Image via Wikipedia
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?
Even John Calvin wants an e-reader these days. --Image via Wikipedia
Confession: I mocked e-readers when they came onto the market. Phooey, I would say, ridiculous, pathetic, wusses, cowards, begh.
Confession: I now want an e-reader.
What prompted this sudden shift? Well it all started with, as it so often does with me, School Library Journal. Their wonderful tech review had started reviewing e-readers and I found myself going: Huh, that could be handy. I mean, getting books that aren’t in print anymore, buying books on a budget (obviously someone else would have bought me the e-reader) and the general convenience of not having to tote Ulysses around during my day trips (nearly a year into it and I’ll be damned if I give up on it.) But the trouble was that I don’t buy from big stores (confession: I did buy some books from Amazon but I had a gift certificate, what else could I do?) and at the time I could only buy books via Amazon, Borders and their ilk.
Then I had a brain blast. As I explained it to the Baroness a few weeks ago, “If only I could buy them through specific independent bookstores. I would pay my price and they’d make a few cents off my book. I’m a genius.”
And it’s true I am a genius. The one not so genius part of my plan was that I never patented it because a day later I was listening to NPR when they started talking about Google making it possible to buy e-books via Independent Bookstores (storie here). If only I’d copy written my idea. Ah well, c’est la vie. A few days later I was mentioning this to one of my favorite people, one of the two booksellers at my local IndieBound bookstore, when she said, “I know all about this. We’re part of it.” And I went, “Hooray! I can know get (someone to get me) an e-reader!”
While I am still slightly confused as to which e-readers can work with Google Books (I think most of them can, excluding the Kindle) I am excited to move into this new frontier.
Though there are times where I still have doubts as to whether or not I want another piece of electronic plastic in my life…