As in, I have none. I periodically make a resolution to buy no more books for two or three months, usually in an effort to get the credit card debt back to $0. And the very next thing that happens after I make that very firm resolution is a book emergency. I see a book that I have to have. Right this minute. Cannot wait. Carrie Gelson is responsible for a lot of my book emergencies. In fact, the whole kidlit It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? community is very enabling.
The problem with having no self-restraint is that you end up with many more books than you could ever read. The TBR stack is constantly growing. New books languish, become old books, get pushed to the back of the shelf, to the bottom of the shelf, still unread.
I’m embarrassed to post this photo on the Internet. I really am.
How fondly I remember the days when I had a photographic memory! Back in the day, I knew where every single book I owned was shelved. Now, I have to rely on Amazon’s pop-up “you purchased this item on Feb 2, 2015” to know if I even own the book in the first place. And when I do verify that I have in fact purchased the book I’m looking for, I can’t remember which state my books are in. Literally, which state: I live in South Dakota, work in Nebraska. If I’m looking for a specific young adult, children’s, or professional development title, I could spend hours combing my shelves at home–only to discover it in my office.
Or I might not discover that book I’m looking for at all because I have a bad habit of loaning books and never asking for them back. So I might comb the shelves at home and at my office for hours–and never find the book I’m looking for. Because someone borrowed it last semester and never returned it.
I might be able to get my books back if I had a check-out system. But my lending library works on the honor system. “Get them back to me whenever,” I’ll say. You’d think by now I would have realized that it’s all too easy for whenever to mean never. Just this month, I’ve noticed that Flora & Ulysses, The Most Magnificent Thing, El Deafo, and The Fourteenth Goldfish are all MIA.
Kindle? What’s That?
As if the print TBR piles weren’t enough, there’s also a digital TBR list. I am constantly lured by amazing Kindle deals. Click, click, and a new book has been delivered to Trixie, my Kindle. Where it is promptly forgotten because I rarely read on my Kindle.
Overdue Library Books
Thank goodness for those periodic fine forgiveness weeks. Though I don’t really mind paying overdue library fines because I figure the money just goes to buying more library books, right?
I love to start new books and I sometimes lack the stamina to keep reading through the middles. That means at any given time, I have at least 12 books going. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be able to read ONE book at a time and actually FINISH it before starting something new.
I check out books from three different libraries each week. Hard as I try to keep the stacks separate and not return books to the wrong library, sometimes I get mixed up and dump the Hot Springs books in the Rapid City drop-off. Which leads to a very patient phone call from my librarian. “The Rapid City library called and said they have some of our books. We figured they were checked out by you. Next time you’re in Rapid, could you pick them up?” SIGH. Guilty!