Nov 27, 2011

The Sunday Salon–Books Glorious Books

The Sunday Salon.com

Today I am examining myself as a reader and book buyer. I was thinking about writing a Sunday Salon post today since it has been a while since I contributed. Even though I am in the middle of a few good books I wanted to post about something with a little more substance. I didn’t have any ideas so I pushed the post to the back of my mind and got on with my chores for the day.


I am rearranging and reorganizing all the things in my family room. This room has become a bit of the junk collection room over the past few months. Also I have decided (for the first time EVER) that I have too many books and I need to get rid of at least SOME books. I already went through one book shelf on a surface level and boxed up some questionable purchases from my college years that were clearly not worth the time or effort any long.


What inspired this book culling? Even though I have long been AGAINST reading ebooks, I am now faced with the fact that I have well over 5000 books with more I want to read being published every week. Mr. X got a Nook a few years ago and he used it quite a bit at first, but is now back into paper books or reading with his phone. While he was, at first, completely against reading ebooks on a backlit screen, he has now found that he enjoys it more than he thought he would. So the Nook is now mine and I might as well utilize it. I love reading out of paper books. Love the look and feel, their weight in my hands. BUT I am coming to accept that they aren’t always convenient or comfortable to read. AND TAKE UP A LOT OF SPACE.


When I was pondering I realized that there were a lot of books on my shelf that I had no intention of reading any time soon. Every year more books come in, but none ever go out. That equation mostly equals out to disaster. Even though I have plenty of shelf space at the moment, how much longer will that last? And then what? New shelves? For the past 3-4 years I have almost exclusively been reading young adult novels, yet the majority of books on my shelves are adult ones. I always bought them (cheap) with the intention of reading them “someday” but what if that day never comes?


This question and others like it got me thinking about my personal reading trends. I have always loved young adult books and been adamant about their literary value to all types of readers. Post Harry Potter and Twilight it is a lot like I am preaching to the choir now that so many more adults read (or admit to reading) young adult books. But what other books have I read, purchased, and enjoyed over in the past? After my first daughter was born I only read non fiction books, then I was mostly reading books related to writing, then general young adult books, then only science fiction and dystopian young adult books, then all speculative fiction books adult and young adult.


So where am I now? I just came off a HUGE 6 month reading slump. Since the slump ended I have finished 12 books. Which is half of all the books I finished this year. Looking at these 12 books, I would not consider them representative of how I *think* I am reading right now. I feel like I mostly read dystopia, with a few romantically driven young adult breaks here and there. But the books I read tell me that I only read 2 dystopian books and a LOT of other types of speculative fiction and NOTHING non genred (or more romantic in feel without being paranormal).


Out of all the books I read this year the most realistic one is Babymouse! And I haven’t read a single adult title. Have I found my reading niche? Or is this just a trend that will fade later? I can’t decide and this makes it exceptionally hard to decide what books to get rid of. There are some obvious choices that I simply know I will NEVER read, no matter what I am into. And even if change my mind on some of these, I am pretty sure I will be able to find them in ebook in the future. Or even buy them again without all the years of them sitting around collecting dust and taking up space.


Today I piled my adult fiction books up on the table. Some I want to keep no matter what. Authors I love or authors I may need to read in the future for school. Authors that I told myself I am going to read before I die! Also, I read almost NO nonfiction. And I want to try and change that. I am not sure if I will, but I have so many great/interesting books here that I continue to buy. But in the adult fiction pile there are books that I am putting an expiration date on. If I don’t have them read in 6 months, they are leaving my house. I think this is a perfectly acceptable goal. I also realize that I probably won’t read these books either. Trying to decide if they should get a special shelf or box so I can be more proactive about following through, or just mix them in with the rest.


Are you reading the same kind of books you were 5 years ago? What book genres are you reading that you weren’t before? What types of books did you read and now don’t?


I have told myself to stay focused and only read one book at a time for a little while, but I am in the middle of Perks of Being a Wallflower (paper), Perfect Chemistry (audio), Jane Eyre (ebook w/ Chelsea), and The Butterfly Clues (ebook). Also will be starting Their Eyes Were Watching God and If I Stay for readalongs very soon. And the audio of The Tempest, since I have been meaning to read it for a LONG time.


What are you reading? What book that you read this year would you most recommend?

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