Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I need a book-hoarding intervention

It’s time to come to grips with the half-read and unread books stacked up on my nightstand and in my nightstand drawer.

Oh, and we should probably talk about what’s stacked up in my Nook e-reader, too.

I’ve always been a bit of a two-timer when it comes to my reading. Especially during the summer, I’ll have one book for my bed and another for a trip to the beach. Or I’ll be reading one print book and, if I’m a little bored with that routine, be reading a Nook book on the side.

And then there are the books that I start then stop and set aside. I’ll pick up something in the meantime, then take a break and try to go back to the original book but ending up separating from the book altogether, thinking it’s me not them, but it really is them not me that’s the cause.

After a while of all this, the read, unread and half-read books begin to stack on, in and around my nightstand.

The current inventory of half-read books includes “1493” by Charles C. Mann, and “A Widow for One Year” by John Irving.

I liked the premise of “1493” - a look at how North America was before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas and how the introduction of various trades influenced not only trade but our very environment. For example, if I’m remembering some of what I read correctly, no bees or earthworms existed here until after the arrival of Columbus and trade was established. The bugs came with the goods.

But at some point in “1493” all that density of fact brought me to a grinding halt.

As for “A Widow for One Year,” I have no idea why I stopped where I did.

I’m re-reading “A Storm of Swords” by George R.R. Martin in fits and starts in preparation for Season Three of “Game of Thrones” on HBO. I’m one of those people who read all five books ahead of the television series, but I won’t play spoiler on social media.

There’s a lot to know and remember in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, and I’ve already forgotten more than I’ve retained so I need to refresh as a new season approaches.

I’ve got “The Prince of Tides” by Pat Conroy and “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese sitting on the bench, vying for the chance to grab my reading attention. I haven’t started them. They just sit there. Waiting.

They’ve actually been bench-sitting for a while as I’ve chosen other books to get involved in -- “A Chain of Thunder” by Jeff Shaara and “Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues” by Michael Brandman. And I downloaded “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson into my Nook today.

I may be a bit of a flake when it comes to reading, hard to pin down as a one-book man. It’s why I hoard books the way I do. I just never know what’s going to do the trick from one reading session to the next.

I’m not alone in this issue.

My wife Jane’s side of the bed is a whole other stash of read books, half read books, new books and magazines. But that’s her problem.

I’ve got enough reading commitment problems of my own.

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