"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way Through My Books

After moving to my new place and sifting through all my print books twice (once while packing them, once while unpacking them) and getting rid of probably 2-3 boxes of them and getting them all cataloged in LibraryThing (which is a magical site that allows me to stop buying duplicates of books ALL THE TIME) I decided that I really needed to catalog my eBooks too.

This took a long time and a lot of patience and several restarts as I changed the way I wanted to organize them.

Then I decided I really should mark every book that I haven't read.

All of these things combined to open my eyes to the plethora of books I own but haven't read, or am dying to reread, or will probably never read in a million years.

So a few more books went out the door. A handful of eBooks got deleted from my Nook account.

And I decided there had to be a better way of systematically reading all of those free eBooks and ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies or Galleys) that I had picked up over the years. So I did the logical thing and started with A. Well, actually I started with the books that have numbers for titles, because those get put before the As. And when I finish one I take of the "Unread" label and, if it's an eBook, I archive it so it doesn't show up on my Nook anymore, but I can download it again should I ever want to, or, if it's a print book, decide whether to put it back on the shelf or plop it in the to sell or donate box.

I started this toward the end of last year with my eBooks, and last month for print books. And so far I've read 30 eBooks and 4 print books I probably wouldn't have read (or wouldn't have read yet). Some of them I would have gotten to before others, since they were by favorite authors. But honestly, many of them would have probably languished on my Nook or bookshelf forever.

Some of them have been wonderful books. Some of them have been good. A couple have been awful. Many have been just okay. But they are all now read.

But I noticed something in the last week.

See, I get daily e-mails from three wonderful sites: BookBubThe Fussy Librarian, and Bookperk. You sign up for free, in some cases you select the genres, formats, content that you like and then they magically deliver a list of books that are cheap or free. Every. Day. It's magical. I've discovered sales on some of my favorite authors this way. I highly recommend them.

And it used to be that every day I would be downloading at least one free book. Every. Day.

That adds up to a lot of books. A lot of eBooks that were languishing on my Nook.

I noticed, now that I'm actively reading through many of these free books that I've downloaded in the past, I am much pickier about the ones I buy or download. Even if they're free. Because I have, according to my LibraryThing shelf, over 1,200 books I haven't read yet. TWELVE HUNDRED.

So instead of saying, like I used to, HEY IT'S FREE. DOWNLOAD ALL THE BOOKS, I say, Do I really want to add this to my list?

Sometimes the answer is YES.
Sometimes the answer is perhaps.
But more often now it's... probably not.

So by reading the books I already own I'm not only weeding out my personal collection, but I'm also keeping myself from adding to it!

A side benefit I never expected.

How are you at reading books you've already bought? Do you keep a tight rein on yourself or are you like me and own almost as many books you haven't read as those you have? Do you have a system that keeps you from buying or downloading more books than you could possibly read in one lifetime or did you give up on that long ago?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bookish Resolutions: April Progress

1. Read 200 books in 2015:
I hit the library for picture books again. So I'm up to 87 of the 200 ... really good considering it's only April! I have read other books, though, not just picture books and graphic novels. This month I've read 15 books over 200 pages and 7 of those were over 300 (1 over 400). So they balance out the 11 that were under 100 pages.

2. Read 12 non-fiction books in 2015 (1 a month preferably):
I have 7 read so far! And 2 read this month. I listened to The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, which was fascinating. I also read Harry Potter's Bookshelf: The Great Books Behind the Hogwarts Adventures by John Granger, which was an interesting look at the literary influences in Harry Potter.

3. Clear out my Currently Reading GoodReads shelf:
I didn't get through any of these this month, but I only have 4 left and still have 8 months, so I'm not too concerned.

4. Read at least 2 print books I already own each month (with an eye to weeding):
I read 3 books (all of which had been sitting on my shelves for a while) so this one was finally a win. I read Janet Gurtler's #16 Things I Thought Were True (though to be fair, I knew that one wouldn't get weeded), 5 Cheesy Stories by Patsy Clairmont (I will be holding onto this one to read with my nieces and nephew), and 29 by Adena Halpern (which I enjoyed but will be weeding because I probably won't read it again). I did better this month because I adopted the strategy I've been applying to eBooks and just started alphabetically on my unread shelf in Library Thing. So rather than dithering about what to read or heading toward more recent acquisitions that I would most likely not be getting rid of, I'm forced to just read what's next on the list.

5. Read at least 1 eBook I already own each month:
Did well on this one again. I read 4 eBooks this month. These included A Dangerous Inheritanceby Alison Weir, Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton, Angels Watching Over Me by Michael Phillips, and Anni Moon & the Elemental Artifact. I'm almost done with the As! Maybe I can finish them off in May!

Yay for books!