Saturday, June 05, 2021

The Times Have Never Been Better for Readers

The 3 shelves beneath each of these groups of 4 are equally stuffed beyond capacity.


Do you guys ever get the feeling that, even though you are probably reading more right now than you ever have, the stacks of un-read books you have waiting around for your attention are growing faster than ever, too? I spent some time this morning sorting through the unread books I have acquired this year, and I can guarantee you that's the case with me. All of the shut-in time resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has given me the time to read more book blogs, newspaper book sections, and book magazines than ever before. The result: I'm buying books way faster than I can possibly read them, and I probably won't ever get to some of them at all. 

So far in 2021, I've acquired:

  • 18 Hardcovers
  • 10 E-books
  •  5 (electronic) ARCs
  •  7 (physical) ARCs

In addition to these 40 books, I have a grand total of 17 library books waiting to be read before check-out time runs out on them. While all the bookstores were shut down, I really got used to making use of my library system's search engine and the fact that the system has a reciprocal agreement with two of the neighboring counties to share books across county lines. So much choice...and that was even before the bookstores reopened. Now, it's really crazy. 

The scary part of all this is that I've read a grand total of 8 of the 40 books I've acquired so far this year - and I've abandoned one other of them for good out of sheer boredom. That leaves 31 unread books, and the year isn't quite halfway over yet. Oh, I know it's a nice problem to have (other than the space required and all), but at this pace, I'll soon be searching for a Book-Addicts Anonymous meeting somewhere around here. 

In addition to all the books I learn about from my fellow book-bloggers, I'm constantly learning about the books that are hot in Britain right now from my Times of London subscription. Almost everything that catches my eye in the paper's book section is available in this country, too, and if that weren't already bad enough, the book editors kindly sent me an email or two every week just to make sure that I don't miss all the books they couldn't squeeze into the paper itself. Then there are The Great Courses (available for free on Kanopy), classes like the 19-hour one on "Mysteries and Thrillers" that have led me to countless classics and series (there's that word again) from the past. And, I don't want to forget all the British and European television series I watch on services like Acorn, BritBox, Prime, Tubi, and Walter Presents that end up leading me in whole other directions after I learn they are based on a book or series of books I had not heard of beforehand. 

In other words, life is pretty good for readers right now. We are all very lucky to live in such an interconnected world. Make the most of it.

16 comments:

  1. Sam, I agree that we get a lot more information on books now, although I am more apt to find blog posts about older books that intrigue me than newly available books. On the other hand, at my local independent book store, since Covid began, I have bought more new hardbacks as they came out than ever before, mostly to be supportive of the book store. I have a huge physical backlog of books to be read and I should not be buying anymore books, but it is hard to stop.

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    1. And that's not even to mention all the book publicists out there who are working so hard to get word out about books they are promoting for publishers or indie authors. I seem to get three or four emails a day, minimum, from publicists and authors wanting to bring their books to my attention.

      Like you, I started buying more physical copies during the pandemic as a way of showing some support for the bookstores that were, at first, offering only curbside pick-up. Now that I can go back inside the stores, I find myself buying more than before because I can see so many "new" books all at one time. Sure beats trying to "browse" on Amazon.

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  2. I blame the availability of almost any book you fancy for the state of my tbr pile, both real and virtual. Years ago (about 30) I picked an American book up in my then local market (Barnstaple in North Devon) by an American author named Chelsea Quin Yarbro. It turned out to be the first in her Compte de St. Germain series of vampire novels and I fell hook, line and sinker. Now American books were as rare as hen's teeth in England then and no Amazon so I trawled all the secondhand bookshops I could find and was utterly thrilled to find just *two* more books. These days that kind of thrill is rare as we just have to go online and any number of what we're after will be available. Probably. It's good, but maybe we've lost something along the way? The thrill of the chase? But I'm not complaining, I'd go insane without my massive tbr pile. Life is indeed good for us readers and I would suggest that we've suffered a little less than non-readers during this awful pandemic.

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    1. Cath, you really hit on something that I miss...the chase for a book or a series of books that are either out-of-print or just rare. I used to spend entire weekends searching the shelves of Houston's many used-book bookstores for the items on my search list (sadly, most of those stores are long gone now). Even if I didn't find something for my shelves, I often found something of value that I could sell to another of the stores on the same day for a nice profit. This was, of course, pre-computer and I often knew more about the value of certain books and authors than the store's own staff. It was a nice, profitable hobby for a number of years. I even managed to "trade up" to some nice collectible books that are still on my shelves by starting with a book of relatively small value and through a series of trades ending up with something really nice. I miss the excitement of those days a lot.

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  3. Yeah it's probably a good problem to have ... too many books! But I try to stick to the library stack and not purchase ... though when I run out of time and a book is due at the Library ... and I'm midway into it ... then it seems I have to buy! Cheers. just found your blog site.

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    1. Happy to see a "new face" taking the time to comment. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope to see you again. I love my library system, but sometimes it is so good that I end up bringing too many books home at the same time even though I know I'll never manage to read all of them. But having them at home gives me the chance to take a close look at books even if they end up not getting completely read. Sometimes sampling a book is enough.

      Now, I'm off to take a look at your site...

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  4. I couldn't agree more. It is a wonderful time to be a reader, especially since there are so many talented writers at work these days.

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    1. I do have to feel a little sorry for indie publishers and authors who have always had to struggle for attention. They have more tools to gather that attention these days, but they are now "needles" in a larger than ever "haystack."

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  5. I've just been thinking about this! For me, the luck involves how the old books are becoming more and more available. There are wonderful publishers out there who are reissuing. And with Kindle prices for them, especially the old mysteries, they are accessible to me. I am hoping to get back into the blogging world. Not sure I can call myself a blogger with so few posts! haha

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    1. Nan! Great to hear from you. I've been wondering what you've been up to. I think you're dead-on about the older books being more easily found - and affordable - than ever. I'm particularly enjoying going back to the novels of the 1940s-1970s these days, while dipping back into the twenties and thirties on occasion, too. It's hard to believe how easily some really great writing slips through the cracks to be lost forever. I love those old reprints, too, especially the ones that mimic or use the original cover art.

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  6. I know my stack of unread books grows exponentially faster than what I can actually read. Not that I'm complaining about the abundancy of good reading material! ;D

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    1. Sometimes I think we are akin to the people referred to by that old bumpersticker from the 80s or 90s that said,"Whoever dies with the most toys wins." :-)

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  7. Well I'm glad to know it's not just me! Even though I'm on track to have a really good reading year, it seems that there are more books than ever that I want to read. Right now I'm toying with the idea of taking a month or two this summer and reading nothing but books that are already on my kindle. We'll see if that happens...

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    1. That would make for an interesting summer, I'll bet. If your Kindle is like mine, there are no telling how many great books and little gems are hiding in there somewhere. Every time I look at my Kindle library, I seem to find something I can barely remember purchasing...it's like a big toy box.

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  8. Your personal collection is enviable Sam. Yes, the pandemic has fed all kings of bookish obsessions: blogs, publications, author interviews, publisher newsletters and more. I've only acquire about 10 physical books in 2021, mostly freebies too, but the eGalleys, eAudios and download access from both local library system and state system has had me creating a wishlist of over 100 books and holds list of 30 new releases, in addition, to a physical book holds list currently at 19. "I am a book addict."

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    1. Ha...I love it, Diane. Even though none of us have much of a chance of ever reading all the books we put away for later...or plan to get hold of later...we just can't stop adding to the physical and virtual piles. I think that's a good sign of our enthusiasm and enjoyment of reading. What I can't understand (although I don't hear it nearly as often these days as I used to) are the people who complain about not being able to find something to read. I mean...really? How is that even possible?

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