Erotica author, aka Elspeth Potter, on Writing from the Inside

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Collection Blues

I'm determined to cull my books. The problem is, many of the books I would likely cull are in boxes, stored away to make room for newer books on the shelves and in the, er, more accessible boxes. And the little piles here and there, of books for which I haven't yet found spaces. (I almost typed "for whom." Which tells you something about me and books.)

Notice I said nothing about not buying any more books, or refusing books that are given to me. That, I fear, is as far beyond me as flying among the stars on gossamer wings.

Shelves and accessible boxes are separate from my "to be read" pile, which actually consists of six boxes at the foot of my bed and does not include the entire box of short story collections over in the corner. The TBR includes a lot of brand new books as well as an enormous selection of older ones: a stash of category Regency romances by various authors, some contemporary category romances, several large fantasy novels I never got around to reading, books in favorite series I've been reading bit by bit, single books by favorite authors who haven't put out another book so I'm saving the last one, etc.

If I know I'm not going to read a book for years--for instance, Octavia Butler's Fledgling, because there will never be another book by her, and I want to save it for a special occasion--usually I put it on the shelf instead of in the TBR. Sometimes authors I love beyond reason end up on the shelves, too, unread and waiting for a special day: Sean Stewart's Perfect Circle is on the shelf, as is Molly Gloss' The Hearts of Horses, and the newest Karen Joy Fowler, Wit's End. Some Henry James novels have been waiting their turn for nearly a decade. I don't really count any of those as part of the TBR, but they're on the shelf where I can admire them, and gloat that they are waiting to be read.

One of these days, I'm going to take a month's vacation and spend most of it reading.

Related Post: Reading for the Writer.


  1. You're a lot more organized than me when it comes to books. I've got books everywhere! They're on shelves, on tables, on my desks, on the floor, in boxes, in closets!

    I would like to someday get a Kindle but I know I will always continue to have print books in my home. For lack of a better word, they comfort me when I look at them and I just don't think a Kindle could do that. :)

    That's why when I visit people and I don't see any books in their homes I'm always a little taken aback.

    One of my nieces when visiting commented that it looks like I live in a library. That's the nicest compliment I can imagine getting. :)

  2. I feel you, and we've got a smidge more space than you do. This morning Jen said to me, "When you make a stack of books (on the dresser) that is as tall as the light switch, and someone has to reach for the light switch in the dark, and the stack is next to the litter box..." Uh oh.

    I would like the tide of ARCs and freebies to recede soon please thank you.

  3. Oh, I have Fledgling in my TBR pile too! *sniff*

    My husband rolls his eyes at me because I have a gazillion books I haven't read, but I still buy new ones. Probably at least 1-2 per week.(not counting Amazon orders) The math doesn't work out, I know. I'll never read them all.

  4. I'll never read them all.

    Perish the thought! If I have to live forever to do it!

  5. Culling? gah!

    How about finding creative ways of hidin... erm... storing them?

    *hint: scroll all the way down this post*

  6. How about finding creative ways of hidin... erm... storing them?

    I knew there was a reason I liked you.