Thursday, February 22, 2007

So Many Books! Part I

I've been trying to curb my buying habits since the beginning of the new year, since I have a long list of unread (67) and unfinished (42!) books.

Thanks to LibraryThing, I was able to figure out just exactly how many books in my collection fit into these two categories (a whopping 109 volumes). You can check it out by clicking on the link above to view my library. You can click on the tags "unread" and "unfinished" to see the names.

What really surprised me was the number of unfinished books on my list. I have no idea how I managed to pick up and put down 42 books in the past two years.

It is only a small source of comfort that out of those 42 volumes, 19 are of the short story/anthology variety. Still, the number highlights the fact that I can be a capricious reader. What I read, when I read, how much I read, and how I feel about what I am reading may all depend on my mood.

I always have at least 2 or 3 books going at the same time. This is something that I do rather instinctively; probably a habit learned in youth, when I always checked out more than I could possibly read, and thus, had to double up just to avoid paying mind-blowing library fines.

(When I was 11 or 12, I once had 75 children's books checked out at the same time. Not an exaggeration since my mom rather made it a point to show me the rucksack that she had to use to take the books back.

I'm not sure how the library allowed me to get away with having 75 books out, but it was a small town and I believe this was before they started putting my picture up at the library to discourage me from trying to check out the entire children, mystery, and sci-fi sections of the library.

I had to eventually wander up to the adult Non-Fiction section, where I developed an early delight for logic puzzles due to a couple of rocking good books written by the mathematician Raymond Smullyan.)

I usually chose books to read simultaneously based on how I group them mentally. Groupings include: popular literary novels with black and white covers, books I associate with the word squid, books written by authors who look like they might be able to give Vin Diesel a run for his money in a fist fight.

It's all very arbitrary.

I tend to go through reading material rapidly for weeks before slowing down to a snail's pace, and then nothing at all. Usually during this latter period, I'll watch mind-numbing amounts of TV to kill off the brain cells that might have been created by any previous reading.

Then, when I begin to mentally compose elaborate death threats to everyone involved in TV (usually within the week) I turn off the TV, and begin the reading cycle once again.

Another pattern that seems to hold is the ordering of books at the height of my reading frenzy. Sadly, my new year's resolution to staunch the flow of new books has been all but flung out the window. In Part II of my post, I'll tell you what books I've purchased recently.


Isabella said...

I am unable to read more than one book at a time — I've tried, but it makes me crazy. I'm good at logic puzzles, though — I loved Raymond Smullyan!

CChen said...

I wish I could stick to one book, it would make my reading a lot more organized.

Raymond Smullyan is wonderful! I wish it were easier to find his works.

Thanks for visiting, I love your blog =).

Stephanie said...

75 books?!! they had to put your picture up?? Haha, you crack me up ^_^
I love the endless stacks of books picture. looks like bliss =)

CChen said...

Yeah I'm not even kidding you (the 75 books part)

I exagerate about the pictures. They never put my picture up, but I was apparently on their blacklist for a couple of months cause I had returned 25 paperbacks, but the librarian messed up and didn't check the books back in before they were placed on the shelves, so I had to actually go to the library after months of telling them I didn't have the books, and locate the books and actually show them that they weren't in my possesion. It got pretty ugly...

I love the picture^_^