It’s 3 a.m. in the morning and Mama Readingrat’s paper children have kept her up telling her stories of their adventures. Now she puts them to bed and tucks them into the 21-stories bunk bed on the night stand, bids them good night, and turns to her blog, feeling tired and exhausted – because there are 21 of them, all vying for her attention. And that are only the ones closest. She loves her charges very much, all 1800-something (yes, she has lost count) – whether they are newborn babes or elderly ladies and gentlemen. As soon as she adopted them, they became her precious children and if she can help it, most will stay with her as long as she lives since she has a hard time kicking out even the ones that disappoint her. But with adoption comes responsibilities – and sometimes, those worry even the most lighthearted hamstering readingrat …
Seriously, I can’t see the library for the books anymore – and that’s a bad thing considering that ‘the library’ is my room. You can’t move through half of it because there are boxes and stacks of books everywhere – on the floor, on the stepladder I need to get to my top shelves, on other stuff that’s lying around, on each other … It’s bad. Really bad. I just don’t have enough shelves, or the space for more shelves, for that matter. It’s a miracle the 12 sqare metres even hold so many books. I’m almost glad I’m going to move soon as I’ll take a fraction of the library with me. Alas, I will be parted from the majority of my books once again because there’s no way I will take them anywhere before I get a job that will ensure I’ll stay in one place for quite some time. You just really don’t want to move 1800+ books more often than is really necessary.
But that’s not really the biggest problem I have. That would be my whopping 966-books-TBR. I know most of you would recommend sorting through all the books and getting rid of those I won’t read anymore. Thing is – I don’t really have books of which I’m sure I’ll never going to read them. Besides, I just can’t give unread books away (only exceptions: sequels to really bad books). They just might be my soulmates no matter what the blurb or the cover indicates. So I’ll have to live with my TBR as long as I fail to reduce it.
And I’m trying. I’m trying really hard. I think I’m trying too hard. Well, probably not, considering I haven’t changed my shopping behaviour that much. But I’ve changed my reading behaviour – and I just realised I’m not really liking it. In fact, it makes me sad. I used to do so many rereads because that’s just what I love, going back to the stories I treasure over and over and over again. However, since last September, I’ve reread exactly one book – The Hobbit – and that only because I happened to go to the world premiere in London and there was no way I would do so without rereading the book ONE LAST TIME (well, always and I really need to give you that post so you can understand what I just did there). I miss rereading books.
I just realised that I’ve started to put so much pressure on me. Too much pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I also love reading new books. It’s one of the greatest things to stumble upon a book or a series that totally mesmerises, that you can’t put down no matter what and makes you spend all your waking hours marathoning whatever awesomeness you are onto – just like I did the other week with the Vampire Academy. That was FUN! But then there are my most beloved books all sad and lonely, staring at me accusingly from their shelves because I promised them I would reread them soon. Only I made that promise over a year ago. And then there are the 966 unread books that fight for my attention.
My TBR was always huge, even before I started blogging. With all the recommendations that led my to finding new books and genres I wasn’t really aware of before, it skyrocketed. But until a couple of months ago, I never cared. I saw the number with a shrug and went on buying and rereading. I entered TBR reduction challenges just to fail horribly. I didn’t mind. I was content. Everyone made fun of it, everyone laughed about it and shook their heads in disbelief. I was fine and laughed along. Somehow this has changed. With about everyone trying to reduce their teensytiny TBR, I feel a little lost. I feel like I’m doing something wrong. Shouldn’t I be doing what everyone else does? Isn’t a tiny TBR preferrable? Somehow, I just realised that I fell under some kind of blogging peer pressure spell.
On my night stand there are currently 21 books that I ‘plan’ to read as soon as possible. Only one is a reread and that book probably wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t one of the now five books left over from 2014 – and with ‘left over’ I mean I started it way back in March 2014. Yeah, it’s not a good time for rereads right now. Besides said five books I want to finish as soon as possible to have a somewhat fresh start, there are two books for read-alongs (one of them I should have read halfway through by now but haven’t even started yet), three books for a TBR reduction challenge, a couple of books from series I want to finish, like, NOW, and some books that have been on my TBR for ages and ages and I JUST HAVE TO READ THEM NOW, don’t ask me why, – oh, plus the two new releases I’m so looking forward to but kind of can’t read before I finished the other books mentioned above. Great! Yes, I feel a just a little frustrated because I won’t allow myself to pick them up just now. The whole situation kind of sucks.
And yet, the only thing I really disliked about my reading habits was reading so many books parallel – well, reading is almost too much of a word for it, since most of the last five of 2014 lay unread on my currently reading pile ever since I started them. And that’s the only thing I really want to change. When I was younger, I read only one book at a time. I want to go back to this. Not to one book, but to three books max. Sometimes that might become difficult when I’m in one of my indecisive moods, but I know that this would be much healthier readingwise. No more books of which I’ve forgotten what the first half was all about because I didn’t pick them up in almost a year. Maybe I’ll even learn to DNF books, who knows?
And yes, I also want to continue having an eye on my TBR, but that’s it. No more pressure. No more influencing by numbers. I’m going to read what I want to read whenever I feel like reading it. I will go back to my “there’s no such thing as too many books” mentality. I will be content with the books I have. I will no longer pressure myself to reduce my TBR and abandon my rereads just to have the time to read the new releases in order to be able to move with the in-crowd. I’m not that kind of review blogger anyway. It feels so good writing this down. It feels like being myself again. I was driven by numbers for far too long and somewhere along the way reading almost felt like a job and not my favourite hobby in the whole wide world. And because I’m now really dead tired, I accidentally wrote hobbit instead of hobby in the last sentence. It’s time for Mama Readingrat to follow her children to bed. Tomorrow, she’ll be glad to listen to some more new adventures – and to some stories, she has heard before …