I Can’t Keep Up With It All Anymore

A modest representation of my gargantor book pile

The writing, the reading, the TV, the movies, the reading some more, the games. It’s becoming too much. I have too much, absolutely too much to keep up with. Sound familiar? You may be in the same boat as me. Too many forms of entertainment to ever fully catch up. It sounds like a good complaint to have and I suppose it is. I just want a more structured way of dealing with my book pile.

With the embracing of self-publishing as a viable alternative, I thought, “Wow, now I can read books I wouldn’t have gotten to read otherwise.” However, this is both a blessing and a curse (a curse because I can’t stop buying books). I’m a slow reader to begin with, but now I’m not only reading books I’ve been wanting to read, but I’m reading books I had no idea I ever was interested in. My paper books are in the hundreds and my Kindle books are the same. If I had to estimate, I’d say I have at least 300 books on stand-by ready to read. This isn’t counting the hundreds of books I scattered in the attic back home. And now I’m adding audio books on top of it. I wish I was a voracious reader, but I’m not. I love reading, but it just takes me forever. The longer a book takes me, the less chance I have of finishing it. I have been able to read some shorter works recently that were a breeze to read such as +Constance Burris ‘s short story Chaos. Recently Gone Girl was one of those quick and easy reads. In the fantasy realm, +Daniel Swensen ‘s book Orison is having the same effect. I want to read, read, read, but I just wonder how realistic that is in this day in age. There are literally millions of books out there now. Millions.

Let’s not even get started with TV. I have Netflix now so that’s a huge time sink as well. One thing about Netflix though is I don’t feel guilty if I quit a series a couple of episodes in. Why is it I feel that way with books? Is it because I’m a writer myself? I have so many books I’ve gotten that I want to read, but I just get swamped more and more with books. I feel like books are crushing me. I’m buried underneath books, real and imagined. Again, not entirely a bad thing.

My solution was to do a reading group. This meant only reading the book that was chosen for that month. My problem became that I didn’t love some of the books we were reading, so it sunk my interest. So I started organizing my books on my Kindle to work through them. That didn’t really help either. I have one collection titled “January 2015” with ten books in it. That’s laughable. I don’t even remember the first time I read ten books in a month. How about never?

I need help. Seriously. It’s becoming too much. I want to work through my collection, slowly but surely. But I can’t do it on my own anymore. I need a “Book Coach” or something. It seems silly to say something like that, but for someone who wants to read more and more, it’s sad that I can’t ever seem to just let books go. It was painful for me a couple of minutes ago to look at my Kindle and delete some books I don’t think I’m ever going to get to. I want to finish them, even if I know I’ll never get around to it. It’s like having that half-eaten piece of cake staring at you from the fridge.

In order to receive some help, I’ll tell you the two books on the front of my list:

Orison by Daniel Swensen
Devices and Desires by K.J. Parker

Let’s look at my Kindle as well. Here is  a list of Collections and their contents:

January 2015

1. Devices and Desires by K.J. Parker
2. Orison by Daniel Swensen
3. Accidental Sorcerers by +Larry Kollar
4. The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
5. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (a book I’ve been reading forever)
6. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
7. Thanmir War by +Loni Townsend
8. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

To Be Read Pile Books

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes
The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Songs of the Dying Earth (anthology)
Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington
The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree by +S. A. Hunt, Novelist
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Lorelai and the Lost and Found Monster by R. Scott Kimsey
Blood and Steel by Steven Shrewsbury

Samples I Want to Read

 A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
 The Weird (anthology)
 King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
 Seven Forges by James A. Moore
 Blood of Ambrose by James Enge
 City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
 Another Fine Myth by Robert Aspirin
The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski
Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards
The Warrior Prophet by R. Scott Bakker

Samples I Read and I Want to Finish the Book at Some Point

The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
WebMage by Kelly McCullough
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Low Town by Daniel Polansky
Railsea by China Mieville
The Book of Kane by Karl Edward Wagner
Mazirian the Magician by Jack Vance
Horns by Joe Hill
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

That’s 40 altogether right there, the tip of the iceberg.

On top of these, I just got some gift cards, so I’m planning to buy some at least five more books (my addiction). It’s not that I don’t want to read these books above, quite the contrary. It’s just that I always seem to get sidetracked or jump around too much. I think I can steadily get through this pile if I have a plan. Any ideas?

I did get one great idea from someone about adjusting the font on my Kindle so it’s bigger and therefore makes the text block smaller. For some reason that has helped me read a ton faster. I’m not saying I want to rush through these books, I just want to organize my reading habits so that I’m not bouncing around so much.

Thoughts? Help?

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2 comments

  1. I vote for Salyards. The first book takes a bit to get going, and you won’t have much of an idea about the war to come, but the dialogue and action are top notch and the overall storyline rewards your efforts, so much so that he is my top recommendation for new fantasy authors. He is my lead swimmer in my fantasy pool, alluding to your post on supporting indies, even though he isn’t indie. The guys published by houses are just as worthy of our support.

    As to your problem. I share your angst. My solution is keep reading fun. I make a general plan to review my favorites in time for their release, but sometimes I get delayed. No worries. I give up on a lot of books. No time to not enjoy reading. I write, too, so my reading time is limited. Audiobooks have helped a lot, too. I listen during my commutes.

    1. I agree that all writers need support, so really my Indie Pool idea is more to help people just starting out. I’m always open to reading anything regardless of who published it. I do need more time in the day, but alas, I can’t magic it up. Once I figure it out, I’ll bottle it up and sell it. But yeah, Salyards seems cool and what I read of it I liked a lot. So I’ll take your recommendation to heart. Thanks!

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