"What on earth is the matter with me?" That's a question you've been known to read from time-to-time on this blog. Those of you who know me in real life, have heard me ask it, what, oh about a billion and six times, right? Well, I'm asking it yet again. You see, I've been up visiting the office this week, and one thing I love about the office is that there's a great little independent bookstore here (quite different from the independent bookstores in and around my new home town, but that's a topic for another post). I almost always make it a point to stop in when I'm in town, so I wandered over there the other day at lunchtime, and (gee, what a surprise, huh?), I ended up buying two books. I can already read many of your thought bubbles: "Well, what's wrong with that? That seems like a perfectly sane thing to do."
Well, here's what's wrong with it. First of all, I've already bought four new books since the beginning of the year, only one of which has been read yet. A friend just lent me a fabulous collection of stories (I have to plug it here for those of you who like such things. It's called Tales of Horror and the Supernatural by Arthur Machen, probably out of print. I haven't checked). My mother just sent me a bunch of Georgette Heyers. And, you know, I've got a few challenges for which I'm reading books. You see, add the four library books I also have, and I probably have enough to read just from what I've listed here to get me through to summer. Even if I didn't have all these new and borrowed books, the bookshelves Bob and I had custom-built finally arrived last week, and we've now unpacked all our books (or almost all of them). While unpacking them, I decided we have tons and tons of fabulous books I really want to read and that I really don't need to buy anymore. Then, I commented recently over at Stef's that I'm resolved to buy only one new book for every three I already own and actually read. I have not read three books of my own since making this decision. My two new purchases put me in deficit mode. I now have to read nine books before I can buy another one.
You know, my low tolerance for it means alcoholism and liver damage will never be a problem for me. Drug addiction? Nope. Working myself into an early grave? Not me. Death by bought-and-unread books tumbling from the shelf? Now that's a real possibility. Seriously.
Here's the other problem with my purchases (or I should say one of my purchases). Not only have you heard me often ask what's wrong with me, but you've probably heard me, even more often, bemoan the length of my TBR list (which I'm now beginning to refer to as my TBR tome). So which book did I choose to buy from my TBR list? Why Anne Fadiman's Rereadings. Terrific choice, right? I need nothing more than I need a collection of essays about books I haven't read written by many authors whose books I haven't read. One could say, "Well, you know, it's a great way to find out about books." Yes, it is, but it isn't as though I don't read blogs, or that Slightly Foxed is some rag to which I subscribe that never mentions a single book worth reading, or that I'm someone who can browse the shelves at a public library (even a tiny little public library with a very small collection) and walk out the doors empty-handed. Have all my friends and family members suddenly taken a vow never to recommend a single book to me again? Nope (although maybe they should). In other words, I'm not living in a book-recommendation desert, gasping for at least one new title (although some might think I am, the way I often seem desperately to accept anything anyone throws my way).
Oh well, let's look on the bright side. I will probably whiz through Rereadings in no time. I've already read one of the four books I bought this year (Blankets, on which I will be posting soon, for those of you who are curious about my first foray into graphic novels). The other book I bought this week is a YA novel I've been meaning to read A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. YA novels tend to be very quick reads. Thus, I will be down to a mere six book deficit in no time, right? And, of course, I never said that picture books don't count. It's been quite some time since I read Curious George or Ferdinand the Bull. Until then, though, maybe I'd better stay out of bookstores.