Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bookish Beginnings and a Dread Confession

Photo: Flickr/ginnerobot
“There are worse crimes than burning books. 
One of them is not reading them”
Joseph Brodsky
It started out innocently enough. One sunny day in 2008 (at least I think it was 2008; I’m terrible with dates) a customer came into my shop holding a huge box of books. “Do you want these? It’s mostly science fiction and fantasy stuff which I don’t read”. “Sure,” I replied taking the box. “You can keep what you want and I’ll come back later and get rid of the rest,” she said before rushing out the door again.

The rest of my afternoon was spent unearthing treasure after treasure. Asimov, May, Feist, Donaldson. Authors I either loved or had been meaning to try for ages and they were mine for the taking. Needless to say I ended up keeping ALL the books. Up until this point I never really had a book collection of my own. I’ve always been a ferocious reader, but my reading relied on what was available from the small public library. Suddenly I had books, lots of books and they were mine to keep! I felt like the richest man in the world. Those thirty odd books filled a void I hadn’t known existed. After stalking me my entire life, the bibliophile bug had finally caught up with me in the worst possible way.

My fledgling collection kept growing. Soon my only bookshelf wasn’t big enough. I added two more. Books kept streaming in and soon enough those were full too. Obviously the bookshelves I bought were too small to begin with. I had to think bigger. I got the biggest one I could find – a monstrosity with six shelves that dwarfed those that had come before. My collection looked so forlorn in their new home. All that empty space just begged for more books...

Two years later and I have resorted to double-stacking my books. The monstrosity is filled to the brim with horizontal stacks (the most efficient use of space). Piles of books are clustered all over my room. I suspect they might be breeding...

At last count I had more than 500 books in my collection. The tragic part is that the vast majority of them remain unread. I no longer have a TBR-pile, my entire bookshelf plays host to my TBR-mountain and that scares me. I fully intended to read every book I bought, but try as I might, I can’t keep up. I’m being overwhelmed by all the books. They even haunt my dreams – their pale pages weeping droplets of ink; crying out to be read.

It is with the utmost dread that I have to confess that I have too many books. The lure of all the shiny new releases has led me astray. I need to spend time getting my TBR-list back to manageable levels and that means focusing on the books I have neglected for far too long.

Putting myself on a book buying ban simply won’t work, so to start off I’m embarking on a TBR Decimation challenge. The rules are simple: for every 10 books on my TBR-list I read I get to buy 1 new book. This way I still get to read new releases, but I also have an incentive to read the books I already own.

Let the decimation commence!


  1. One day, if I find the willpower, I will also embark on such a noble endeavour. Good luck!

  2. Excuse Me. I have commented on this blog before, It is great. I would like to review it on my own blog. Your posts have inspired me. All I would like to now is your inspiration for this blog.


    1. Hi Joshua

      Thanks for visiting. The inspiration for the blog came from my love for reading and the need to find somewhere where I could talk about the books I've read. I've always loved speculative fiction and just wanted to share my thoughts with people who 'got' the whole science fiction and fantasy genre.