Monday 15 August 2016

When Your To-Read List Goes Rogue

The Never Ending To Read List

I have a bit of a problem and it is one that I've had in one form or another for many years. Back in the era of bookshops and actual paper books, I used to run wild in the local Exclusive Books on a Saturday afternoon and stumble out with armloads of books which would then sit prettily on my bookshelf and totally impress visitors. Or at least, I hope they impressed visitors because they weren't doing anything else. Many of those books that I so lovingly selected and revered are still sitting there, years later, unread.

Things improved somewhat around the time I moved to the UK in 2007. Starry-eyed and fresh from having completed the Harry Potter series, I no longer had money to buy books (emigrating is a very expensive undertaking) and I began diligently borrowing new series from the library and discovered Philip Pullman, Garth Nix, Anthony Horowitz, Stephenie Meyer, Richelle Mead, Charlaine Harris and Cassandra Clare. Fabulous authors with fantastic series and I ploughed through all of them.

And then I began reviewing books on this blog and was contacted by PR companies and suddenly I was discovering the very best in paranormal YA authors: Gena Showalter, Maria V. Snyder, Julie Kagawa, Rachel Vincent. It was a glorious time and I was reading scores of books and finally managed to read 50 books in a year for the first time.

I'm not too sure where it all went downhill. Over a year ago, I decided that I'd rather read for fun than what I was being sent to review. The reason for this was that I was starting to see a startling similarity in the Young Adult market - whether dystopian or paranormal, we were seeing the same stories, same characters and same clich├ęs to the extent that Twitter accounts have been created about them!

Looking for inspiration on my own meant that I began to lean heavily on Goodreads to find and discover books and that process has been very good but also very ugly. On the extremely good side, I've discovered the Mock Printz and Beyond Words: A Bloggers' Book Club book groups who aim to only read Very Good Books Indeed (my emphasis). This means that I've been treated to many excellent books this year, so much so that I was considering changing my star ratings to accurately reflect the superiority of these absolute works of written art.

And then there is the bad side. The to-read list. And boy, does Goodreads make it easy to add books to read. I call my immediate to-read list On My Bedside Table and this list only includes books that I have bought and downloaded to my Kindle or physically have in my possession. And because I am a literary magpie who likes to grab shiny little books and whisk them away to my nest, I went a bit crazy with the On My Bedside Table list and had to force myself (force myself, I tell you) to restrict the reading list to 50 books. Who in their right mind has 50 books piled around them all waiting to be read? Oh, that's right. A magpie. Me.

Storm Glass
Grim Tuesday
A Confusion of Princes
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Taste of Darkness
Demon Thief
Dead Reckoning
When the Sea Is Rising Red
Zoo City
Sipping from the Nile
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Shadow Bound
The Knife of Never Letting Go
A Tale for the Time Being
The Lowland
The Kite Runner

But let's get back to that magical number: 50. Why did I restrict my On My Bedside Table list to 50 books? well, that was approximately what I was reading in a year so it seemed reasonable. That is until March happened. (Cue dramatic music). In March, I moved house (into a lovely new house which has an entire room dedicated to my music, CD, DVD, LP and book collection but that is beside the point). I only moved a mile up the road but I also changed job and start work half an hour later. The result? I now wake up approximately 3 hours later than when I used to work in London and that means I have 3 more hours a day to read, right? Wrong. I don't know what happened. Not only do I have a to-read list that is simmering and bubbling over like a pot of porridge but I've also practically stopped reading altogether and it's not good. Not good at all.

So this is me admitting that my to-read list has gone rogue and I don't know what to do about it. In my next post, I'll tell you all about something even more shameful - the books that I'm actually reading right now and haven't finished. I hope that I can shame myself enough into actually getting back to reading again but I'm not holding my breath.

Does any of this sound familiar? Are you a book hoarder, literary magpie, serial book starter? Confess all below.

© 2005 - Mandy Southgate | Addicted to Media

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