I have a problem. I buy books, but then I do not read them. And for what reason?
It is not that I do not like to read. I am not Captain Beatty of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. I very much like to read. I struggle to find the time. With a work at home job and no children and absolutely no reason not to read regularly, who can find the time?
Shelf after shelf of tomes untouched. Volumes un-ventured.
Novels, biographies, comic books, cartoon collections, short story anthologies, and poetry.
My poetry shelf is not large, but larger than most. Rumi, Frost, Bukowski, Billy Collins, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Seamus Heaney, various anthologies, and Sylvia Plath, also, as a companion, the new biography of Sylvia Plath. Which is the size of a Gutenberg Bible. Rather impressive for someone who only lived to be 30.
This is to say nothing of ebooks. There was a time when we all thought that ebooks were going to be the very essence of ease and convenience. I have several kindles. I have many, many, many books on them. Many, many, many.
What we all rapidly discovered is that we prefer the tangible tingle of holding physical book. Looking up at its colorful spine with impressive name in full display. Never reading it, of course, just gazing lustfully. Peering coyly at them as you binge your shows.
Side note: Ever notice how you can tell how well an author is doing by how much bigger their name is than the title?
Not only have ebooks, been a problem, but I also have an addiction to audiobooks. The fast track. I have hundreds upon hundreds. It is staggering. A tad alarming. There is joy in listening to something read while you do other things. You damn near have to!
To curtail this I was going to the library. It was very good. Often the same book buying impulse would seize me and I’d check out 20 and return them all unread.
Maybe if you got one at a time, you’d be happier? Who the hell knows.
Until we work our way through this endless backlog friends, we must content ourselves with the comfort that being surrounded by our books is.
This comfort will shield us from our greatest fear, which is: a visitor looking at our shelves and asking, “Oh, I’ve wanted to read this one, how was it?”
And you, looking at the ground, will have to answer, “I have no idea.”