open the pages, read the words, savor the magic
Intro: What is the Sunday Survey?
I’ve explained all about Sunday Survey in my first ever Sunday Survey report. Click here to read the complete explanation. Basically it’s a book discussion I conduct on my Twitter account, @GeekInc18, that starts off with a basic book-related (or not so related) question such as “What’s your favorite book?” or “What do you think of book translations?” The result of our discussion goes up here to Bookerie.
SUNDAY SURVEY, 3 June 2012: Book Hoarding – How bad do you have it?
With a motto like that on my Twitter userpic, it’s not so hard to guess what I do to de-stress. I am not ashamed to admit that I love shopping and, mostly, I shop for books. It’s not even a hobby that I developed because I used to work in a bookstore and therefore had easy access to so many wonderful tomes; au contraire, I worked in a bookstore because I could use the company discount to get books. But what I am ashamed of is the way I buy so many books, keep them in a pretty pile at home… and not read them.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yours truly? Is a book hoarder.
This is not something I’m proud of. After all, what is the point of buying books when you don’t read them? Books are not meant to be placed on a neat stack (or a not so neat one) in a shelf. Books are not meant to be shown off on your coffee table. Books are meant to be read. Collecting books is a fine hobby – if I had money, I’d probably hunt for first editions and special editions as well – but the main purpose of a book is to be read. (If you’re one of those people who buy books just to display them on a shelf so you can impress people and make them think you’re smart, well, I’m sorry. But you’re missing out on a lot and I feel sorry for you.) So when someone – like me – simply buy the books and then NOT read them for the longest time, it really does beat the purpose of having books at all.
In my defense, I am a busy person. I have a job and I work a lot. I also have a social life and on weekends I hang out with friends. I live in a big city with insane traffic and therefore spend most of the time in a day sitting in a car. And I’m running this book blog, along with three other blogs, and several social media accounts, all of which are very, very time-consuming. It’s not like I have plenty of time to read.
But that sounds very much like an excuse, doesn’t it? I don’t know why this is – further investigation required – but I sometimes feel like I make justifications for buying books… but not read them. It’s a bad habit and it has to stop. (Otherwise, my wallet would not be able to withstand the torture and collapse in agonizing bankruptcy.)
Sometimes, when I’m in a bookstore, I do feel like “I know I won’t have time to read! But I just have to have this book.” I keep thinking, “I want to complete my collection. I will eventually read it – I just have to find the perfect moment. This is going to help me fall asleep faster.” So I always went ahead and purchased those books. I smile smugly, biting my lower lip in contentment, as I bring the purchases out of the store, thinking about a whole different scenarios of when and where I will be reading the books. But it always seems like I never get around to doing it. They end up on my shelf and table, sitting pretty without being touched for months. Using the myriad of excuses that I have in my arsenal, I keep saying, “Later. Later. Later.” It’s always later. And a few days afterwards… yes, you guessed it. I did the same thing all over again.
You could say that there are just too many good books out there that can’t be ignored and you just really want good stories. And of course there are those books that you simply must own for whatever reason. But, really, it would also be great if I could have time to actually read these good books, instead of just hoarding them.
The picture on the right may illustrate my point better. That’s my reading list as of 16 May 2012. There was a long weekend a few weeks ago, and these are the books I have been planning to read. Out of the eight books in this pile, I only managed to finish two: S.J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep and Rick Riordan’s The Serpent’s Shadow. (Although, to be honest, I’ve already given up on Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, which is one of the most ridiculous witch/vampire love stories I’ve ever read.) Not a very good number…
Since then I’ve added a few more titles in my reading list. I’ve acquired Michael Scott’s The Enchantress, Johan Harstad’s 172 Hours On The Moon, and Ally Kennen’s Bullet Boys and Berserk. This collection doesn’t even include the books that I had bought before (in January, February, March and April) that I haven’t read and the e-books I have in my iPad. Looking at my ever-growing reading list (or, more aptly, “hoarded books list”), I continually grow more worried. And guilty. And simply overwhelmed.
At best, I read halfway through them and get distracted by something so I abandon them. At worst, I’ve not even unwrapped the plastic off them. At absolute unforgivable worst, I haven’t even taken them out of the shopping bag. (Just kill me now.)
I could make a resolution: Finish 1 book per week. Do not buy books until you’ve read the ones you already have. Hide your credit card. RESIST THE TEMPTATION AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES. But it’s easier said than done. I fear that there’s no stopping this. As I’ve said before, buying books calms me. It’s what I do when I feel depressed – I hang out in bookstores, browse and buy. Then I go home, let my attention wander and not read.
I hate to say it. But I have a condition. It’s called Acute Bookhoarderitis.
Luckily for me (and perhaps unluckily for the books), a lot of my friends seem to be suffering from the same condition.
In order to determine whether my friends can be diagnosed from Bookhoarderitis, I grilled them with these questions: “Do you hoard books? How often do you buy books? How often do you READ the books you buy? Do you read them as soon as you buy them? What books are currently on your to read pile?”
Here’s what they have to say.
Could b twice a month,or once every 2-3 months.I could read for the whole day if the book’s good,or 6 months if I was distracted
yes, I ripped the plastic right away haha. If the book is a classic, I wait for a special mood to read, actually :p
Way, waaaaay better than my case. I buy books every week as opposed to her “twice a month, or “once every 2-3 months”. Definitely not a book hoarder… or even if you accuse her of wanting to wait for a special mood to read, at least it’s not a new title. And opening the plastic right away is a good sign of healthy book reading habit. She is cleared from Bookhoarderitis. I hope.
once in each month, will buy more if i got extra. Uh…i’m slow reader.. *look at the pile up of the recent books she bought*
also if i said once in a month, i can buy 4-5 books in one go ><
So, how many books left in her pile right now?
.i got 12 comic books, and 7 novels *bites lips* ;_;
And here is our first case of Bookhoarderitis. Acute one. Sorry!
I’m guilty of that, I currently have 3-4 unread novels (and one partially-read), and I haven’t touched them for a few months.
The partially-read one is a game adaptation (which I’m currently playing) and I’m gonna read the rest after I finish that one.
I don’t set deadlines, I read when I have the time, and I’m busy with university now, maybe I’ll go read again on the holidays.
Later on, Taruna explained that some of the books he has are collectible comic books, which he’s “never read before and I intend to keep it that way (mostly signed ones”. In his case, this is acceptable because collected comics should be in perfect mint condition to gain more monetary value. All in all, his case is not as bad as me. But, still, 3-4 unread novels? They still beg to be read. I sincerely hope holidays come soon for him.
Like..once a week,going bananas if there’s big discount. Some of my books are even still sealed. I wish I’m not that impulsive :o
I have this section in my book shelf for the still sealed-books and I feel guilty even just by taking a glance at them :(
I never EVER open one new book’s seal before I finished what I’m currently reading. can’t help myself, I’d leave the old one
Duh! What should we do? Can the so called ‘book diet’ (like what you did this week) be applied? Will yours last long? :p
Interesting methods to avoid from hoarding too many books… and interesting question at the end. I answered Brenda’s last question, saying, “Wouldn’t last a day. Book diet wouldn’t last unless my parents hide my credit and debit cards.” And even then, I might rob a bank and buy books from the stolen money. SIGH.
I’m a fast buyer but lately a slow reader so I promise myself I won’t buy until I finished one :D
Can you keep that promise, though? ” it’s a hard thing to do!” she admitted. (I feel validated. *laughs*)
whoahaha, this is a rhetorical question actually. Yes, I am a book hoarder, and I’m not really proud of that.
and that’s not just that. There are also piles of books I borrowed.. Haha. But I’ll always read them eventually.
the ratio between book buying vs book reading.. It could be 2:1, 3:1 sometimes. :$
A ration of 2:1 or 3:1 of book buying versus book reading is not so bad. In my case it’s 5:1 so I would really like to compliment her for TRYING.
Then Ndari said:
@GeekInc18 for bringing the book hoarder topic tonight. I’m now making a list of books to read this holiday. COMPLETELY OVEWHELMED.
I can’t even apologize (because my misery wants company) but, the good news is: her membership to my Overwhelmed Book Hoarders Club is completed and approved. Welcome.
I might be guilty of that. There’s one Dickens I haven’t finished reading since months and now I’m reading 2 other books at once!
here’s the catch: the unfinished Dickens is for my research paper assignment, and 1 of the 2 books I’m reading now is Dickens :p
Well, at least some books are being read and not totally abandoned. Also, here’s a good word of wisdom?
I guess it’s all down to my motivation in the end, XD
I wish motivation comes in real concrete medical injections! I need to be motivated to start reading the books I read.
I am a book hoarder. I’m quite a fast reader. Still, my reading can’t keep up with the amount of book I’m buying,…
…which is almost weekly. Good thing that I can read simultaneously. And unless the book is REALLY boring, I won’t just leave it
That saying, I still have quite some books I haven’t even opened yet. :D
Not to mention, the habit to reread some books when the mood strikes. Like I don’t have more to choose from, right. :D
Re-reading books. Yes, this is a problem that I also find when it comes to starting to read something. Although I constantly buy new titles, I find myself re-reading old books more often than jumping to start the new ones. So whereas I’m going absolutely nowhere with those books I just bought, the ones I bought from 3 or 4 years ago are probably tired of seeing my face again.
I wonder why this is. I think I should investigate if other people prefer re-reading something than trying out new books.
Additionally, D tweeted:
I’m even more worse hoarding e-books lately. I especially have love/hate relationship with series. I frowned on the number of…
…books per series I saw. Yet, I most likely ended up buying them all if I like the story. :p
But since I keep buying e-books and prints, I’m always behind on decreasing my yet-to-read book stacks.
Argh. E-books. Easier to hoard, lazier to read.
I’m not. At least not when it’s paper & ink. Funnily enough when it’s ebook, I have a lot sitting in my PC folder, queuing :)
If I bought paper & ink as often as I DL ebooks, it’ll probably be the same :P Thing is, you can’t curl up with a laptop :((
True. I DL way more than I buy print. See, I can’t always go to bookstores, could be once a month or 2, 3 months.
When I do go to bookstores it’s usually when I have the time to read so they’re balanced, unlike my electronic reading adventure.
I envy her management of reading print books. After reading what she wrote, I feel like I should be able to do better with my print books. I mean, it could be worse – I could be mainly an e-book fan and read solely e-books. My Bookhoarderitis would be worse then.
probably not, mostly I read at least some of my books (and it happens only for work related books, sadly) ^^;
since its a waste not to read the books you hv (IMO), while it’s also a bit hard to do (bcos some are ‘heavier’/gloomy books) :P
I feel… very very guilty now. Haha.
Luckily, she followed up with:
it’s okay tho, if I’m in you condition, I’ll be feel guilty n slightly happy that I always hv the book I want to read :)
That softens the blow… but I am sufficiently ‘whipped’ now. I must get to reading those books soon!
I’m the worst book hoarder when it’s around university exam time xD
that’s the worst moment.Other times,I spend too long looking for the ‘perfect moment’ to read because I like reading in one go :B
I think exams are more important so hoarding-and-not-reading may be forgiven. But only for such a time. Maybe.
And, ah, isn’t that the loveliest of excuses to not read a book? “Finding the perfect moment” is my favorite excuse of them all. Just because it sounds very poetic. (In truth, though, it’s what leads to serious procrastination. *laughs*)
usually I forgot on which page or part I stopped, since I left it too long, I read it from the beginning again.
She even comes with a proof! But it still looks more managable than mine. Although, I do agree that, with the case of half-read books (which I’m also guilty of), I often forget where I was at the last time, so I have to read again from the beginning. Of course, this doesn’t make me feel any better about hoarding books and not reading them.
not so much. I’m more a ‘TV Series-hoarder’ :D but book 4 & 5 of my A Song of Ice & Fire series are still wrapped in plastic
Glad to hear that there’s someone who prefers hoarding other things than books… and I do believe she has a very good reason for not opening the plastic wrap of A Storm of Swords and A Feast For Crows. As she said:
the fact that GRRM is busy with the GoT on HBO & still no idea when book 6 is gonna out. I just don’t wanna die of curiosity.
am a big time hoarder.I have boxes of unread books&am easily distracted.I’d read 3 books @ the same time&finished em months later
catching up? not sure how. I just read them. sometimes I finished a book quickly, sometimes it took me months.
indubitably …. I think I may have a problem.
I can give you a complete list of my stash but that’s like bragging abt my sickness ;P
I have been left speechless and do not have further comments. I can only say: GOOD LUCK, MAN.
I love to buy many books in a book fair/sale but some of them are sometimes left unread.
Kan kalapnya kalo lagi book sale aja. *ngeles* Tapi ya ttp aja sih, there’s always such a GUILTY FEELING like you said, My.
(Translation for 2nd Tweet: “I only buy massive amounts of books during sale. *excuses* But still, there’s always such a guilty feeling like you said.“)
We both had a lengthy discussion about this… basically our conclusion is that: as long as we keep on buying uncontrollably, we won’t be able to stop hoarding books, no matter how hard we resolve to read one book per week and whatnot. This, we agree, is the never ending cycle of doom.
some bought left unread coz I’ve read it library. Yet, if it’s in another cover, i’ll reread it. (+/-)1-2 weeks=3books
aha yeaaap! Once it happened, blame my school and work’s stuff. I do those two things in the same time. Poor my reading hobby
I’m thinking we should just change the expression “reading hobby” to “buying books hobby”. :P
I lately buy and read magazines more, which is why I’ve quite a lot of books left untouched…well, mostly half-read. Bad, yes.
My bad habit is when I already read half a book, and finally bought another interesting book, I usually left that first book. :|
A very interesting point is being made here because, funnily enough, I buy magazines as often as I buy books… but I never just leave them lying around. I work for a (film) magazine so those magazines I buy are for work. I asked Nico to explain further why he prioritizes magazines over books, and he said:
It doesn’t necessarily TRUMP books, but maybe I have shorter attention span these days, which is not good. :P
But when I do find a book so engaging, I’ll finish it fast, like in not more than 3 days. Well, depending on my busyness, too.
And with that, he opened a new can of worms on “attention span: books vs magazines, long reads vs short reads – are books failing because they’re simply too long and people are easily distracted?”
But let’s not worry about that for the moment. I might just touch on that subject in the coming weeks… just not now, because I have a feeling the book hoarders who are reading this entry might be feeling severely overwhelmed right now.
Then again, here are a few words of wisdom regarding book hoarding from my friends… just to make us, sufferers of Bookhoarderitis, feel somewhat better about ourselves.
On Bookhoarderitis in general:
@SmurfGG Well, if I were you I’d see it as having plenty of treasure :D No shame, the Scrooge McDuck of books!
@WHRauf I regret nothing.
On whether or not it is sad that there are more book hoarders than non-hoarders:
@TarunaD Not really, my friend used to say “It’s better to buy something then regret it rather than regretting not buying something.”
On having a club called The Overwhelmed Book Hoarders Club:
@dtorini Yes please do. The club’s name is way cooler than what my friends call me: book-addict. Addict’s such a negative word. :P
@ndrow our club sounds badass. Like we’re gonna solve crimes and fight killers with our piles of giant chunky books.
I feel better already.
And now, let’s get cracking on those books!