Monday, 12 August 2013

Too Many Books?

After downloading another couple of free offers for a limited time, I noticed that I have ninety books waiting to be read on my kindle - 90. No wonder I sometimes feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin. On my bookshelves, roughly 100 or more print books remind me daily that I've still to read them.

The strange thing is - at one time, I used to haunt the library, desperate to bring home the next four books I carefully chose with great anticipation. Adventures and mysteries waiting to be devoured whenever I had a spare moment, some that kept me awake at night reading long into the night, others that held far more temptation than any TV programme. As for book tokens - they were a great delight, promising hours of browsing and choosing with the added pleasure of owning those favourite books rather than borrowing them.

These days, it seems to take me far longer to get through all the books I want to read. Perhaps it's partly because I also write now and spend less time sitting down to enjoy someone else's carefully crafted words. As for the pile of magazines, writing or otherwise, they're going to topple over soon. Yet I still love reading a good book, still enjoy escaping to a fictional world with memorable characters, still enjoy the quick fix of a magazine article or story.

So I've come to the conclusion that there are just too many books now, and the popularity of e-readers and rise in self-publishing adds to the confusion of trying to choose what to read next. I love my kindle for reading in bed, and I think it's great that we have so many options now for publishing books - what writer would think otherwise?

And yet... sometimes I long for those days when I couldn't wait to get to the library for the next book by one of my favourite authors. Maybe the magic has disappeared in our digital age. Or perhaps I need to take more time to rediscover the joy of reading again rather than feeling guilty that I'm never going to get through all these books waiting on a rather soul-less digital device that needs to be switched on. 

Wonder what it would be like forgetting to recharge the kindle for a month or two and turning only to the tactile print books on my shelves. Would it make any difference? I'll let you know if I ever get that far - maybe once I get through half the kindle books before I add another lot!

Happy reading,


Vikki said...

I was just thinking the other day that I used to really enjoy going to the library. I think you need to stop downloading onto your kindle, read your paperbacks first, then allow yourself one whole reading day a week for a few weeks to catch up. Reading helps your craft, so really it's part of your writing!

Teresa Ashby said...

I've hidden a lot of my kindle books in folders in an attempt to organise my reading, but like you I feel overwhelmed.

Oh that wonderful feeling when you'd put your name down at the library for that special book and the little card would arrive in the post to say it was in :-) x

joanne fox said...

I've always loved libraries, and still do, but digital publishing has certainly changed things. I don't really enjoy reading on my kindle. Although I read short stories on it, I don't think I could read a full length book.

It also seems a shame that everything is instant nowadays. If you want a book or some music, you can have it right away. We no longer have that sense of anticipation as we wait for something we really want. And then there seems less pleasure in getting the object of our desire somehow. Oh, I'm growing old!

Anne Gallagher said...

I am so guilty of this as well. There's no time for reading because I write. And I miss my library. There's something about browsing for a "real" book among the stacks.

And Yes, I have so many books on my Kindle I stopped getting them. paid and or free

Wendy's Writing said...

Too many books can be overwhelming, can't they. Sadly, I couldn't tell you the last time I went in my local library and I don't even seem to go in bookshops now either. My mum reads a lot and I value her judgement so after she's read something good, she'll pass it on to me (usually 3 at a time) so the pile by my bed is never too many. Unlike you, I don't like reading on my kindle much - it still feels soulless.

Frances Garrood said...

Our house is overflowing with books, to a ridiculous degree. But what I want to know is how did you manage to accumulate 90 unread books on your kindle?? We're they impulse buys? Offers? I'm intrigued!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for all the great comments so far. Since I've got to know (as far as we can) some of you online/through blogs the last year or so, no one has surprised me!

Thanks, Vikki - absolutely, we need to read. I think it's the sheer volume of books that's overwhelming me. But I will think how to change that soon.

Thanks for that, Teresa - I've tried the folders too for some genres!

Joanne - thanks for your comment. I suspect it's partly my age that's got me thinking! I enjoy reading a full length on the kindle but it takes ages as I only read that way at night. Downstairs, I read print and magazines in small pockets of time.(general and writing)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Anne, I think that might be necessary (as daughter Vikki also suggests) until I catch up and lose some guilt.

Thanks, Wendy - as I said above, I do enjoy reading the kindle in bed as it's easier to hold with my often painful shoulder. But I still enjoy the print books swaps and recommendations from friends and daughter!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

For Frances (long!) and anyone else wondering about the numbers.

Yep - ours too, Frances. I only mentioned the round number of print books I could see right away! And that's not counting research books and study books.

Good question and I'm sure others must be wondering, or already do the same as I do. First of all, I got the original type of kindle not long after it came out years ago (birthday present) so I've had a few years to accumulate ebooks.

I'm with three publishers, on umpteen Yahoo forums, visit lots of blogs and interact on most social media. Plus I belong to two long-time writing groups where I know most of the members (even on the online group).

I mention this because even in a few months, there can be a huge number of ebooks on special offer, free for a limited period, written by some of these friends whom I want to support. Add to that the occasional online/blog give-away party (like Sally Quilford's the other day) and it's very easy to add far too many books to an already overloaded kindle.

For some authors, the importance of offering free ebooks is to boost their ranking on Amazon (good idea for some). But that means we continue to add these books to our kindles and perhaps never get round to reading them and leaving a review.

Think I should have made this another blog post! So it all comes down to what's best for each individual - and it doesn't do any harm to question this now and then and to make changes if necessary.

myraduffy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
myraduffy said...

I try to keep up with the Kindle books by speed reading - I find it's ideal for that!And I believe 'buying' books- e or non-e -doesn't mean you have to feel guilty about not reading them all.
We're in the middle of a reading/writing revolution and, as with any revolution,it can be tough going!

Mary Smith said...

I still love the library but limit myself to two books at a time so I can read other things in between. I love my Kindle but use it mainly when travelling by train, on holiday or at the hairdresser's (they have no decent mags to read) and read print books. Don't lose the joy of reading, Rosemary.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

The voice of reason, Myra! You're great at speed reading.

Definitely trying to avoid that, Mary - and I do enjoy many of the books I read on kindle!

Jean Bull said...

It's not so much my Kindle with all the books waiting to be read, but all those delicious-looking paperbacks I pick up in the supermarket. I love reading the latest new authors to see how they've written a best seller, and as for being seduced by all those fantastic covers ... I can't resist!

Jenny Harper said...

Oh Rosemary, you have hit the button! Drowning in social media, drowning in unread books... Like others, I used to love the local library as a child. I got two books a day in the holidays. I can usually tell quite quickly if I'm going to like an author's writing, so I tend to skim a chapter or two, then either carry on or abandon.

I did read The Aphrodite Touch though! I think the novella is a great length and I might have a go at this myself.

If I really like an author, I will read, re-read and go back, greedily, for another.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I know what you mean, Jean - I have lots of lovey paperbacks on my shelf waiting to be taken down!

It's the way of the world now, Jenny! Thanks for reading TAT - and yes, you should definitely write novellas as they're very good for kindle reads.