Aaaaaaaaaaargh, There Are Just Too Many Books…

Is it just me or do any of you ever get the feeling that there are just too many books out there and that you might not be able to read all the ones you want and how do you find out about the amazing ‘just you’ kind of books that would make your life a better place and what about all the authors you love and never seem to catch up on reading the back catalogue of and what about all the authors in translation, being translated or yet to be translated, and what about the classic novels, not just the ones from your countries canon but the ones from all over the rest of the world too and then what about all the books that are being edited or written or even just thought of or not even imagined yet for the future? And breathe.

That is how I have been feeling a little of late. I love books, can’t get enough of the blighters, yet sometimes the sheer numbers of them (be they from the past, present or forthcoming) just daunts me. It could be simply going through my shelves and boxes and boxes of books ‘to be read’, popping to the library, perusing publishing catalogues or book magazines and sites, listening to bookish podcasts, having a look at other people’s bookshelves or going to the London Book Fair (see picture below, post coming soon) etc – suddenly the amount of books just looms on you, and you get readers fright, your unable to perform reading-wise. Eek.


That is where I am at the moment and I am sure I am not alone. There is excitement about all the reads ahead but also some fear and general bafflement. Then that sense of panic that I should be reading every spare second I have and if am not getting really frustrated and cross. Serioulsy the later happens, you can ask The Beard (who I have been with 2 years today, hoorah) all about my epic grumps if I haven’t had enough reading time. The ranting about ‘why can’t I just quite my job, eat dust and read all day’. Frightful. So how do we get through these moments? Should I switch off the bookish bit of my brain and spend some time doing other things or just get a grip and read on?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

28 responses to “Aaaaaaaaaaargh, There Are Just Too Many Books…

  1. This is just how I feel at the moment. The instant I decided I needed to have a temporary book-buying-ban, three books came out that I really wanted to read… *cries*

  2. Annabel (gaskella)

    This is when I go into comfort read mode – which for me is thrillers – forget the piles of books you’ve agreed to read. It’ll soon come back. Congrats on the 2 yrs with The Beard too. x

  3. Catherine

    Congrats first of all for your 2 years anniversary!!I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the amount of books there is just in one shop and thinking that I would need many lives to read them all and for that as you said, stop working and reading all day (the dream!haha). But let’s face it, we are only human (even if sometimes super ones ;-)). We need social life, we need to work and do other stuff than reading even if we love it. You will never be able to read the amount of books in the library in your lifetime so don’t waste time with rubbish books, read only what you want, when you want and when you feel like it!You didn’t read this or that classic? Nevermind, maybe one day, for now you want another type of books. It is not about reading them for the sake of reading them but enjoying them because you love reading and getting the timing right for a book is a big thing in itself. Just breathe and go to your own pace.

  4. kaggsysbookishramblings

    You just wait until you’re as old as I am, and in a terrible panic about whether you’ll be around long enough to read everything you want and wishing you hadn’t wasted time on light reads over the years and had read all the books you’re still trying to read now. I think I’ve accepted I’ll never read everything I want to – so I’m just reading what I feel I really *must* – and enjoying it while I do!

    (Congrats on the anniversary too!)

  5. I’ve been feeling the same anxieties recently. I made several book shopping trips (including the bookshelves of my childhood home) in April and have made a promise to not visit any more bookstores or library sales in the coming months. But then there’s NetGalley and these other temptations that keep showing up on line (like BookBub). I am trying to follow my own advice when I get overwhelmed at work: one at a time. I want to try and read at least one hour a day, more if possible. That is the best I can do at this point! (Good luck and happy anniversary :-))

  6. Antonomasia

    Reading and hearing stuff about books can sometimes be more of a problem than books themselves. I think ignoring Goodreads, blog feeds, newspaper book sections, bookshop newsletters and all that sort of thing – and just looking at the books you’ve already got in the house and remembering why you want to read *those ones*, and not getting any more for a while – is a really good thing to do if overwhelmed by what you feel you should read. Books are quiet but the internet makes them noisy.
    All that’s so much easier to say and do when you don’t run a very popular book blog, though!
    Not feeling like reading and not being able to get into most books, on the other hand, would sound like a good reason to do other stuff for a while.

  7. Victoria

    Congratulations on your anniversary!
    At the weekend I was looking at the shelves of unread books, and panicked and resolved not to buy any more books, and to stay in and catch up on them. Then I read some reviews of some new books and thought those books sound interesting. I’d like to read them. Still Easter is this weekend, so I can get some proper reading done.

  8. I think this all the time, so frustrating to think that if I did nothing but read, I still wouldn’t get through all the books I want to read before I died…
    I try and appreciate this though, a much nicer problem than having nothing to read.
    Happy anniversary! x

  9. Congrats on your anniversary…and yes, I certainly share in that sense of panic – way too many books and so many one really wants to read!

    I don’t think there’s a solution (with self-publishing made so easy, the number of books will simply keep growing non-stop. I read somewhere that sometime in the future there will be one writer for every two readers…Oh well, we can always read each other’s books!

  10. 10,000 books are published in English every year.

    (Of course, this includes everything from academic books to picture books, study guides, recipe books, novels etc. Still. 10,000!!)

  11. David

    Firstly, happy anniversary. Secondly, I know how you feel, drowning in books you want to read, not to mention those you feel you ought to read. Personally I avoid even looking at books in translation, because I know once I start on those there’ll just be another mountain building in another corner of the room (believe me: I used to avoid short stories, but since becoming a born again short story lover I have amassed well over a hundred to-be-read collections). Lately I have just been trying to let go of the anxiety – so, Kamila Shamsie and Rachel Seiffert and David Park (etc etc) have new books out, and I’ve read each of those authors before and liked them, but did I love them? Well, no, I wouldn’t go that far. So do I HAVE to buy the new books out of some sense of completism, or because they might be on a prize list later in the year? No, of course I don’t, and to be honest I’m less interested in prizes than I’ve ever been. Still, I was in Waterstone’s on Saturday and had to really resist the itch to buy all the aforementioned (I had a book token to spend) but a zen-like calm descended on me and I thought “bugger it” and bought Richard Llewellyn’s “How Green is My Valley” instead because I’ve wanted to read it for ages, and I’m reading it now and it’s wonderful, and if I’d bought Shamsie, Seiffert et al because they are new and shiny I’d still not have got around to this Welsh classic and I reckon I’d be the poorer for it. And yes, I have forgotten the point of where I was going with this when I started typing but — zen-like calm — I don’t care 😉

  12. I call this the too-many-books-so-little-time anxiety and I just try not to think of it because otherwise I start hyperventilating 😀 !

  13. “Is it just me or do any of you ever get the feeling that there are just too many books out there and that you might not be able to read all the ones you want…”

    Only all the damn time. It’s gotten worse since I started using NetGalley and Edelweiss. And I work at a library.

  14. Short answer is yes, yes, yes. I blame the authors and publishers for this. Why can’t they just take a long sabbatical so we poor readers can catch up.

  15. Yep. There are so many books I want to read RIGHT NOW. Like, all at once. They need to come up with some sort of brain chip that allows us to do this.

  16. I think we all get this from time to time. It’s like a kind of reading slump – still a reading paralysis but brought on by over excitement rather than lack of interest. I find it helps if, rather than thinking about all the new books that are coming out and all the potential others, you just focus on what you already have. The TBR may be huge, but at least it’s manageable. I turn inwards and spend half an hour going over the parts of my book collection that are hidden in boxes or double stacked. It’s amazing how I always find something I’d forgotten and that grabs me. I can bypass all the new and tantalising and don’t haves to get down to that book instead. Narrow your horizons a bit and they open up again.

    Btw, I can’t believe it’s your two year anniversary! Seems like yesterday you were introducing him on the blog. Congrats.

  17. Blame it on the blood moon. Go celebrate that anniversary and know that time will return. I am struggling with one book a week at the moment, but know it’s a stage or a lunar cycle or something, but I’m sure it won’t go on forever. Congrats anyway. 🙂

  18. I’m quite short, and getting older… My TBR pile is taller than me and may well outlast me. But hey, it’s better than running out of books. I mean, imagine if you’d read them all?

  19. kimbofo

    There are definitely too many books and not enough time to read them. Ive struggled this year to read my usual two-books-a-week quota and my plans to review what I’ve read within a week of reaching the final page has fallen completely by the way side (I’m EIGHT reviews behind—help!).

    I think the only solution to being distracted by new shiny books is to go and live in a cave where you can’t get internet access/phone signal, the postal service can’t find you, and you have no means of seeing what’s new in the shops. Take a big pile of books you’ve wanted to read for ages (new, old and everything in between) and just get on with the business of reading. It would certainly be a good way of avoiding distractions anyway.

    Oh, and congrats on the anniversary x

  20. Rhian

    Congratulations on your anniversary.
    Yep – definitely too many books and not enough time – being considerably older than you I find it even more of a problem. I doubt I will even get through my TBR unless the universe suddenly starts listening to me, and I can stop working.
    And then there’s my stitching – it may be true that she who dies with the most stash wins, but I think I have taken it to extremes.
    Not that it stops me buying either new books (if I buy them in a charity shop it doesn’t count, does it?) or new stitching stash. I live in hope – and I would rather have more books than I could ever hope to read, than not enough.

  21. I am sooo familiar with that feeling. On probably a weekly basis, I panic about all the books I want to read or will want to read but won’t ever have time to read. I resolve to spend every spare moment reading so that I can get through a few more books in my lifetime… and then when I have some free time I go on Twitter. Ha!

  22. All. The. Time. I recently went through a bout of unsubscribing from all the book related emails I receive. (I’m sure by next year this time I’ll be re-subscribed to all of them…and more.) I hear about enough new books from visiting the library, bookstores, and reading book blogs that I don’t really need all the direct emails. On the other hand, unsubscribing from these makes me fear I’m going to miss out on finding out about that lightly publicized book that would be the perfect read for me. Sigh. It’s a never ending dance. When I get into the funk of being overwhelmed, time away from books tends to help me (long walks, canoeing, etc), and then a re-read of an old favorite or picking up a classic I’ve been meaning to read forever helps. Happy anniversary to you and the beard!

  23. There ARE too many books! Too many to read in one lifetime, anyway. I’m trying to resign myself to it, knowing that I won’t have time to read everything that catches my eye. I’m trying to choose a bit more carefully these days — at my age, I probably have fewer years ahead of me than behind me. While I still want to find new-to-me authors, I also want to finish series I’m in the middle of! The hardest thing is recognizing that I can’t read all the books, and letting go of some of them. My combined TBR lists are over 1000 books right now, and that’s overwhelming — I need to prune them down to something more manageable, especially since I know I’ll keep adding books faster than I read them.

  24. Pingback: Book Guilt; I’m So Behind With Books (And Blogging) | Savidge Reads

  25. Too many books, not enough time. First, breathe. Second, breathe again. Third, just get on with it and continue reading whatever piques your interest (or you can draw the title out of a hat) 🙂

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