the Little Red Reviewer

I got no discipline.

Posted on: November 1, 2012

After the second call in a week from our local bookstore letting us know something I’d ordered had come in, my hubby says to me “What would you do if you had to read all the unread books in the house before you could bring any more books home?”  My response was a look of utter terror.  Me, not bring books home? it’s against the laws of physics!

on a scale of one to ten of enjoyment, I give reading a ten.

on a scale of one to ten of enjoyment, I give finding new interesting books a ten.

But I buy/borrow/library them far faster than I can possibly read them.

Our home really does look like a library threw up. books are stacked upon and stacked upon each other, the bookshelves are sagging. I have no discipline, whatsoever.  It isn’t a spending problem, as most of the books are purchased used or on loan from friends or the library. It’s a space thing. and a discipline thing. I don’t have the kind of free time that I did once upon a time, but I’m still interacting with books like I have all the free time in the world.

So dear bookish friends, how do you manage to get through the stack of books you want to read without getting distracted by a hundred other books that you want to read?  Or should I just revel in the beauty of being surrounded by hundreds of my favorite fetish object, the book?

Mine has a cat that greets me at the door.

and before you suggest it, “just don’t go to the bookstore/library!” isn’t going to work for me. the bookstore lures me in with their friendly cat, and everyone there knows me.  it’s my Cheers.  and don’t go to the library? yeah, like that’s going to happen. the library is my place of zen, my monastery, where I go when I need to relax and mentally detox.

I wonder if they do interlibrary loan?

thoughts? suggestions? maybe I should put my library card in a sooper seekrit hiding place, so seekrit that I forget where it is?  Move further into the country, so the bookstore isn’t so convenient?

I’m feeling some anxiety about this whole thing.  Nothing a quick trip to the library won’t cure! ;)

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25 Responses to "I got no discipline."

I know exactly how you feel. I have that same addiction…er, problem…er, wonderful character trait that makes me a friend to booksellers everywhere. Yes, that’s it!!!

A few years back I did commit to spending less and I’ve done a good job with that, mostly by staying away from weekly visits to my local bookstores. I also determined to only buy stuff I was going to read right then. It works occasionally but not always. Still, any little bit of progress means smaller piles and less money spent.

I think it also helps that two years ago I started recording in my Books Read tabs whether I bought the book, already owned it, or borrowed it from the library. Being cognizant of that has helped me make more of an effort to pull from my own shelves to read rather than always buying something new (to me) to read.

ahh, so that’s what it is, a character trait! I like that!

i used to visit the library a lot more often, and it made buying things at the bookstore less tempting. and yeah, for library books, they are definitely a “read right now!” book. I need to go back to more library visits.

I’m completely the same, except I’d add:

Amount of enjoyment from looking at exciting unread books: 10.

I have this shelf right next to my desk of unread books that are just all my purchased books, no review books, and I like to think of it as my “vacation” shelf, since it’s the just for fun times shelf :D.

I’d say that there are few enough completely healthy things that are also so wonderfully enjoyable that reveling in it is totally fine. Maybe try to make sure your house is still fire safe, but having lots of unread books around if they make you happy is totally awesome. Maybe making sure you still get to the books you really really really extra want to read is a good thing, but again, don’t stress, this is a hobby after all ;-).

Yes! I do get a ton of happiness out of just knowing i have all these wonderful unread books, with surprises and adventures right under the covers.

i’m not sure if the place is fire-safe, but it is insured, so there’s that. ;)

If I ever figure out how to stop buying books, and just be content with the ones I own, I’ll let you know. But I’m in the same boat as you are.

I told my lady the other day I was putting a spending freeze on my book buying until next year…then went to the bookstore and bought stuff like five days later. So yeah, I have no willpower.

ha! I know better than to ever say “I’m not going to get anymore books this week/month/year”. that resolution only lasts a few days.

the secret to actually being able to stop getting books is probably to fall into a coma. and that would be so boring.

My better half has proposed this same question. how can someone suggest not getting more books? Yes I have tons that sit on my shelves that I haven’t read yet. But they are always there, like best friends. Just waiting for me. Life without books—shiver! I’m trying to buy less to save money, but I still visit the library about once a week. I have no advice for you. I don’t suggest trying to hide them–at least that didn’t work for me.

I’ve already tried hiding them. in the entertainment center, in my dresser, under the bed. . .

my books are like friends to me too! :D

You read the October 24 posting I did on “The Plurality Problem”. I had a list of 9 books which all had bookmarks in them thus were partly read. I tried to stop everything else until I got those read, but one more library book I’d had on hold came in and two other things slipped in from the book store. But they are set aside while I continue to work on those 9. Two of them are read,, I’m 2/3 through the new library book since it has that deadline as I don’t renew. Then back to the next one. I’m practically reading non-stop. Last night while my wife minded that door for the trick-or-treaters, I ploughed through another 65 pages, a little better than my normal count for a day (yes, I’m a slow reader). When finished, it will be the 100th book this year, a good year for me, my average is about 80-85.

Fortunately for me, the last two or three things that looked really interesting to me were **already on my shelves!** – or in a stack, or…Yay.

I had to learn the hard way that I can only have 2 books going at once. Otherwise i start getting different characters and events mixed up, and suddently there’s a steampunk airship in an Agatha Christie book and she’s chasing and interstellar thief, and that’s just wrong.

and all that time, the David Brin is sitting there, whispering “read me”, read me!”.

I have the same problem. I have a huge stack of library books and I have trouble not bringing more home. Staying out of the library isn’t an option.

I’ve learned a library trick – visit a library that I don’t have a library card at. All the excitement and enjoyment of browsing and finding treasures, but none of them can come home with you.

And this is why my hubby keeps (desperately) trying to convert me to kindle. But, as I explained to him, in my most gentle tone, I would still have stacks of books everywhere – after all, I have books off friends, books as presents, books from the charity shops that were a ‘find’, books from the library (which, whilst they do get returned I always replace with a new batch) and books bought on the spur of the moment because they were simply to good an offer to miss.
Anyway, discipline is a much overrated virtue. Keep up the good work.
Lynn :D

i gotta get a bigger apartment, just for all the books! Actually, If I could just cram one more tall bookshelf in here, I might OK. And yeah, that exactly, even if I had a kindle, I’d still have plenty of books on loan from friends, plenty of impulse purchases, library stuff. . .

I think any answers are going to boil down to “Get disciplined!” Here is my variation it that:

Any time you buy a book, sell one. Or donate it to a library, or find a used book store and turn it in for store credit.

First – I understand. You don’t want to give those books up! I used to be the same! But how many will you ever re-read in your life? If you’re falling behind with new books, the chances that you’ll ever get back to an old favorite is probably very small.

Second – Keep only books you love so much you feel they’ve become a part of you, and start sending the others out the door. I promise you it isn’t as bad as it sounds. I have never once given away a physical possession and regretted it (and I, like you, and still buried under a veritable paperback avalanche).

Third – think of it this way; you are passing on books, to be loved by a new reader. Maybe a book you only like will be a book that someone else loves, or it changes their whole worldview.

In the end, you’ll still have a library, but you can keep it to one room and help others fall in love with books you liked. Everyone wins!

I do have a short stack of books that are destined for the used bookstore, and anything they pass on will get donated to the library.

keep my library to one room?? are you mad?

but I do like your philosophy that everytime I get rid of a book it means someone else will have the opportunity to enjoy it, and at a second-hand price.

Acquiring books is just as much fun as reading them. I’m always bringing them in faster than I can possibly read them. I have a little book I keep with lists of books and series I want to read some day, so that helps keep me from being completely buried. I find I’d rather be surrounded with books I have yet to read than books I’ve already finished. It’s like being surrounded with possibilities. :)

” I find I’d rather be surrounded with books I have yet to read than books I’ve already finished. It’s like being surrounded with possibilities.”

yes! that exactly!!!

I don’t understand the problem. Is there something wrong with decorating one’s house with books?
I dunno, I love exploring new-to-me books, tho. I check them over, sniff them, see if they have a cool map, and if I think I might like it, I keep it. But if I think it unlikely that I’ll pick it up again, I take it to the thrift store.

oh if that book has a map I am so buying it!

i see bookshelves in my future. lots and lots of bookshelves.

Erm, not buy more books? That would be impossible. Though I do have to confess that what with the review copies I receive, my spending has gone way down, even if there are still numerous books coming into the house. Also, I give myself limited book-spending sprees, for my birthday and for Sinterklaas/Christmas. I cheat though by buying hubby books we both want to read ;-)

I do think though, I have the advantage that living in a non-English speaking country, SFF in English (and in general) is isn’t widely available from the library and second-hand bookstores. If it were, I’d be in trouble!!

it’s true, I could never afford to buy every book I read. Between the ARCs and friends lending me anything and everything, If I opted to purchase new every book I wanted to read, my library would be much, much smaller. I don’t feel so bad buying books if I buy them second hand.

There are a lot of nice new and used bookstores in my city, so i’m spoiled, and it’s very dangerous, I’m in trouble all the time!

Prioritize the books you want to read, that’s for one : )
Maybe it’s like stopping an addiction, the moment you manage to go to the bookstore and not buy a book, you’ll feel real proud of yourself!

I do attempt to prioritize, I’ll have the TBR stack on the bookshelf. and then someone will lend me something that I’ve been dying to read. And then the book that I’ve been waiting months for finally comes in at the library. . . it’s my re-prioritizing that needs work! ;)

My man and I also suffer from this same addiction. Twice a year, we go through all the books and pass on to friends/family or donate to the library what we haven’t enjoyed or what we just aren’t going to get around to. This allows us to fill up the shelves again.

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