Book Guilt… A Short Solution

With the never ending influx of books (which I love) arriving in the post from you lovely people, from publishers or through my own excessive book shopping spree’s every now and again I need a good book sort. The next Great Book Sort will be happening over the next few evening and will combine this with a ‘Sensation Search’ where I go a-hunting for some modern sensations that I am well aware I own… I am just not sure quite where. You see there are negatives to having so many books** (I just tend to blank them mentally) well a few.

For example I know I own ‘Meaning of the Night’ and ‘Silent in the Grave’ which some of you kindly recommended, they are just in one of six boxes brimming with books, actually they could be on one of the eight TBR shelves, or even just on the various TBR piles around the house (which I frankly dare not even take a picture of). The Converted One commented the other day that “other book bloggers have a TBR pile… so why do you have about twelve and boxes full?’ Hmmm… no comment.

The other issue I get is…  guilt. Partly to people who have bought me books/sent me books and when I say that beam ‘have you read **** by **** **** yet?’ to which I reply with a guilty gulp ‘erm… no… but I will… soon’. I love the fact my friends, readers and all the publishers will see a book and think ‘oh I know who would like that’ I just always feel bad if I don’t read it then and there. Does anyone else get this? Or am I just being a bit over dramatic?

Worst of all however, is the guilt I feel for all the books that sit on my shelves, on any free surface to hand or get popped in a box. These books that I know are waiting with the promise of some sort of adventure that only the two of us can share, this could be a good, bad or indifferent adventure but it’s an adventure all the same. So I thought right how can I get through more of them and still keep on with the tomes of the Sensation Season, and I had an idea involving all of these…

A few short novels...

  • Henrietta’s War – Joyce Dennys (already read – hilarious more tomorrow)
  • Love – Toni Morrison
  • The Girls of Slender Means – Muriel Spark
  • Fire in the Blood – Irene Nemirovsky
  • Cover Her Face – P.D. James (I am in need of some crime)
  • King Kong Theory – Virginie Despentes
  • The Tin Can Tree – Anne Tyler
  • The Daydreamer – Ian McEwan
  • Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  • The Bronte’s Went To Woolworths – Rachel Ferguson (very late reading this)
  • Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt
  • A Pale View of the Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro (have had mixed past experiences with Ishiguro)
  • The Swallows of Kabul – Yasmina Khadra
  • Shuck – Daniel Allen Cox
  • True Murder – Yaba Badoe (looks thicker than it is big writing)

What do they all have in common apart from the fact I have been meaning to read them all for ages (apart from Love by Toni Morrison which Claire at Kiss A Cloud is to blame for my purchase of)? They are all short! I thought a short book each week plus one other random and a Sensation Novel is exactly what my reading week can handle. How do you think I will fair? Does anyone else ever get sudden book guilt at the pile they have accrued?

**Note – This post is not a whinge and the more books the merrier are welcomed at Savidge Reads Towers, just so you know!


Filed under Book Thoughts

26 responses to “Book Guilt… A Short Solution

  1. Simon

    I worry for you. Now you’re committing to reading three books per week. That’s a heck of a schedule on top of blogging … and the day job.

    Whatever you do, don’t forget that you’re meant to be reading for pleasure, not pressure!

  2. Hehe – I have HUGE book guilt – and have just got to the point (yesterday night when I got home to 4 Amazon Marketplace parcels) where I now own over 1000 books! Eeek! I estimate that about 150 are unread, but it doesn’t stop me going to the library/buying more. Luckily I am a VERY fast reader, and have read nearly 500 books this year (owing to having been ill for most of the first part of the year and not done anything apart from go to work and read), but I still feel overwhelmed. But also excited about them! I sometimes try to stop myself buying books, but I’m not very good at it as my reward for not buying….well you can guess!

    BTW I hugely recommend oranges are not the only fruit.

    • Oh am glad you ahve recommended the Winterson, I have a lot of her stuff and have yet to read a word!

      I am trying to avoid Amazno though someone has just told me (in the office) of two books that I simply must have if am getting myself lost in the Victorian era… so far havent succumbed!

  3. novelinsights

    Yes, I definitely get book guilt and I certainly don’t get through as many as you!

    I like Natalie Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting although I read it a long long time ago. I loved, loved, loved The Search For Delicious which I read as a kid, and is about the search for the definition of ‘Delicious’ for the King’s advisor’s dictionary. It involved mermaids, dwarves and secret locked underwater rooms. Sorry not trying to add to your pile!

    • Oh you must tell me all about the Natalie Babbitt books when I next see you please.

      I love the title The Search for Delicious just as it is and then hearing the story… oh dear, this could all go horribly wrong, hee hee.

  4. novelinsights

    Oh and of course, the Girls of Slender Means (because you know I love Spark).

  5. Serious guilt, not that it is a stretch for me, as I am Catholic and that is what we are good at. I keep saying that I will just start to plow through these wonderful treasures on my shelves for the last few months of the year and will join no challenges! We will see how that goes!

    • I think I am avoiding all prize longlists until the next Man Booker, though maybe I will skip that too next year its just too much. The Sensation reads I want to read so thats easy peasy, some of the Man Bookers were tough, though worth it.

      I sometimes also wonder if doing man Booker longlists etc alienates the blog reader.

  6. I could really relate to this post as I was writing about the same thing pretty much recently. Last week I donated 26 books from my shelves, that I no longer thought I’d EVER read, and acquired 10 book….LOL

    I still own less than before. Each week, I will continue to donate at least the a number of books equal to , or greater than those I acquire.

    Good luck with your own personal dilemma.

    • That sounds like my usual trick, take books to a charity shop and bring the same amount back. I do have a ‘limbo’ pile which is where I just can’t decide if will read them or not, am thinking i should get tough. I shall report back in due course!

  7. Be aware as you go into it – A Pale View of Hills is a really strange book. Read The Brontes Went to Woolworth’s! I desperately want to read it but it isn’t available in the States.

    • Is it not available out there… thats shocking? Have you tried The Book Depository? Everyone raves about it. You should be able to get it shipped for next to nothing, or even nothing at all.

      Hmmm Ishiguro and another starnge book, could be interesting.

  8. chasingbawa

    One of the great things about reading book blogs is that you realise you are not alone! Amongst my family and friends, I am the only one with a TBR bookcase rather than a shelf. So it’s nice to know that in the book blogging world I am amongst friends and am not wrestling with guilt on my own. I’m beginning to accept that my book buying habit isn’t going away and that I am officially addicted (but really, the happiness you feel when you buy a book seriously outweighs the guilt). So thank you!

    And I have three recommendations for you: The Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert, A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam and The Boat by Nam Le. You might want to check them out.

    • Oh I love recommendations thank you ever so much! Though not really helping my ‘no more books for a while’ theory, though actually thats already out the window.

      I am glad to find even more new people who have exactly the same problems as me, makes one feel so much less like a loon! Though maybe we should all be attending BBA (book bloggers anonymous)??

  9. I’m happy to have made you pick the Toni Morrison up. Haven’t actually read Love yet, but the other Claire has, I believe. We both love Morrison so hope you enjoy it!

    I did guess what that pile was about! I compiled a same pile of shorts and Fire in the Blood is also in it (reserving them for the readathon!!).

    I do feel guilt as well, Simon, but I’m sure yours is ten times worse as your tbr pile is about 100 times huger than my own ha ha.

  10. Now I don’t feel half as bad!! Your TBR piles are worse than mine!

    I feel guilty every day looking at my piles of unread books, but still I can’t stop buying more. The guilt clearly isn’t enough of an incentive to stop!

    • Hahahaha thank you Rachel, am glad my pain has made you feel so much better.

      I don’t think guilt is something that stops me… well with books, or chocolates, or cups of tea, or gossip. Oh dear!

  11. My TBR heap, and heap it is, is six wide, two in depth and each pile about three feet high. More are added each week and I have now given up worrying about it and just rejoice in the lovely feeling that they are there.

    And Simon, I know this is my personal response and opinion, but I feel you can jettison The Meaning of Night without losing out on a great experience. I started it and ploughed through it and then found I was rapidly losing the will to live. If you have the time, or the inclination, do a search on Random and a few years back there will be my review.

    Sorry for all this blitz of comments but with blogs to visit I tend to home in on one and read and then think of there is so much I want to respond to and comment on almost everything!

    • I love the sentence “I started it and ploughed through it and then found I was rapidly losing the will to live” doesnt sell the book too well hahaha. Its on my hitlist but not anywhere near the top of my “modern sensation pile”.

      Thanks so much for all the comments Elaine, am thrilled you have popped by! Also good to know am in so much good compnay with other people and their never ending TBR’s.

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