I have 78 books checked out right now from one of the three libraries I use. I only have 12 checked out from another one, but those twelve are all seven-day loans with no renewals. From my campus library, I have 17 books checked out, and those have a wonderfully long loan time (six months!!) (AND since I’m faculty, the librarians waive the overdue fines that accrue when I inevitably still can’t manage to get the books back on time). Then there are the five interlibrary loan titles I have at home right now.
I have at least a dozen books borrowed from students right now in various stages of completion. My mother recently bought me all of the finalists for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Even though I tell myself that I have a credit card freeze happening and don’t buy new books for myself, my credit card statement shows that’s untrue. In the past two weeks, I’ve bought Christopher Healy’s A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem #1, Sy Montgomery’s How to Be a Good Creature, Margaret Simon’s Bayou Song, and Jeanne Marie Laskas’s To Obama.
I have been a compulsive book buyer and book borrower (not a compulsive book returner, alas, so consider yourself warned if you ever find yourself wanting to loan me a book) for 35 years, and even with various book purges over the years, I still have thousands of books. There are bookshelves in every room in my house, including the hallways. And still there aren’t enough shelves to hold them all. Mine is one of those houses where you literally trip over books.
All of this to say: I don’t need more books to read. I don’t need to know about more books, to think about more books, or to want more books. In fact, I don’t need to be exposed to new books in any way.
And yet…. I can’t seem to help it. My RSS Feed is full of book blogs and book websites. My podcast app is full of bookish podcasts. Every class I teach includes 5 or 10 minutes for students to share what they’ve been reading. And my list just grows….
I listened to Oprah’s Supersoul Conversation with Pico Iyer this morning, and now I want Iyer’s book, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere. Actually, he sounds so interesting that I want to read ALL of his books.
I also listened to a new episode of my favorite podcast, What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel, and now I need Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and John Barry’s The Great Influenza. I have to get Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered (how did I not know she has a new novel out??). Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map sounds intriguing too.
I’m still trying to collect all of the books mentioned on Liberty’s and Rebecca’s September favorites episode of All the Books. Of the 16 books mentioned on the episode, I’ve read two (Educated and Front Desk, both of which could be end-of-year favorites for me too) and want to read twelve more.
My library only allows 30 holds at one time, and I’m always maxed out. I have wish lists and ILL lists on Amazon and long lists of book titles I want to look up written in the backs of all my notebooks. When I dig around in my purse for a pen, there’s an explosion of little scraps of paper–all covered with book titles.
Next month, I travel to NCTE, which is, among many other wonderful things, a book lover’s paradise. I always tell myself I am ONLY getting free books–no purchases! And only books I really want. But we all know how that’s going to go.
Once I’m back from NCTE, all of the annual “best of” book lists will come out, and I’ll have another hundred or more titles to add to my TBR list.
Even though I do read a lot, it’s still not nearly enough to keep up with all of the books I want to read. Not even close. And yet, I keep searching for more books.
Today is my one real day of Fall Break. My grading is done. My husband and son are out for the day. I’ve got leftovers for dinner so I don’t even have to cook. Unusually, there are no have-to’s in my day. I’m heading to the library just as soon as I finish this post to collect another stack of books. And then I’m settling in to make a dent in that TBR list.