Don’t panic, yes of course I’m reading, it’s just I feel as if I’m not reading fast enough, and not reading the right books. The right books? Don’t you ever have a little list of books in your head – that list of books that really should be up next – they are the books I mean. I suppose I feel I keep getting drawn to books that I have had on my bookcase a while, books that let’s face it are really not going anywhere. These are the books which take me away from what I feel duty bound to read; review copies, books from friends, books I have borrowed from the library and really shouldn’t just keep renewing. It seems I have a little book devil sitting on my shoulder, who jumps up and runs along my bookshelves squealing “read this next, read this next.” Sometimes spontaneity feels a bit naughty, but it shouldn’t be should it?
As a huge book lover, I think I sometimes put myself under a bit of pressure. I join reading events, I host my own reading events, I occasionally accept review copies, I want to keep this blog regularly updated, and read and comment on other blogs – phew, well there are only so many hours in a day, and I’ve not even mentioned reading yet. Don’t misunderstand me, I am still as enthusiastic as ever about my bookish activities, but I really need to learn not to put too much pressure on myself. I recently took the decision to cull a few review copies, having had them for months and not read, I feel terrible for accepting them in the first place, but on skimming over the first few pages, I find I really don’t want to read them. I could force myself, but do publishers and authors really want reviews of books I have read under sufferance? – Probably not. I’m not going to list titles, not sure that would be entirely fair. Is this a terrible thing to do? Incidently they are books from a large publisher, I am sure one review less will make no earthly difference to anyone.
Is it just me? Or do you all find it hard to keep all those bookish plates spinning? I think I might have blogged about many of these issues before, it certainly feels as if I’ve said all this before. Sorry if I’m repeating myself.
One recent problem that has reared its head is my reaction to some modern novels, I feel as if I am becoming less tolerant of modern fiction – maybe a certain kind of middle of the road modern fiction, I have found myself mildly disappointed in books that I was looking forward to. This is particularly worrying as I have several very new books – both review copies, and ones I have bought that I am really looking forward to; I can’t bear to think I may be disappointed in them too. I find that I retreat gratefully to the books I have faith in, the books of the 1930’s the 1950’s, they often come in dove grey and vintage dark green jackets, so often the voices of these books resonate most strongly with me.
Still I am going to read some of these over the next few weeks, fingers crossed they are as wonderful as I want them to be. I probably just need to recognise when I am not in a modern novel mood, and not try to read a modern novel. Bookish appetites need to be adhered to.
Although I read more old books than new books, I do like to keep abreast of at least some of what’s new. So far this year, I have actually read about twenty eight books published in the last two years – out of a total of a hundred and six books read so far, with another handful published a few years before that, which is quite a lot of modern books for me I think.
Do you ever feel that you’re drowning in books, events, reviews, juggling time and commitments? How do you prioritise? – or do you read strictly by mood?