It’s no secret that I love reading. I also love to read and chat with others about reading. So it comes to pass on occasion that my enthusiasm and passion for reading (coupled with all the great recommendations from all the lovely book bloggers I follow) outstrips the rate at which I can actually finish a book. The frequency with which books get added to the To be Read pile gets faster and faster. Library deadlines approach with seemingly ever quicker velocity. It’s all a bit like a bookish version of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I get in my own way and end up reading nothing because it all seems too much.
That is when I know I need to take a breath, step back, and start again. After all, the brilliant thing about library books (or one of many brilliant things) is that they can be re-ordered at some point.
Nevertheless, it always feels like a tiny form of defeat to return an un-read library book. Sure, if it is a book I have tried to read and just not got on with, that’s fine. I probably bring home more of these books than ones I actually finish. No, it’s those volumes where I run out of time which tug at the heart-strings. I know in my bones that they need to go back so that someone else who does have time can enjoy them. More importantly, much as I may wish to read them, while they remain unread on my shelf, they act as ballast upon my bookish wellbeing, somehow exerting vicarious pressure: ‘if you can’t read me, I’m not going to let you feel able to read anything else…..’. It’s very strange and not a little annoying.
Anyway, there’s an easy fix, even if I have to build myself up to it. The ‘sticking plaster’ approach eventually becomes necessary, where I take back in one sweep all the library books I have outstanding and am unlikely to have time for. Initially painful, this is ultimately a welcome source of relief and liberation!
I recently found myself in the position of needing to rip off that plaster. This was my looming library pile – all books which I seriously want to read at some point. But it was all too clear that this was not going to happen just now.
Step one: identify priorities. I love the idea of participating virtually in Ann’s Reading Summer School, so the Brodrick and the Airth were definite keepers. And I had already started The Narrow Lane, so wanted to keep that one too.
Back to the library went all the others – for now. Aaaannnddd relax. Phew.
But lest any of you bibliophiles be feeling slightly queasy at the thought of such a small To Be Read pile, here’s a shot of at least one of my owned book towers…
….here’s a screenshot of my current e-library loans….
…and I note from my Amazon account that I have 690 books on my Kindle if things get really desperate.
And that doesn’t even take into account any book festival book-buying I might, ahem, have already done, and may well do more of….
It’s wonderful to feel a sense of tranquillity and wellbeing settling back over my reading world. I’m happily working my way through the first Father Anselm novel, The Sixth Lamentation to lead in to the official summer school reading list. I have also nearly finished The Narrow Lane (which is excellent, by the way – I’ll write more about this in a future post). So on with the reading! And may it be a long time before the next book-plaster needs to be ripped. 😀📚
*Featured image ©Disney Corporation