I don’t really have book problems. Others think I have book problems, but I do not agree. What I have is a reading problem in that there is nowhere near enough time to read all the books. But I love books! I love being around them. I love seeing them on the shelf. I love going to bookstores. I love going to the library. I even love to smell them. I know I’m not alone. When I’ve had a bad day, heading to a bookstore and bought two, three… seven books to feel better is my thing. It’s like this scene from Almost Famous, just switch out bookstore for record store.
But all this book buying has led to a space problem. There isn't room anywhere for even one more book. Well… not true, they could be piled up on the floor. What is wrong with that? I see nothing wrong with that, but let’s say not everyone agrees. So now new books are hidden under the bed. I also went through a phase of squirreling them away on eReaders. I barely remember I own them because I don’t see them. I need to SEE the beautiful books!
The possibility of my reading the books I already have rather than buying even more new books has been suggested. Am I even aware of how many unread books I own? Do I know that there are some duplicates? Pshaw! Sacrilege. You know nothing!
Unfortunately for me, I believe in holding myself accountable. I only paid off my student loans by maintaining a budget spreadsheet and being brutally honest with myself about what I spent. So… I made a spreadsheet of all my books. Author, Title, Type (fiction, non-fiction, etc.), Format (print, ebook, etc.), guestimate of when it was acquired, Read or To be Read. But to be fully accountable to my book compulsion, I couldn’t track merely the books which already beautify my shelfs. What about the ones I want to read, but do not yet own? So I added in my Amazon wishlist, all fifteen pages of it. What? Fifteen pages is completely normal!
The results were striking. The list was so long I decided to add a second tab to hold just the book already read. Then I would have a true To Be Read (TBR) list and be able to sort on whether I own it or not. That way I could refer to this list when looking for my next read and pull from it. Excellent idea… yes? Until I totaled up the spreadsheet. Want to know how many books were on my TBR? 657. Even I think 657 is batshit crazy! I own 308 print and 146 eBooks I haven’t read. Hmmm… Let’s do some math. I read around 50 books a year (time constraints!). This means if I only read the print books I already own, I, in theory, don’t need to buy another book for six years. If I include ebooks, nine. NINE years! This doesn’t even account for the books I’ve marked as ‘On Scribd’ because A. of course I have Scribd and B. theoretically I don’t HAVE to buy a book if it’s on Scribd. Though sometimes book leave Scribd, but that is a whole aside.
This feels daunting to me. Also, it was 657 when I originally made the spreadsheet some time back. It’s now up to 763, but shhhhh…
I’m either going to have to pick up the pace or stop adding to this list, right? I can’t stop adding to the list, so it’s going to have to be pick up the pace. Why am I writing this? Gotta go!