Too Many Books, Not Enough Time

on March 3, 2014 in Misc

clock books

You know what? There are only so many books I can read in my lifetime.

I’m not young. I’m on the downward slope of life. I always thought I’d read all the books I want when I get the time. But the fact is, I’ll never have that much time.

So I gotta cull my to-read list.  My stacks of books.  Shelves of books.  Those many, many e-books.

See, the thing is I have too many books.  This is because a) they were the last copy and on sale so of course I just had to buy them, b) they were only a buck or two at Goodwill, c) they’re Kindle books, which are too inexpensive and easy to buy, and c) they’re gifts from relatives and friends.  It doesn’t help that a lot of them are big honkin’ histories and biographies (my weakness) which I can’t exactly whip through over a weekend.

It also doesn’t help that I’ve met some wonderful writers on the Internet, like, say, YOU ALL!  And of course I just have to get your novels and short stories which are entertaining and exciting and even thoughtful, and I will, eventually, finish reading them all.  But please be patient with me.


I’ve found that what I’m losing interest in are a lot of “literary” novels I have lying around.  They tend to be all atmosphere and beautiful language, but the plot (if there is one) can be so thin that I just can’t hang in there.  Like Toni Morrison’s Jazz: Beautiful writing, but too stream-of-consciousness-no-story for me.  Seriously, some of you know more about storytelling and plot construction than you’d find in her much-praised books.

Okay, I confess that on Friday I bought Hillary Mantel’s brilliant Bring Down the Bodies (Booker Prize winner), because it was on sale and I really want to read it because I couldn’t put down her Wolf Hall.  But I won’t be reading it until I finish some of your books, which I also really want to read, and a couple of history books relevant to my Charity MacCay manuscripts, which I’m still polishing.

Then I swear I’m gonna stop buying books except for those of my blogging friends.  And I’m gonna stay out of bookstores.  And away from Amazon.  Really.  I swear it.

How about you? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the good books that are out there?

10 Responses to “Too Many Books, Not Enough Time”

  1. I already have a lifetime of reading on my iPad, most of which are blogger buddies’ books. It is overwhelming. I won’t waste time on books I’m not really enjoying though.

  2. Overwhelmed? Yeah. I don’t think many of us actually accomplish all the reading we set out to do on January 1st.

  3. I have many unread books on my shelves. I have more than 60 unread books on my Kindle. I’m very luck to read a book in a month these days. Mostly it’s more like a book every 3 months or so. It will take me forever to get through just the ones on my Kindle even if I never buy any more. Like that’s gonna happen LOL!

  4. Helena says:

    Alex – And iPads can pretty much carry a small library.

  5. Helena says:

    Michael – I’ve given up on New Year’s resolutions for reading.

  6. Helena says:

    Carol – I’m so glad you have 60 unread books. I’ve got competition!

  7. Hart Johnson says:

    Oh, you’re a better person than me. I can’t get rid of books unless I’ve already read them and found them mediocre. If they are still to be read or I may ever want to reread them or lend them… I have them. I will continue to have them… it’s just how I am about books. I ALSO though, have gotten less patient with the literary. Or maybe more honest about them. I’ve always loved a bendy plot and fast pace. I occasionally love just beautiful language, but it needs to be a PRETTY good plot still. Or at least an elegant one (The Alchemist comes to mind–simple, but beautiful)

  8. Helena says:

    Hart – I’m so glad to hear you’re a book keeper (lol). I’ve got so many books I wanna keep till I die. So The Alchemist is good? I got a copy at Goodwill and gave it to a co-worker. Now I wonder if I shoulda kept it. Sigh.

  9. It is overwhelming. I’ve gotten to the point where if a book doesn’t grab me in the first chapter or two, it’s back to the library. There are too many good ones out there; we shouldn’t waste our time on anything less than awesome.

  10. Helena says:

    Milo – I’m starting to do the same and cleared a five books from my shelves yesterday, with more to follow.