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I’ve loved reading all your comments on how you shelve your books, whether you have reading queues and what books you keep and why. You’ve given me lots to think about. I also loved Tansy’s post which it sparked – Book Karma and the To Be Read Shelf. She covers lots of things that I was wanting to get to, after my first confession. I like the idea of slowing down on book accumulation to give myself a chance to catch up. But alas, 1. I read really slowly – we’re talking 12 novels a year if I try hard these days and 2. I still want to believe I can keep up with the shiny zeitgeist. Do you see how 1. and 2. conflict? (It’s not that I don’t know.)

The other problem is that I really want to get to the whole Hugo list beforeĀ  I vote. That’s going to take me all the time between now and the deadline. It will also mean I will behind on 2012 reading for the 2013 ballot.

But that means I’m probably not going to actually get to my To Be Read shelf til well into the latter part of the year even if I miraculously picked up reading speed.

Which means I am pondering more the idea of getting read of the queue completely. I’m seriously considering just merging all my bookcases and shelving everything by genre/category and then you know … just whatever. If I really want to read a book, it’s not that hard to walk two rooms down to the bookcase and getting it out. And if out of sight means out of mind and I never read it, did I really want to?

This year I’m experimenting, well it’s gone beyond trials into action and changing in thought process, with freeing myself of self imposed guilt, negativity and general bad feelings. There’s enough crap *out there* to fend off without self sabotaging from in here. And so it turns out, the world doesn’t end if you cull stuff/people/ books/emails/clothes/blogs you don’t like or actually want. It’s ok, liberating even, to start to identify what I don’t like, outside of what I might think you’re *supposed* to like. It’s letting me carve out a sense of myself and I’m really starting to like it. Firstly, it reduces down what I consume to things I’m excited about or interested in or make me happy. That makes a vast amount of difference to my mood. Remove the things that bore, disinterest, irritate. Pretty nice. Secondly, it’s giving me space to figure out who I am in a way that I’m not sure I’ve ever really done before. For example, I’ve discovered I have a completely different taste in clothing than I thought. More on that another day.

Relinquishing where I can self imposed anguish seems like a good thing to do. Which brings me back to my book guilt and my reading guilt. I have a reading block at the moment (I just can’t seem to focus on anything and am not finishing anything I start. I don’t really enjoy reading at the moment.) and it might not get fixed real soon. And even if it does, I am not going to be working my way through my To Be Read queue at any pace. I’m not joking about its expanse. So … what use does the burgeoning bookcase leering at me with books not read do me? On the other hand, I’m not sure I could just let go of the commitment to read these books. If I assimilate them in, there’s no going back. Well, worse, if I go back later to pull out all the unread books, more will be pulled out than got assimilated in. Which is also the problem – it’s completely random what is in the To Be Read bookcase and what is not.


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  • By Tansy Rayner Roberts on 19 April 2012 at 9:23 pm

    You’re never NOT going to want to read the whole Hugo list. Do you really want to read nothing but Hugo list books for the rest of your life?

    If I were you I would go through the shortlist, rank them in order you think you might be most interested, and aim to read the top 3 of those. Then if there’s time, try for another 1, and so on.

    Life is too short to read books cos you THINK you should like them.

  • By AlisaK on 19 April 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Which of course I do say in the other half of the post but completely fail to apply to the beginning!

    I’m not going to read the George RR Martin. I did though intend to get to some of the rest – at least 1 is in my To Be Read shelf already.

    And yeah, I still have the year before’s shortlist on my want to read list.

  • By Tansy Rayner Roberts on 19 April 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Better to read the one book you’re most interested in from every awards shortlist of the year than confining yourself to one!

  • By AlisaK on 20 April 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I was saying to C late last night – life is too short and it all goes so quickly, why would you want to spend any of it reading bad books? I just need to put this into practice and let go of the guilt of not reading ALL THE THINGS

  • By Mit on 21 April 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Put a post it on the ones that are TBR before you add them to your collection, then when you shelve them, put them upside down on the shelf. That way you’ll instantly know which ones are TBR and still be able to find them.

  • By AlisaK on 22 April 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I really like your idea! I know that I will know what I have read and what I haven’t if i merge them, I mean I already know what is in there and not read. But something physical that would mean I’m not not taking them out of my TBR might work mentally for me to be able to let it all go.

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