Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Year of Reading Books I Already Own

My house looks like this:


















 * not actual picture of house


One of the things about being a compulsive book buyer, and the former owner of a bookstore, is that I have built a rather wicked personal library. Having first dibs on any book that was ever brought into my store was, shall we say, rather nice.

This means my house is full of awesome books to read, across a wide variety of genres. Something for all occasions! And I keep buying more. It's possible I shall soon have to annex a small township to provide the proper space.

It also happens, though, that I probably have less time to read now than at any other time in my life. Or, at least, less time for leisure reading. As an editor, my day job is mostly words, words, words. Which is good. But balancing a more-than-full-time job with three (soon to be four) kids, two cats, and a lovely wife, and then squeezing in time for my own writing (and blog), leaves less time for personal reading (well, comparatively; I still, um, read a lot).

This has been percolating in my head for a while, and it's led me to a new goal for the year: I'm going to focus on reading the books I already own. First, because I own a huge array of amazing books that I want to read. Second, maybe I can save a little money. Third, I'm running out of book space. And fourth, I'll probably still buy books.

Just a lot less of them.

Cold turkey won't work (I'd die). There are still certain writers whose books I will buy immediately (I'm looking at you, C-Mac. And you, A-Patch.). For example, I came across a book at a used book store a couple weeks ago, and it was something that I was planning on ordering. And it was in great condition. And it was five dollars. SOLD.

But I also saw lots of other interesting books there. In times past, they might have joined my personal hoard/horde. But I resisted. The new immigration policy seems to be working (no electric border fence for me, though).

So: prudence! My old friend! Okay, my new casual acquaintance, who I will try to spend some quality time with and get to know better.

New policy: Read My Own Books.

Strange, strange, I know. But it's my plan. Occasional book purchases: okay. I mean, I like to support writers with my money, but it has to work on my end, too. Balance, balance, balance. Also, some Feng Shui, as I'm running out of house space.

And, if successful, maybe my house will look like this:


20 comments:

Rick Daley said...

Did you hear C-MAC turned in an original screenplay recently, title "The Counselor"? It's about a lawyer who gets tangled up in the drug trade in some way. The rumor I heard is that Ridley Scott is slated to direct.

I finally started reading Harry Potter, just finished The Goblet of Fire last night and will be purchasing the next installment today.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since I switched to eBooks only, I've not had to worry about cramming in just one more book. But I still have too many to read.

Ted Cross said...

I own so many books I'll never be able to read them in my lifetime, yet I keep buying more. I'm starting War and Peace next week; wish me luck.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Oh, heaven have mercy on your reader's soul if you ever fall head over heels for an eReader.

D.G. Hudson said...

If that were really your library, I would beg a visit. I always coveted the library in My Fair Lady, especially with the sliding ladder.

Maybe after you read these books, Bryan, you could auction them off on your blog? (the money could be used to buy more. . .) Of course, you have to be willing to let go of the non-keepers.

I'm trying to get through my TBR pile too. BTW - more photos of Paris buildings on both blogs for February, that is, until the Origins blogfest starts.

Kathy Russell said...

AAahahah! I am reassured; it is clearly genetic.

After merging the collections of 2 book hoarders, inheriting from Dad's (well-edited) hoard, benefitting from my lovely brother/enabler's book store hoard, and having several boxes of books that had disappeared at Mom's returned to me en masse... I can safely say I only WISH my home looked like that. Either of them. Every surface has a book on it somewhere.

I have been "reading my own books" for about a year or so now, and I'm not bored yet. If I don't love it (& the Mr. agrees), out it goes.

I have set up a reward system for myself, though; if I meet my health goal/goals for the month, I can have ONE "new" book. Usually from the used shops or discount rack at Chapters, but if there's a new Simon R. Green, it's MINE.

maine character said...

The book you don't have is always more enticing than the one you do, so I've found it helpful to browse my shelves as if I'm in a store and can take only one.

And that lamp wouldn't survive a weekend in a house with four kids.

Taryn Tyler said...

Personally I like both versions of the house :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Even if you are successful, don't lose the library! Maybe someday it'll look like the one in the photo...
Funny though, I made the same resolution a while ago. I gave myself five years - so down the side of my blog is the list of 180 books to read before 2013...

Matthew MacNish said...

Who is A-Patch? I want to know, because if he/she is as good as C-Mac, well ... you know.

Bryan Russell said...

@ Matt

Ann Patchett, who has written not one, not two, but three of my all-time favourite books. And the rest of her stuff is brilliant, too. She's an automatic, immediate buy for me. I've read every book she's written, and I can't even say that about C-Mac.

Bryan Russell said...

@ Rick

I didn't know that! I even like Ridley Scott as a director.

And I'm curious to see what you think about the Potter books.

Bryan Russell said...

@ Alex and Jeffrey

My saving curse is that I'm still in love with paper.

Bryan Russell said...

@ Ted

I do wish you luck! My wife started reading War and Peace, and then she stopped reading War and only read Peace. It was probably a happier book that way.

Bryan Russell said...

@ D.G. and Taryn

I have almost that many books. Though, um, not quite as neat. Visitors welcome! You have to sign a hazard release for falling books, but that's a minor thing.

Bryan Russell said...

And my sister confirms that I can blame genetics! This is good to know. Which is feasible, as our dad did have a pretty giant library.

Bryan Russell said...

@ Maine characters

Yeah, I do that, too. Sometimes I'm even amazed at what I find while browsing.

"Hey, this book looks fantastic! I'm going to buy it... oh, wait..."

Bryan Russell said...

@ Deniz

That sounds like a book! 180 Books to Read Before 2013. You should pitch that to Penguin...

Bryan Russell said...

And, thinking about it, my mother has a pretty damn good collection of books, too.

And that perfect genetic inheritance somehow created my basement. Which may shortly ooze out, like a Blob made of books. Sort of a gooey mulch of paper and ink, sentient and hungry...

Jane Steen said...

Hah! I too resolved not to buy any more books before I've read those I own and have not yet read. I said BUY, mind you: I have already acquired about ten new books since Jan 1 by other means.

One thing that's helping is taking the reading challenge on Goodreads. By setting myself a low goal of 50 books (I only read 40 last year, but it was a very busy year) I find I'm much more motivated to cram reading into the small spaces of the day. And then I have a stretch goal of 75, and an ultimate goal of reading the 100 or so unreads that lurk on my shelves and in my Kindle.

Good luck, and let us know what happens...