Thursday, January 9, 2014

Confessions of a Serial Book Buyer

I like to think of myself as someone who enjoys reading. Because I love books. I love reading book reviews and thinking about the books I will read and how much I will enjoy them. I love going to my book group and talking about books, especially hearing about the books that other members read. I love going to book stores or perusing Amazon's book store on line. And I love buying books. 
But, truth be told, I have a dirty little secret . . . I don't actually read that many of the books I buy.  I am a serial book buyer! The screen shot above shows the books in my kindle which I have bought and not finished. In fact, four of them (The State of Wonder, Lamb, When God was a Rabbit and The Four Agreements) I never even started! My bedside stand holds a pile of unread or unfinished books, including The Lacuna, Lark and Termite, March, Middlesex, Fieldwork, So Brave, Young and Handsome, Peace Like a River, and The Other Boleyn Girl (all,except one, started but never finished). I can't believe I'm the only one in the Serial Book Buyer's Club, am I? Come on . . . 'fess up!  Do you finish all the books you buy? If you start a book and life gets in the way or it's not compelling, what do you do? Do you hold onto it or toss it?
Of my kindle books, I know I will not finish Unbroken, and I am unlikely to start Lamb or State of Wonder. I actually want to finish White Dog Fell from Sky, The Art of Fielding, Await Your Reply and Let's Pretend this Never Happened. I feel like I should finish The Orphan Master's Son and Cloudstreet (but probably won't). I remain optimistic about reading When God was a Rabbit and The Four Agreements. Of my bedside books, I am most interested in finishing Peace Like a River and Middlesex. Not sure about the others.
I think I'll pick my top four unfinished books from each group and give myself until the end of the year to finish them. If not, I will give them away (or send them to the cloud).  I'm going to create a gadget in my sidebar to track the books I finish in 2014. And my first book will be:

I read this book for my book group. I liked it a lot and rate it 4/5. Erdrich did a wonderful job of immersing me in a specific time and place; the subject matter captivated me, and her characterization and writing are spectacular. It's filled with fascinating themes that I know will generate interesting discussion in our book group. But I was not sold on the ending of the book, and the narrator/point of view (a 13 year old boy) is not my favorite. Still, I would recommend it, and it makes me want to read her Plague of Doves (which is a precursor to this book). 

27 comments:

The Mann Fam said...

I am so glad I am not the only book lover who collects books with the intent to read but doesn't. I have done this for so long that I finally resorted to shopping at my local library. I can collect books I've read about on other blogs or Goodreads enjoy the cover art by my beside for a month or more if I decide to renew that book. And I have released a lot of guilt and worry over storage and cost. Wow. That felt good getting that off my chest.

Jane said...

since I bought my kindle I seem to have far too many books. My trouble is I feel I've failed if I don't finish a book and have decided this year to just accept it's not for me and go on to read one I really enjoy.

Missus Wookie said...

I used to be... I'm much more careful about what I buy now - but my lists of "interesting/want to read" grows and grows.

I always like the idea of listing the books I read but never manage it.

scrappyjacky said...

I have a pile of books still waiting for me!!
And if a start a book and can't get into it....I discard it....I have too many others waiting in the wings!!

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

I have a large bookshelf groaning under the weight of my books and many boxes of them hidden away in the loft, that didn't get unpacked when we moved....6 years ago! I made the decision then, to stop buying and use the local library instead. I now have a Nook e-reader, as you can't borrow books using a Kindle and I love that for reading in bed. It's so light and much easier to hold than an 800 page tome! I really enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl and I have When God was a Rabbit on my TBR list.

Jo Murray said...

I used to read a lot more before I took up art. Now I rarely have time....but that doesn't stop me buying books. I sympathise with you.

Sian said...

We've been thinking along the same lines: I'm doing a post about the books I got for Christmas next. My Mum is the serial book buyer in our family: she definitely buys more than she reads and then passes them round the rest of us. I buy more craft and reference books, probably, than big readers just at the moment - that gives me an excuse for just setting them up on a shelf!

Cheri said...

I am a very selective book buyer. I try to buy only those I want in a permanent collection. (Mostly art and self-help). For anything I think I'll read and let go, I try to use the library. Unless it is really cheap at Amazon. It is a rare book that is so bad that I don't finish it once I start.

Lesley G said...

Oh my goodness Rinda, you are definitely NOT a serial book buyer, my ipad has at least 3 screenshots worth of book that I haven't yet read and along with the 3 shelves worth upstairs - THAt's a serial book buyer ;)

Denise said...

I've got a few books on my Ipad now. I actually really like the option of just being able to flip to a book when I'm on my Ipad. I've definitely bought more since I had it :-)

furrypig said...

I love love love books, though once I had read them I give them away but I still have lots and lots of books on the book shelves plus I use the library plus I have a rather full Kindle too! I rarely start a book and don't finish but I do have 2 half read books on my shelf/bedside table that I hope to finish!
ps I keep a record of all my books on Goodreads and I really recommend it

Anonymous said...

that is so funny ... before e-books (and bookbub.com) i forced myself to finish EVERY book i started before i allowed myself to pick up a new book (that's how i finished The Road, War and Peace, Dune and other books i did not like) ... but now that i'm on e-books and get most of my books for free or under a buck, i dont feel like i have to force myself to finish them.. if they dont grab me by the first 3 chapters, i click end and move to the next book... i have several hundred books in my kindle app that cost a dollar or less and although i know they aren't great literature, they will hopefully entertain me ... but i definitely dont buy/download things i'm not intending to read... haha i guess i also dont buy/download great literature, either ... i say if it makes you happy to buy books you dont/won't read (shrug) go for it, the world can never have enough books!!
Mariana

Carola Bartz said...

Of your bedside books I would recommend Lacuna - I loved it!

So - yes, I tend to buy books and more books. I'm always afraid of running out of books that I haven't read. I want to be able to choose whenever I want to.
I usually (when it comes to novels) read one book at a time. If I don't like it or don't get into the story by page 100 I usually put it away - it will go to the thrift store. If I finish a book and didn't particularly like it, it goes that way as well. Everything I like I keep, often read it again. Currently I'm reading Life Blood, a mystery taking place in a part of England I love, and I enjoy recognizing all the places even though the author has changed the names for them. 20 years ago I read this book for the first time, and now again. It's like a new story and I thoroughly enjoy it.
BTW, most of my books I buy in thrift stores. I don't feel guilty if I don't like the book very much and donate it back. It also makes me buy books I wouldn't have thought of before - and I also discover authors I hadn't known.

Wrightboysmum said...

I had a giggle as I've had to stop reading the Kindle daily deal email as I kept adding to my list. I hate to be book less it's like forgetting your handbag.

Melissa said...

I'm definitely a Serial Book Buyer, but I do typically read them all . . . eventually! There's always a pile by my bed and a list on my Kindle, but I work through them & rarely ever stop a book without finishing. But I keep on buying, so there's always a pile & a list!

alexa said...

I have stopped buying fiction because I was finding I rarely finished a book :(. But I am a sucker for anything art or journalling related :). Yours sounds like a good plan.

Karen said...

I buy many fewer books now than I used to, but there are more than just a few on my iPad (Kindle) waiting to be read. I'm reading many more from the library now. I loved State of Wonder, and our book group read Unbroken. I wouldn't have read it otherwise, but was very glad I did. The movie comes out this year. I don't know if I have what it takes to see it. Parts of it were tough to read. We also read Await Your Reply, which I didn't expect to like, and did! I could never get into Middlesex. Like you, I gave The Roundhouse a 4/5, and I'm now likely to read her Plague of Doves since some of the same characters are in that book as well. My list "to read" seems never-ending, but I don't own them yet!

S said...

I can so relate. I, too, am guilty of buying in advance of what I can reasonable expect to read in the immediate future - but that's okay with me. One of these days it will the other way around.

Eileen T said...

My sister buys all the books in our family and passes them on to me ... and yes, I do read them all. Also the few I buy myself, the ones I get from friends and the ones I borrow from the library. I read about 100 books every year.

Ladkyis said...

Then you should join bookcrossing and set all those books free to find new readers. www.bookcrossing.com It's not for electronic books but for all those paper books that are bending the bookshelves. I find it very liberating to release books into the wild for other people to find and read.

helena said...

I read a lot but rarely buy books - I use the library a lot and family pass around books they've bought. I'd highly recommend 'When God was a Rabbit' from your list of not read yet

Kirsty.A said...

I must admit I am a fast and prolific reader. Always have a book on the go and always finish it before I start another. I'm a chain reader. That makes me quite hard to please, though, few of the 60 plus books I read last year rate higher than 6/10

Fiona said...

I admit to being part of that club too. I have a number of books both on Kindle and paperbacks that I have bought and have yet to read!

Gail said...

I must be a member of the club! I had to laugh as your kindle sounds just like mine and I won't even go into the pile of books on my desk shelf and there is magazines - I've been known to buy the same one twice because I didn't realize I already had it.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I have a lot of books I buy but then end up never reading. They are all once I found from Pixel of Ink's list of free or bargain books or ones I came across for less than $2. If I spend more than $5 I tend to at least start it. Kindle will let you return books within 3 days and I have done that with some books that a third of the way in I know I will never read. I probably ought to download the samples first more often

sky-blu-pink said...

Love books, too, and am an inveterate library visitor. I have so many novels, so I only buy non fiction these days, hence the library.

Chipper Newman said...

I LOVE to read and read everything that I buy. But I only read one book at a time. I am not one to have two or three on the go at once unless one is non-fiction. I have been enjoying the free books on Kindle (I use the app) and have read over fourty since November. But there is nothing as good as a real book in my hands. Reading devices are handy but not my first choice.