Archive for June 5, 2019


The Leaning Tower of Books

I’ve been working on an ongoing project to get my house in order, and a big part of that is dealing with my books. I have a lot of books. So many books. I purged my bookcases of the books I know I’m not going to want to read again, so there’s a little space there. The real problem is the rather epic To Be Read pile.

Most of these are books I get at conferences. When I first started going to writing conferences, I was so excited to get a bag stuffed with books at registration. Then there were the booksignings where the publishers gave away books. There were books set out on the seats at the banquets and luncheons. Free books!

Except I found I was less likely to read the free books. They weren’t necessarily books I’d have chosen for myself. I did occasionally find a new author and would go on to read the rest of their books (the whole point of them giving away the freebies), but otherwise those books sat there. It didn’t help that most of these were from romance conferences, and I finally admitted to myself that while I like a good love story, I don’t really like romance novels all that much. However, I don’t seem to do much better in other genres. I got an advance copy of A Game of Thrones at, oddly enough, one of the romance conferences and didn’t finish reading it until after the series was on TV. I have books from the Nebulas and the World Fantasy Convention from more than a decade ago that I haven’t gotten around to.

I’ve been purging the TBR stack, getting rid of everything I know I’m not likely to read. I’m trying to focus my reading on these books for the time being, just to get more of them out of the house. If I don’t get into a book, I’m letting myself get rid of it. One thing I’ve done to help matters is devote the small bookcase in my bedroom to the TBR pile. That means the books are right there and visible in the place where I’m likely to be reading, so I’m more likely to choose a book from there.

I did another purge yesterday and have the stash down to the small bookcase plus a few small boxes. As I remove a book from the bookcase, I’ll move one from the boxes.

I did find that there are a few books I bought in all that stash. I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten around to reading them. Some are books written by friends I bought to support them but that I might not have bought otherwise. Some are remainders, so they were cheap books that tempted me. A few seem to be things I bought when I had a bonus coupon at a bookstore or when I needed to buy something else to get free shipping on an order.

If I actually read all these books (rather than getting a few chapters in and deciding they’re not for me), at my current rate of reading I have enough books to last me at least three years — and that’s without getting new books or going to the library. And it doesn’t count the e-books I have on my tablet.

I’m being a lot more selective about the books I take home from conferences now, so the stack shouldn’t get much worse.