack of a “due date” and my dislike of paperback books contribute to my procrastination.  That, and an actual due date for exciting new books that seem to stream through my front door.

Oh, and the actual list?  I believe the loaners are:

The Given Day – Dennis Lehane

Alive in Necropolis – Doug Dorst

Tethered – Amy MacKinnon

Three Day Road – Joseph Boyden

If anyone has any comments that would induce me to either read one of these, or give up on it and give it back while making some lame excuse, have at it!

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