I’ve been on a budget lately, or at least trying to be. That’s what happens when you quit your job and have no money coming in; you start only buying essentials. Books are essentials, of course. But I have a book problem: I can’t walk into a bookstore without buying at least $100 worth of books. I’ve tried to make lists and only buy one book at a time. I’ve made a decision not to buy hard covers anymore. I have a Kindle, but I have this thing about owning books. I want to touch them, stack them up, possess them. I want all of the books on my list Right Now. I don’t want to wait till I need a new book.
I’m a bit of a book flirt. I go on lots of first dates with books. I read many books at once, refusing to commit until I’m sure I want to go down that road. I don’t promise them anything, just that I will give them a chance. I don’t discriminate. I read all kinds of books: lit fiction to chick lit, mysteries to fantasy, short stories to poetry. If I like the way your cover looks, I’ll buy you. If a friend confides that you’re really really good, I’ll give it a go. If Oprah likes you, I’ll at least put you on my list. If I read your author’s blog, or a good review, or someone leaves you behind in a vacation cabin, I’ll probably pick you up.
Eleanor Brown wrote about this on her blog, about whether you are a book quitter or finisher. I’m a quitter; my husband is a finisher. My general theory is that you can’t force yourself to love a book. If I’m not loving it, I put it down. Usually I’ll come back to it and see if the spark is there yet. One of my all-time favorites is The Sun Also Rises. I tried to read it at least 5 times over 10 years and was bored. Then, the 6th time, picked it up and magic! Couldn’t put it down. If I had forced myself to read it, I would have missed out on one of my favorites. Hence, I’ve always got a few books going at once, waiting to see which one is going to be tucking in with me at night.
Last night I decided to make a list of all of the books that I own, but haven’t read yet. I’ve decided to make it a goal to read each and every one of these books. I got as far as my BEDSIDE TABLE. On/in my bedside table, I keep the books I am wanting to read soon. On the bookshelves is where I keep the other books, the ones I want to re-read or get to someday or the books that never quite kept my attention. The list of books below is only those on my bedside table. (Note that I did no editing for embarrassment.)
51 books! On just my bedside table. Which isn’t really that large to begin with (see picture above). This is just downright embarrassing. Looking at all of these books I’ve picked up, flirted with, and left sitting there, waiting their turn, I feel a bit wanton and blowsy. Faced with this evidence, I must face the fact that perhaps I’m not a harmless book flirt, but a full-blown book slut.
So. I’m going to add a reading tab on my blog (once I figure out how to do so). I WILL read these books. I will try my very hardest not to buy anymore books until I finish all of these books. Well, maybe at least a good portion, say 20%. I can’t promise anything, I mean, I still need to read Bossypants, and I heard about this fabulous new book on NPR yesterday that I’m dying to read, and I can’t leave out Dani Shapiro’s Devotion, which was just recommended to me. See my problem? Ok, how about this: I’ll also start a list of all of the books I am coveting, and will try to refrain from purchasing anymore until I’ve crossed one off the list. You know, a one-in, one-out policy. If you’ve read anything on either list, let me know if you liked it.
Fess up people. Are you a book flirt or a book slut? What’s on your bedside table RIGHT NOW?
P.S. Forgot about my Kindle. Darn it. Ok, here’s what’s on my Kindle: