Monday, August 27, 2012

Bookshelf Gone Wild

Read me, Seymour!
This weekend I decided to assess my book situation. Book situation? Yes, book situation.

About four months ago, I imposed a moratorium on buying new books. I already had a tall stack waiting for me, but browsing book shops is one of my favorite simple pleasures on a Friday after work. Given how much I read, I was bound to catch up if I purchased just one more... Yeah, not so much.

But when I stopped buying books, I found myself in the library more. At first it was to borrow a new release, or something I really craved reading. Which then led to me requesting five lovely hardcovers at a time like a ravenous book hoarder. And I had to read them when they were delivered to my branch because they had due dates.

Then BEA happened... which... well. A lot more books.

My to-be-read pile has gotten a little out of control. It is, in fact, a giant pile of books. On Goodreads, I have a modest 35 books listed. I own (or requested from the library) all but 19 of them. At home, I have *cough* 58 *cough* real live happy books just waiting for me to pounce on them. They range from middle grade to craft books to non fiction and adult books that I try to sneak in.

Don't get me wrong. I love being surrounded by books. My second bedroom, or 'the library,' is where we keep bookshelves stacked with my books, my partner's books, the books people gift us, and so on. Space isn't an issue (yet) -- it's more handling what's coming into my home versus inside my brain at a reasonable rate. Part of the reason I'm not filling up an e-reader is because I don't want another place to keep unread books.

So how do you manage your TBR pile -- whether the books are smiling at you from your shelves or e-reader, or taunting you at your favorite bookstore? There are several lifetimes of books out there, and you can't read them all at once.

It's almost September, and I've already read 50 books according to Goodreads. Which means I may get through half of my TBR pile by the end of the year if I follow a few rules:
  • Limit my library intake. Which stinks, because I adore going to the library. My heart flutters a little every time I walk by one. But I can still lurk around the stacks without taking out a book or seven.
  • Keep the no-buying rule intact. Unless it's a gift for someone else, that is. I make it a point to support my favorite authors, so this one is a bit painful. But for the rest of 2012, I'll try to stay true.
  • Donate books to the library. Despite how it may look, I really don't like having stuff. I rarely purchase clothing, or anything not edible for that matter, yet I still make Goodwill trips three-four times a year when I go on a purging spree. This one is just for my own sanity. Plus - have you ever seen this?
Rules one and two may be broken when new releases come out - especially sequels I've been anticipating. But I'll try my best. What do you think, pals? Any tips for managing your time versus the books you can't wait to read?


  1. It's a wonderful thing to be surrounded by books but an even more wonderful thing to share them! I curb my book buying by reading books from the library first and only purchasing ones I absolutely ADORE.

  2. I'm going through the same thing, Gina. I am about to take a box of books to Goodwill, because I simply have to clear off the shelves. :)

  3. Ah, stacks of books. That's lovely (if overwhelming). And I understand completely, Gina. My whole house is kinda like that! Or it was, until I cleaned up and bought some more bookshelves. But, like Linda, I'm now starting to realize I need to give some of these books to my local Goodwill or the high school used book drive. I read 67 books so far this year, and most of those were either arcs from the bookstore or actual hardcover books I purchased.

    I can't keep accumulating this many books every year. Barbara has the right idea. I'm going to start going to the library.

  4. I'm a library haunter: I love the freedom of taking out as many books as I want, and then returning them if I haven't read them yet. The awesome thing is, they'll still be there to borrow again later! I only buy books if they're the next book in a series and I can't wait for the library to get them, or if they're from my favourite authors.

    Goodreads has really helped with resisting the impulse to buy: I can keep books on my Goodreads TBR for as long as it takes to get them in to the library; I don't have to worry that I'll forget about them.

    I've become ruthless about not finishing books. If I'm a few chapters in and it isn't completely grabbing me, I take it back to the library. Because there are so many more books out there!

  5. I can relate to some of the stuff you have going on. I love buying books and knowing that when I'm ready to read them, they'd be waiting for me in their shelves. About 15 years ago, I purchased a 20+ reference book set on Ebay. Although I'd only read about 10 pages max in the whole set after all these years, I'd kept the books around even though they were really hogging up my shelf space. Just last month, I decided to donate the whole set of books to the library. I figured if I was really going to actually read these books, I would have done so years ago. Now I have freed up some shelf space and I'm being really strict with myself not to stock up on lots of new books until I make an effort to read the ones I currently have here.

  6. I do the same thing Barbara does in addition to the fact that I put myself on a book buying ban this year.
    Interestingly this is the year I won the most books from fellow writers/book lovers. :)