6.04.2009

To-Read Pile


This is what my to-read pile looked like for one brief moment. I must say it was a bit odd to look to the pile and see nothing. That is not to say that I didn't have anything to read. I am right in the middle of reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer and that is a lengthy book so not having a book sitting over in my to-read pile should not have left me feeling as lost as it actually did.

This is also not to say that I didn't know what I was going to read next because my to-read pile is an entirely different thing than my to-read list (which I keep track of over at GoodReads). In fact while my to-read pile was briefly empty (some might say under control), my to-read pile is anything but. A couple of months ago I was looking at said list and decided that having 49 books on my to-read list is entirely too much and so I began to more diligently (and more quickly) work my way through them. I had, at the time, thought that keeping it at or below 40 books was slightly more reasonable. Eventually I made it to that point. I briefly (very briefly) even had it down to 35 and was just beginning to think that 30 was a much more reasonable number than 40. I have now just about given up on that number of 30 (except for secretly in the back of my mind) because there are just too many excellent books being written.

Having 38 (current number) books on my to-read list requires something of a system because, you see, nearly all of the books on this list are rather popular right now. This means that I can't merely walk into my local library and grab my sought-after book off the shelf. I have to request the book and then wait for the sometimes dozens of people (once it was over 100) ahead of me on the list to read and return the book first. This is where my system comes in (okay so it is not a real system in that there are no rules or specific steps but it is something that I am conscience of). When placing books on hold I first look to see how long the waiting list is and how many copies exist at my library. What I am trying to determine here is the approximate time frame it will take for these books to make it to my home. I don't want five 400-page books to come home all at once and I don't want my to-read pile to be empty.

In addition to trying to pace the time in which books become available to me I also want to make sure that I have a good mix of genre. Even too much of a good thing can be little bit bad so I try to mix up my historical fictions with my vampire books and my teen angst books with my flying through time and space books. For this purpose I suppose it is a good thing that there are 39 different books to choose from.

All in all, the process often makes me feel a bit like an athletic coach at
BYU trying to figure out how many scholarship she has, who is leaving on LDS missions and hence freeing up a scholarship for 2 years, and when will they be coming home, etc. I suppose this is why I love checking my library holds so much--it is also a bit like fantasy baseball: I want to see how my picks are performing and if I've timed it all correctly as to assure optimal reading pleasure. And when it is done right it makes me very happy.

Where do I get my "picks" from? Well, I'm glad you asked since apart from explaining my system this is the real reason for this post. I have two excellent resources (actually there are far more than 2 that I pull from, but there are 2 that give me picks on a regular basis):

1. MBC over at
Slanted. Not only does she keep a running list of books she is currently reading on her sidebar, but she will occasionally do a post of recommendations (click on her "What I'm Reading" label to see these) and I have always found her to be exactly right on with her recommendations--also she is the one who introduced me to the books of Connie Willis so I will love her forever. She has also opened my eyes to the wonderful world of poetry. Here is a portion of the latest poem she recently shared on her blog:

"The Letter" by Amy Lowell in Essential Pleasures.
I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon.

2. Janssen over at
Everyday Reading who is prolific at reading and writing up excellent book reviews. Plus if you leave a comment on her blog with a question in it she will email you the answer because she is such a lovely, lovely person (and definitely someone I wish I knew). Don't be too concerned if you head there right now and don't see any book reviews up this is not normal just click to see her older posts or browse her archive and you will be well satisfied. Janssen, I must say, is entirely and solely responsible for my to-read list being at 39 and not 30 right now. Also click here for some excellent recipes that she loves.

So now that I've waxed long on my overly long to-read list, do you have any recommendations for me (I love reading just about anything)? {Especially you
Science Teacher Mommy who has also never lead me astray?}

6 comments:

Janssen said...

100 points to you for the nicest post ever.

Also, that picture is lovely - I think my kitchen is almost that exact color, but my table is not a lovely dark wood, but instead is scraped all to pieces by turpentine. It's a good look.

MBC said...

I'm glad my blog helps you find books! I keep meaning to write a post for you of my summer reading recommendations. Maybe I'll do that tonight.

Yankee Girl said...

See how lovely Janssen is everyone?

And MBC I can't wait!

Jenny said...

My to-read pile takes up two shelves on my bookshelf. I need to follow your good example and use the library more... I get impatient and want to have the books within reach NOW. I lurk on the goodreads website to find books, among other places like YOUR blog. Summer=reading

Natalie said...

OK, I have always called myself a reader, but after reading this post I realize that I am only a wannabe reader. It is so sad to me that I can't remember the last book I read (that wasn't a picture book!). I could make a list of many books that I have started, but never finished because I get so sidetracked. I need to exercise my brain a little and read a good book this summer-I just need something I can read in bits and pieces...hmmmm...this post of yours may have inspired me to read a book for myself! Now, I must decide which one!

Jen said...

I'm not smart enough to comment on this post. My reading consists of little kid books. Someday...