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  • Writer's pictureEmily

The Reading Life: Trying and Failing to Keep Up

Reading is my favorite thing. It's fun, it's solace, it's instruction, it's inspiration. But I'm about to write the third post in a series that's mostly complaining about it. This is the last one, at least for awhile, and maybe if I write another "reading life" post, it won't be such a downer. So far I've had books I've ditched and out-of-control library holds. Now, my inability to keep up with everything that I want to read.

I'm a little over a third of the way through a library book that is overdue. I'm behind on my reading challenge for the year by one book. I haven't started my October book either, but it's a scary book, and I'm adding it to my scary season reads. I'll probably get through those. I'm going to make myself finish my overdue book first.

(I'm also behind on housework and a sewing project. This is my favorite time of the year- I love fall so much- but every year, I sit by a screen door to enjoy the cool air and get headaches and a stuffy nose. So, everything is behind.)

I decided not long ago that I could begin to manage my TBR and holds situation by not having so many books checked out at once. As soon as I have a big stack of books checked out, I see other books that I want (always) and then the books I already have begin to feel like an assignment. (I know how lame this sounds). This resolution lasted about a week. Maybe two, actually. It was nice. Then I had two or three holds come and and saw some scary books that would be just right for October and a few other books while I was in the stacks at work and I'm right back to normal.

Besides not being able to keep myself to a manageable stack of books, I can't keep up with all the new books coming out all the time that look good. And I keep learning about titles that I missed when they came out because I see them on Tumblr. (That's what put me on to The Secret History and If We Were Villains. Thanks, Tumblr!) Since I started working in public libraries about seven years ago, I've been more aware of the books that are going to come out.

And there's a whole world of classics. And books from other countries. And I'd like to read more poetry and short fiction. (The Levar Burton Reads podcast is helping with that last one.)

And re-reading! I love revisiting old favorites, as I've written about before. If I love a book, I want to revisit. I could keep busy reading for the rest of my life without reading anything new. Not that I'm going to do that, but I could.

In the Netflix show The Sandman (yeah, of course I read one of the books after watching it), a librarian explains to a visitor that the library in the dream realm has every book, even some that haven't been written yet, and I just thought... no one could ever read all that. Or what's actually published. I can't even read everything that sounds good to me. No one could ever keep up, and there are great new titles coming out all the time! And some that you can tell aren't going to be great but would be very entertaining, or just what I'm in the mood for. It's too much!

As much as I read, I'm aware that many people get through more titles than I do. I don't usually feel very competitive about that, and I've never had the urge to track pages read or minutes listened. That said, we're getting into the end of the year, when people begin posting their sum-ups of what they've read that year, and... how are there people reading so much more than I am! I'm a nerd and a half! I can't keep up with them either, but that's OK. I'm not very jealous and hope they really enjoyed all... those.... books.

I know that this- such an abundance of literature- isn't a real problem, so I don't feel bad about not proposing a solution. I'll just keep plowing through the titles. (I read alot this morning, and now I'm nearly 2/3 through the overdue book, so I think I can get through it tomorrow!)


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