Monday, December 21, 2009

Musing Monday - 12.21.09

While Rebecca of Just One More Page is on holiday, MizB has posted the question of the week:

When you buy books, do they immediately go onto your bookshelf to wait until you’re ready to read them (even if that means months/years from then!), or do you read them right away? What makes you do this? If you’re a ’shelver’, why do you think you don’t read the books right away? Do you ever feel guilty for letting the books sit there, unread? If you’re a ‘read-em-now’ person, why do you feel they have to be read right away? Do you give away the books when you’re done, too?
I must admit that I am a shelver -- although at times I wish I were a "read-em-now" person.
I rarely buy on impulse. In fact I often drive my family and close friends crazy with all my deliberation. So when I do make a book purchase it is because I know it is one that I will enjoy and wish to add to my own personal library.

Now I must admit that my book buying sprees have grown exponentially since I started reading book blogs a little over a year ago. You all have such a way of reviewing your latest read that I feel I absolutely cannot wait another moment to read it for myself. This has a compound effect: I purchase the book that I know I want because I read a review; the next day I read more blogs, find more books that I cannot resist, purchase those books, etc. The next thing I know I have purchased several books and I can only read one book at a time (and unfortunately I tend to be a slow reader - due to other obligations as well as reading speed) and I simply cannot keep up.

Do I feel guilty? Sometimes. I look at the ever growing TBR mountain of books and think that I simply must catch up before I purchase another. But then I stop and realize that most of these books were purchased for a fraction of their original cost (I frequent the clearance section of second hand shops on a weekly basis) and I KNOW that someday I will indeed read them (I know that this hectic pace of life will someday quiet down, and I am ready with plenty of reading material to prevent me from becoming bored).

I like that I now have a personal library where I have "choice" in what to read --- and I can match the book to my mood. I like that I can talk with family and friends about books, recommend books that I think they might enjoy, and then be loan them the book to see if indeed it is something they might like to purchase themselves. I like that my bookshelves are full (and I am truly in need of more) and I can hibernate in "my cozy book nook" surrounded by literary friends to keep me company. There is something very soothing about being in a library, and now have somewhat replicated that environment in my own home.

I do harbor visions of my retirement years being filled with reading and re-reading. Those books that I think I might enjoy reading again, I keep. Those books that I think I might enjoy passing along to others, I keep. I do, however, believe in recycling and about twice a year cull through my collection and give a few to the library book sale, or take them to the second hand bookstore for store credit. I have not yet joined Bookmooch or Paperback Swap, although I can see myself doing this within the next few years. Cathy of Kittling: Books is always giving an update on the number of books that have left her house vs the number of books that arrived via this method and I think it is a great way to keep a personal library constantly updated with worthwhile reading material.

So how about you? Are you also a shelver??


  1. I don't shelve new books that I get immediately. I usually read the first page or maybe a chapter. Sometimes I just can't help myself. I also bring in books way to frequently. I now have a library to the tune of around 600 books, most of which I have not read. This year I am seriously going to try to make a dent in my own stacks.

  2. Sadly, I am a "shelver" with 600+ unread books on my shelves. I will rarely pay full price for a book, and when I buy, I look for bargains, and YES, i do feel guilty with all my unread books.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately)...i LOVE the library and can't resist placing hold on all the latest hottest books, which does not help my TBR stacks. I'M PATHETIC !!

  3. I've become a shelver in the last year or so, myself. Every once in a while, I'll start one right away, but not very often.

  4. I'm a shelver too ... and I love having a whole bunch of diverse books to choose from. I do get at least 75% of my books from Paperback Swap ... I love it. So I don't feel bad because I'm not paying full price for them. The best thing is when I see a book that catches my eye, I add it to my Paperback Swap wish list and then it pops up sometimes months later and it is like a little treat.

  5. I put myself on a book acquiring ban a couple years ago, and with a few exceptions, I've done pretty well since! I've got a great library system, though, and it's gotten to the point where unless it's the library's $5 bag book sale, I don't understand why I'd risk money on a book that I hadn't read yet! I DO envision having a library full of my favourite authors and books one day, but since my main goal in life is to move frequently and travel and see the world, I'm not sure lugging 500 pounds of books around with me will ever be a reality. ;)

  6. I buy impulsively, then shelve just about everything. Gotta have plenty there "just in case". There must be a word for what ails us, and it seems like we are all suffering from it. Same goes for my Kindle. I start drinking wine, start ordering, then don't read what I've ordered for ages.

  7. The Bell Jar is American writer and poet Sylvia Plath's only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963. The novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of places and people changed. The book is often regarded as a roman à clef, with the protagonist's descent into mental illness paralleling Plath's own experiences with what may have been either bipolar disorder or clinical depression. Plath committed suicide a month after its first publication.


Related Posts with Thumbnails