I own lots of books. Of all the things I like to buy for myself, books rank number one on the list, and they’re the one thing of which I can never have enough. I love going to the library and checking out books, but there’s just something about owning a book and knowing I can go read it whenever I want.
So then why the hell do I have so many unread books lining my shelves?
I’m sure this happens to others. You find a good deal on a book at a bookstore, so you buy it. Since you own it, you don’t feel the pressure of having to read it RIGHT NOW and then return it again in three weeks. Besides, you know you have about five unread books from the library on your nightstand that you HAVE to read in exactly 16 days, so this new book you just bought can wait.
That was the untimely fate of this book when I first bought it.
And then you go to the library to return the books you finished, telling yourself that you don’t need to check anymore out because you have that new book you bought waiting for you at home! Until you find that one other book you’ve been wanting to read at the library, and it’s totally okay to check it out because that one book that’s waiting for you at home? It can wait a little longer, because you own it.
And then it becomes this vicious cycle of checking books out, returning books, and buying more bargain books that you know you won’t get to for another year. But it’s okay, right? Because you own them…and they’re never going to go away. Unless, of course, you decide to clean out your bookshelves because you’re moving, and you own up to the fact that certain books are never going to be read.
Don’t worry, I totally don’t own this. I just wanted to reinforce the fact that it will never be read by me.
What’s even worse – and what I find myself doing a lot – is when I don’t have any books from the library and I’m looking at my bookshelves for something to read…and I grab this:
Obviously – and if you know me – you know that those books have been read many times. I practically know them and the rest of the books in those series’ by heart. But I still find myself grabbing those books when I can’t decide what to read, even though and I have tons of unopened books on my shelves. What is up with that???
Has remained unopened for over ten years.
So while you digest the fact that I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice, here’s a short list of some books that I have purchased but no yet read. Or, as Shakespeare would put it, “I have bought the mansion of a love, but not possess’d it.” Or something like that.
1. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gaboldon – I bought the fourth book of the Outlander series while I was on book two, but after I finished book three, I was totally burned out and needed a break. So far that break has been four years.
2. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – I wanted to get into the classics. Haven’t gotten into them yet.
3. The Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley – I started reading this book ten years ago, and then decided a social life was more important. I’ve given up on the whole social life thing, but I have yet to get back to this book.
4. The Other Queen and The White Queen by Philipa Gregory – I really enjoy books about kings and queens and all the royalty jazz, and I had a great time reading The Other Boleyn Girl, so when I was at my local library’s used book sale, I grabbed two more of Gregory’s books. And here they have sat on their bookshelf throne.
5. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff – I bought this book at another used book sale because I thought the cover was awesome. I have yet to discover if the book itself is awesome.
6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Once again, a lame attempt at reading the classics. And unless it has magic and wizards and Quidditch, I don’t think I want to read a book that long.
7. Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind – I went and bought this book at FULL PRICE after I started watching the cheesiest show on earth, The Legend of the Seeker. It’s quite a long book – 836 pages, to be exact – and while there is magic and wizards, I’ve only been able to get through half the book. It’s not because I wasn’t enjoying it; it’s just a perfect example of other books getting in the way.
8. Elske – by Cynthia Voigt – Voigt’s book On Fortune’s Wheel was one of my favorite books back in high school, so when I found this book at Half Price Books back in college (we’re talking over ten years ago), I quickly grabbed it. You know the rest.
9. Lirael and Abhorsen by Garth Nix – These were another Half Price Books purchase back in college, and at the time I bought them because a) I loved the covers, and b) They were about magic and stuff. The only downside? I was missing the first book in the series, Sabriel, so I never read them. And of course whenever I see Sabriel at the library, I say to myself, “Next time.”
10. The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh – This one may come as a surprise – if you’re not still freaking out about the whole Pride and Prejudice thing – since the prequel to this book, Harriet the Spy, is one of my favorite books of all-time. But when I was younger it never really occurred to me to read the sequel because, well, what could be better than the first one? I picked up The Long Secret at a library sale a few years ago, but since then I’ve probably read Harriet the Spy at least three more times. So you see where my priorities lie.
The reason why these books are still on my shelves is because I continue to tell myself I’ll read them, even though new books come out every week that I want to read. But it’s also nice to see them as sort of a goal: I have this goal to read every book I own, and who cares if it takes me another 50 years to do it. The point is that I can do it.
Come on, are you that surprised??