Careful, I’m about to be blunt.
There are too many books out there.
But I’m not going to get into some big thing over publishers and too many books to make choices and other things that I’ve read in School Library Journal and Newsweek. Instead I’m going to talk about living with too many books to read.
On the surface this sounds like a good thing but I’m sure we’ve all experienced the crippling, catatonic-rendering feeling that comes from standing in a book store and realizing that there are more books that you want to read than there are days left in your life. The immediate option is dropping out of school/quitting work and killing off those who depend on you (children, pets, elderly parents, etc.). Of course after a while you’ll realize that this is irresponsible and illegal (though you will probably get plenty of reading time behind bars so…) so I’m going to propose a new plan.
Instead of dropping off the world and murder let’s look at smart planning (yes, I was listening to Marketplace Money today, why?) To cope with that overwhelming catatonic feeling I was talking about earlier I’ve developed my Book Budget, better known to my whiteboard as The List.
The concept is simple. On my list are seven books. These are the seven books that I must read before moving on to something else. That means that when someone recommends a book to me or I read a great review I can’t just drop everything and go find a copy of this new book. Basically this is just me trying to exercise some self-control.
But say! What if I want to read Enterprise: The First Adventure but it’s not on my list? Simple, I carefully look over the list to see if there are any books on there that I want to read less than Enterprise, if there aren’t on the list then I put Enterprise on my Shelfari to read list and ignore it until a spot opens. (As it turns out I was able to switch it for A Wizard of Earthsea– it just wasn’t working out for me.)
Basically this stops me from trying to read fifty books at once (I have been caught trying to balance nearly ten books at once and just never finished any of them.)
If you want to look at my short list click here or on the “My Short List” link up top. What books are on your short list?