Friday, July 26, 2013

Is it possible to be a biblioholic??? (Or, Bibliophilia on a Budget)

I just checked, and I currently have 165 books in my wish list on Amazon, and that doesn't even count all of the books that I have in my wish list for Audible (41 in my wish list, plus 37 that I have bought and either never finished or never started), the physical books that I own or have borrowed with the intent to read them (25 by my current count), or the books that I will be reading this coming year for book-club... Unfortunately, I think that I end up adding 2-3 books to my list of books to read for every book that I end up buying and/or reading from my wish list.  That doesn't even include the number of books in my Amazon account that I have already bought (and likely have never read), or the number of ebooks that I have through Barnes and Noble. To be fair, most of the books I have with B&N are books that I have actually read, so I will discount them for the current discussion....

Thankfully, most of my unread books are electronic, or my bedroom would probably look something like this!

I'm afraid that I need to find a support group.  "Hi, My name is Ruth and I am addicted to free books..."  ("Hi, Ruth!") It all started when I found Bookbub...and then, I subscribed to their list.  When you subscribe, you basically say what kind of genres you like, and then you get a list of about 5-7 books that are all under about $3-4.  On my list, I always have a few of them that are free, and if the description is even semi-interesting, I just go ahead and download it.  Then, I found out that I could like them on Facebook, and get the book bargains in my news the process, I started getting a post daily about a book that was free.  This book is usually in my email, so in and of itself, it isn't that interesting.  However, one day, I decided to click on the link, and in the process, I found out that there are more free books than I get in my daily e-mail.  I started clicking the link daily, and then, much to my own amazement, I now have 415 books that I have downloaded, and I have maybe read 20-30 of them, all because of BookBub.

I read. A Lot.  In fact, I probably read 1-2 books a week with gusts up to 4 or 5 books per week, but when I am downloading 5-7 books A DAY, then there is clearly something wrong with this picture (I also probably listen to 1-2 audio books a month).  If I were to quit BookBub cold turkey, refrain from adding any other books to my wish lists, and keep up with a listening/reading quota of 2 books a week plus one audio book per month for the duration, it would take me about 5.5 years to read through the backlog, and 6.5 years to get through the backlog for audio books.  I clearly have a problem, and finding someone who will pay me to read books all day every day is unlikely (however, if you know of a job like that, I would love to hear about it!!!).

I must admit that I have been justifying my BookBub habit...I keep telling myself that I will be able to catch up while I am on my Camino--I will have my iPad Mini with me, so I might as well put it to good use in the evenings by reading, right? I just tallied it up, people, and I have a total of about 575 unread books either in my possession or on my wish list, 385 of which I own in ebook format.  I will be on the Camino for 21 days, so I would have to read 18.3 books a day just to get through all of my ebooks....*shakes her head and laughs*  Even if I were a speed reader, and I'm not, this is not possible! 

Actually, I really just need to weed out the "that sounded interesting at the time" books, the "it doesn't sound boring and it is free" books, and the "I really should read that because so-and-so told me it was good" books from the "I really need to read this for my job" books, the "This is our book-club book for the month," and the "I have been waiting for the last six months for the author to publish again" books.   I also need to be more willing to quit reading a book if it isn't interesting or well written--even though the author isn't sitting there looking over my shoulder,  I often feel like I am insulting them if I don't finish their books.  I can actually count on one hand the number of books that I have purposely never finished and still have fingers left over:  Portrait of the Artist as a Young man; Heart of Darkness; and Pet Cemetery.  The first two were assigned to me in High School, and I just couldn't get to the place where they were interesting...when we quit studying them, I quit reading, even though I wasn't done.  That last book scared me so much that I had nightmares after reading the first chapter! I decided that I didn't need to finish the book, and have actually never read another Steven King novel because of my experiences with that one book.  I have a few other books that I have started with the intention of finishing, but haven't gotten around to completing yet....However, they are non-fiction books, so they are not always meant to be read in one sitting: I don't count them in the above list because of their very nature as non-fiction books.

So, I have made the first step--I have an unread book problem.  How does one learn moderation in acquiring books?  And, how do you determine what you should read?    I would be interested to hear your process for choosing books, both fiction and non-fiction.  And, if I get lost among the pixels, someone may have to complete an intervention on me.  "I'm Ruth, and I am addicted to free books."

This is day 5 of 7.  Go check out all of the other people that picked up the gauntlet that Jennifer Fulweiler threw down!