Sunday Salon: Taking Stock
The new year has been ushered in with the usual burst of activity on the personal effectiveness front. Whether you want 2014 to be the year you really do lose weight, or you’re aiming to get fit, learn a new skill, get a new job or just up the happiness quota, you can be sure one of the newspapers or magazines in the UK has run an article on the topic in the last couple of weeks. January apparently seems to the one month in the year when people up and down the country take stock of their lives and resolve to do something different.
I’ve been doing a little of my own stock-taking on the reading front over the last week and I don’t mean just thinking about goals and plans for the year. I mean I’ve done a tally up of all the books that are on my To be Read (TBR) shelves. This has been the first time in my life I’ve ever done this and it’s been a eye-opening and somewhat sobering experience.
I wouldn’t have even embarked on the exercise but for the fact that I couldn’t find any space for the books I received as Christmas presents. Bookcases throughout the house seemed to be full and the ones I use just for my TBR books were jammed tight with novels doubled up on every shelf. There were some in piles on the floor but these were threatening to topple over. As I looked around at the mess, I realised I didn’t actually know what was on those shelves or in each pile so if I wanted a particular title I wouldn’t know if I already had it or where it would be found. So I began taking them out in armfuls and putting all the titles and author names into a document.
And then I counted them.
Now if someone had asked me a month or so ago to estimate how many books I owned but had yet to read, I would have put it around the 50 mark. Maybe 60 at a stretch.
How wrong I was.
I have, it seems a total of 110 unread books. This doesn’t include, by the way, any books on my e-reader nor does it include titles my husband bought for himself but which I also fancy reading at some point. If I were to include those, the list would go up to around 150.
Now I know that some bloggers have far more than that on their TBR list (I think the highest I saw was 250 cited by one person). But I don’t read probably as many titles in a year as many others seem to be able to do; at my pace I have more than two years worth of reading already in my home.
Some of them have been there for at least 3 years. It could in fact be longer than that because I don’t absolutely know when I acquired them. Some were Christmas or birthday presents which I may even have requested but then forgot I had or went off the idea of reading that author. But by far the majority are ones I’ve bought for myself, especially after I began reading other blogs and picking up their recommendations. December was an especially bad month since I bought 10 novels that month. Shopping for gifts for family and friends was clearly too much of a temptation.
I can’t help thinking about all the money wasted if I don’t now get on and read these books. Until I made a sizeable hole in the pile, I can’t really justify buying anything new. A book buying ban is now in place in the BookerTalk household. I’m not going to make this a challenge or put a timeline in place (I haven’t forgotten that only a week ago I said I wouldn’t be taking on any new challenges). Realistically I know I won’t be able to avoid all temptation for a year but at least when I do succumb I will be making sure that it’s something I am really really want.