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TSS: Book hoarding

July 18, 2010

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday! I hope it’s been a lovely weekend so far for all of you; around here it’s been alternating bursts of productivity and laying around reading in my pajama pants… which is how a weekend should be, I think.

I realized about midway through this week that I didn’t announce winners of my post-dissertation-defense giveaway, so here they are:

Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness won the non-fiction drawing and selected a copy of Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson.

Ann-Kat from Today I Read won the fiction drawing and selected a copy of The Darwin Conspiracy by John Darnton.

Congrats, ladies! Your books are in the mail.

I noticed recently that I am a book hoarder. By that, I don’t mean that I am a book acquirer, or even a book collector (although I certainly am both of those things too.) What I mean by hoarder is that recently, I’ve been tending to keep books that I know I’m going to love on my TBR pile, rather than actually read them.

Now, of course I think I’m going to enjoy every book on my TBR pile, or else it wouldn’t be there in the first place, but there are some books I know I’m going to love – books by my favorite authors, about my favorite topics, with high recommendations, etc. And although I know I’m going to love them, I find myself constantly putting off reading them.

For example, take the book I’m currently reading: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. This is the second book in the Gentleman Bastards series; I read the first, The Lies of Locke Lamora, late in March 2009. I absolutely loved it, gave it five stars, and a place of pride on my “Best of 2009” list. I bought a copy of Red Seas before I’d even finished with Locke Lamora… and then I let said copy linger unread on my TBR pile for almost 16 months. I decided it was finally time to pick it up a few days ago, and, sure enough, I’m loving it every bit as much as I did the first one. Why did I wait so long?

Is it because I like knowing that my TBR pile is seeded with “ringers” amidst all of the unknown quality? Is it because reading too many great books in a row might throw me into a reading slump? Is it the same reasoning that makes kids eat their broccoli first and save their mashed potatoes for last? Or am I just being strange and dumb, and should read the likely-to-be-best stuff first?

What say you, readers? Do you ever hoard unread good books in your TBR pile? Why… or why not?

(As a last note, I originally typed that question as “do you ever horde good books,” which leads to the delightful mental image of a swarm of books wearing Viking helmets descending upon some hapless village of quiet and peace-loving magazines.)

25 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2010 10:22 am

    I do the same exact thing! And I also have no idea why! So I’ll be interested in the answers you get! (Maybe we need some sort of self-help group!)

    • July 20, 2010 10:21 am

      rhapsody – We can call it: “Hey you! Read that book you want to read!”

  2. July 18, 2010 10:24 am

    I don’t think that leaving your favorite books on your TBR pile is bad. It’s something to look forward to.

    • July 20, 2010 10:21 am

      emeraldfire – That’s true, but life is short, and the TBR pile is large, and I don’t want to put off the excellent books indefinitely.

  3. July 18, 2010 10:48 am

    I don’t think that I’ve ever put off a book that I know I will love. In fact, I’m so ants in the pants that I hate waiting and if it is something that I’m anticipating I will set aside a current read to get to the preferred. (Especially if they are series).

    • July 20, 2010 10:20 am

      christina – Wow, I’m impressed that you can do that… I am very methodical about having to finish the book I’m reading before I start another.

  4. July 18, 2010 11:30 am

    I am guilty of doing the same thing. Fingersmith has been lingering in my TBR pile for months at the least, so last night I moved it to my bed side table with the hopes of starting it soon.

    • July 20, 2010 10:17 am

      Lola – I had a stack of “to be read next” on my nightstand for a while, but it just kept getting new reads added to the top, without ever getting to the ones at the bottom!

  5. July 18, 2010 2:13 pm

    I try to space out good reads by genre- no washing out fantasy with fantasy. For the most part, the books trickling in from the library tend to police themselves.

    • July 20, 2010 10:16 am

      Omni – I did that for a while; alternated TBR reads from my fantasy/YA bookshelf and my historical/literary fiction bookshelf.

  6. July 18, 2010 3:08 pm

    I don’t think it comes naturally to me by any means but lately I have been hoarding books that I know I will love. For me it is all about reading and savoring them when I don’t have a lot going on and knowing that I will be able to really enjoy them. If I had more in hurried time on my hands as of late I would be reading them as fast I was able!

    • July 20, 2010 10:16 am

      Nicole – That makes total sense, and is actually a very good reason to hoard.

  7. July 18, 2010 3:43 pm

    Oh, this is me. I have so very many wonderful books on my TBR pile that it’s actually insane. Matterhorn, The City and the City, The Maze Runner, The Book Thief, Beautiful Creatures, Soulless, The Penelopiad, I could go on and on and on.

    • July 20, 2010 10:15 am

      Trisha – I went through my TBR pile and made a similar list of the ones that I am looking forward to most, and am going to try to get them all read by the end of the year. No more delaying gratification for me!

  8. July 18, 2010 3:58 pm

    Lately I’ve ended up hoarding some books that I know I will love, but it’s not because I want to – it’s because I have other commitments.

    • July 20, 2010 10:14 am

      bermudaonion – Agreed, it’s worse when I have a lot of books I have to read for other reasons, but I can always slip a TBR book in between obligated books, too.

  9. July 18, 2010 7:37 pm

    Oh, this is me. I do the exact same thing with hoarding the books I’m most looking forward to. I have no idea why I do this either, but you’re definitely not alone.

  10. July 18, 2010 8:20 pm

    Thank you for holding the awesome contest. :D

    As far as being a book hoarder, in some cases I can be the same way…it’s like delaying the pleasure. But, lately I’ve been trying to snap myself out of it and just go for broke reading down the pile. It seems to be working.

    • July 20, 2010 10:12 am

      Ann-Kat – Being able to read down your pile is an impressive achievement! It’s always my goal, but only very rarely do I accomplish it.

  11. July 19, 2010 4:22 pm

    I do, but not necessarily on purpose. More because I have too many fantastic books and too many books with obligations attached.

    • July 20, 2010 10:13 am

      Jen – Too many fantastic books… what a problem to have! :)

  12. July 19, 2010 7:32 pm

    I do this on purpose with some authors, because I think I’ll enjoy their books more if I delay gratification; and sometimes I forget about books I have that I know I’ll love; and sometimes I am afraid to read books I think I’ll love in case I don’t love them and end up disappointed; and sometimes I don’t read books I think I’ll love because every time my eye falls on them I don’t think I’m in that sort of mood. So yes, I hoard books! And these are the reasons why.

    • July 20, 2010 10:11 am

      Jenny – Okay, I’ve done everything on that list at least once.

  13. July 21, 2010 1:08 pm

    I’m definitely a book hoarder! My TBR pile includes whole series!!
    The reason for that? No simple answer available. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for a book. Sometimes I promise to review other books. Sometimes there are other books I’m interested in more. But the main reason is: I buy too many good books and don’t have the time to read them!! My wife is complaining due to space problems. I always tell her I will read them all as soon as I retired :-)

    The good thing is that I’m not the only book hoarder!

    • July 23, 2010 9:36 am

      edi – I’ve definitely got whole series on the TBR pile too, although I’ve been trying to cut back on that by (attempting to) not buy sequels, or more than one book by an author, until I’ve read and liked the first one.

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