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The unread book problem

I’m not alone. I know as soon as you saw that title, you were already nodding sadly and thinking ‘same’.

I’ll be honest: in many ways I don’t think of this as a problem. At my last count, I had over 50 unread books waiting for me, in my collection alone. That’s not even counting my unread ebooks, nor is it counting M’s substantial collection that he shares with me because he’s awesome and likes me. 50 books. And not skinny weeny ones: big hearty books that would take me a couple of weeks to read. So that means I have easily more than enough books for a year without buying anymore.

The thing is, that count was done maybe eighteen months ago and I’ve been too embarrassed to do another count since then. I mean, sure I’ve read a bunch since then, but I’ve bought a much bigger bunch. There were a couple of times last year when I was too tired or too busy to read (although not many, let’s be honest), and…and…instead I would buy another book.

I know! Stop yelling at me. I don’t understand it either.

Much like knitting, where I have multiple projects on the go to ensure I’ve got knitting for every occasion (there’s listening knitting for podcasts and Simpsons repeats, there’s don’t-need-to-look knitting for social events and things I need to look at, there’s need-to-look-at-a-teensy-bit for long car trips, etc. etc.), I’ve got a book on the go for every mood and temperament. But that doesn’t fully explain the abundance of unread books. If anything, it just raises more insistent questions about not reading them, since I have no excuse for ever not reading.

Earlier this year I even thought about drawing one of those huge thermometers on butcher’s paper that people do for fundraisers, so that each time I finish a book I can add another line in highlighter and gradually track my progress. But, well, I chickened out. I don’t really want to know how many books I haven’t fulfilled my promise to.

And that’s the heart of it: I feel like I’ve let down all those books. (I should also feel a bit embarrassed by all the money I’ve spent on them, but because I know I’ll eventually read and relish them, I figure it’s just delayed value fulfilment.) I’m also a little uneasy about all the other things I’ve promised I will occupy my hands and eyes with — all the unkitted yarn, the unread French texts, the unpracticed violin just over there and GOD HELP ME the unstitched cross stitch kits I just bought in a fit of bewilderment where I thought I was someone who had nothing to do. But frankly enough about that. I don’t care to go into my apparent need to constantly build walls against the possibility of boredom, because I don’t like what it says about my maturity.

So what are we going to do about it? What do you think we’re going to do? We are going to READ, emmereffers! We’re going to READ THE DICKENS out of the TBR pile! (Which, ironically, contains no Dickens.) I’m going to slay this goldarn tower of delicious books even if it means I don’t buy another book for the rest of the year! (I don’t even believe that is possible, but I liked the way it sounds, so.) Behold my stern resolution, ye mighty, and despair!

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