May Wrap Up – too many books and not enough time to read (not a new problem !)

May was a month in which I read books and tried to blog about them where colour was mentioned in the title or where it was an important part of the book. I didn’t get very many blogs up during the month but I am sure that I will have many more featuring colour to add in the next few months. Each month I have a new theme but I also add to themes for previous months when a book I am reading fits into that. Junes theme is books about or whose titles feature the weather.

You will have noted that I didn’t read a huge number of books in May or write a lot of blogs. It seems that the past year or so has thrown many barriers in the way of my reading and blogging – a house move and a prolonged time in temporary accommodation, a loss of Internet because it took time to get it connected in our new property, a close family bereavement and the funeral arrangements, and now the arrival during May of an eight week old puppy who needs a lot of attention ! I’ve also spent a lot of time on social media and as we reach the beginning of the cycling season I have sport to watch on TV. And, of course, I work for a living although now only for three days each week and predominantly from home. It is good to have such a busy life but I would welcome more time to read and write.

At the end of each month many of the people who I follow on social media publish the list of books that they have read during the month, often with a star rating or an indication of which they have particularly enjoyed. I have noticed that more and more people are doing this and it is fascinating to see their lists. What alarms me, however, is how many of these books that are mentioned that I have not even heard about, never mind read. I consider myself to have a reasonable working knowledge of books, mainly genre fiction, but there seem to be so many new books and older books which have not attracted my attention in any way. When I see these lists I always want to buy the best looking and highly recommended ones but I really need to read the books I already own before I acquire any more !

There are so many books and so little time and I think this is compounded for me because I read across several genres so the pool of books I might read is larger than those people who only read one type of book. My to-be-read pile is still out of control despite my best efforts. What does an avid reader do when the supply of good books greatly outweighs the amount of time available in which to read them ? Some ideas which may, or may not, be working for me :

  • Stop reading books I am not enjoying. I really need to do more of this although I am getting better at it. It is sad when I have been looking forward to reading a book or when I have spent good money on it but I need to give up on books earlier than I currently do so that I can get on to the books I really enjoy.
  • Stop reading books because I think I ought to. Somewhere inside me I still feel that I ought to have read the classics and that I should read “good” books (meaning literary fiction) or books that are getting a lot of favourable publicity. Of course I don’t need to do this. I could spend the rest of my life reading cheap romances if I want to and it would make no difference to anyone. I need to choose books to buy and read that I want rather than those that I should.
  • Buy fewer books and use a wish list. Instead of buying books when I fancy them I am learning to use a wish list (Amazon and also a list on my phone). I then buy books every couple of months as a treat. Of course, this doesn’t always work when there are Kindle sales or when a new book comes out by a favourite author but I am trying, as far as possible, to avoid impulse purchases. Now when I read a book I enjoy I try to put the next one in the series on my wish list rather than buying it immediately.
  • Avoid charity shops. Charity shops are a definite weakness of mine. I’ll happily come out with ten or more books that I didn’t know I wanted before I went in ! I have several favourite charity shops which I am now studiously ignoring for a few months.
  • Read the oldest ones first. I am trying to read the books I have had on my to-be-read pile longer. I must have really wanted these books at some point but now I remember nothing about them and my attention is drawn to new books. These are good books and should not be ignored – I should read them first before buying more. One day I will have a to-be-read pile which is actually a pile and not a bookcase !
  • Embrace the fact that I can’t read everything. I am not going to get all the books read that I want to in my lifetime. I need to read and enjoy books instead of always thinking that there are more I need to get to ! Enjoy the book of the moment instead of worrying about the next unread one.
  • Keep reading !!