The meme goes this way:
Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? ? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?Well, I don't even try to kid myself anymore about my book-buying habits. I do very vaguely remember the days when, as I approached the end of a book, I began to search around the house for the next one. I would consider myself very fortunate to find as many as two books that I had not yet read - three or four unread books in the house at once almost never happened. Let's just say that those days are long gone.
Not only do I now have dozens and dozens of unread books in the house, my reading habits have completely changed. Today, for instance, I'm reading from five different books and I'm down to five only because yesterday afternoon I finished an audio book on the way home from the office. I don't know exactly which book I'll start reading from next, but it is not through a lack of choices that I say that. Just on top my desk I see six unread books. There are dozens more stacked neatly on the shelves and out of sight in various closets - and I know that another half-dozen or more are headed my way via the mail.
Does that stop me from buying books every week? I'll give you three guesses, but I expect you to get it in one.
The short answer is: the number of unread books I own has no relationship to the number of books I am likely to buy this week, or next week, or today. If an opportunity to shop for new books presents itself, I take advantage of the situation. I'm not a frivolous or wasteful shopper, however. Price does matter to me and I love shopping the bargain book tables at Barnes & Noble and Borders more than anything other than attending a big book festival. I do collect the work of certain authors and am willing to pay a premium price for their hard-to-find or out-of-print titles. I also have a soft spot for early editions of Charles Dickens novels and find those hard to pass up if they are in my price range (a range which is, unfortunately, much lower than it used to be).
I am definitely an out-of-control book buyer but, in the great scheme of things, that's pretty much my worst vice these days so I consider myself lucky. Even my wife has finally reconciled herself to the idea that she is likely to find books stashed just about anywhere in the house - and concedes that finding books stashed is better than finding liquor bottles stashed.