Sunday, 13 February 2011

I think it's an illness...

My name is Peta and I am a bibliophilic.

Recently, in comments, Jodie from Book Gazing assured me that if my TBR pile was not falling over then it was not too big. Erm. I don't think I could actually carry all the books I own but have not read towards a pile without putting my back out! My addiction is such that, off the top of my head, and yes just for this month so far, I've bought at least 13 books. So that's an average of one a day... Gulp.

It's time to face an unpalatable home truth. I honestly can not keep buying/receiving books at the rate I have been over the last few months and a) hope to find space to home them or b) actually ever read them all! Oh - and c) remain solvent!

When we moved house in May last year my TBR shelf (so more like twoish shelves...) got muddled up with the rest of my books so it's been relatively easy to hide the growing scale of the "problem" from myself. And, more importantly, my husband! Last night I went through my books and pulled all the TBRs into one area. This area is five shelves of books. Yes. Five shelves, each 80cm long, packed with books. Right. So I have four metres of books that I own and have not read. And that excludes oversize books like reference (e.g. I just had to buy a copy of Brewster's Dictionary in January) and graphic novels!

Yep. It's time to go cold turkey. I officially declare that from henceforward No More Books* will enter this house until at least my birthday - which is in June. No more reading a book review and moments later buying the damn thing. No more falling for tempting 2 for £7 deals at the supermarket. No more "just quickly looking" in charity shops then walking out with a bag I can barely carry. No more "reference books" that I neeeeeeeeded for the garden/veg patch.

In a heroic demonstration of my commitment to change, I have even managed to resist the lure of purchasing books for next month's "Women Of" reading clubs and actually been organised enough to place reservations for both Prospero Lost & Darkship Thieves with my library**. What heroic fortitude I am displaying and I am sure that they could do with the additional income of £1.10!

On a more serious note, and I think it's worth the digression, I do realise just how lucky I am to live in Norfolk, where the council is not closing a single one of our 47 libraries which serve around 250,000 active members. Just to our south, Suffolk council hopes to shut at least 20 of its 44 branches. Whilst I am very aware that the cuts have to come from somewhere, I hope that the government do step in to stop at least some of the cuts as once closed I can't imagine they'd re-open in the future.

So to summarise. No more book buying and reduce the TBRs by at least a metre by the end of the year!

* OK so I can't bring myself to cancel my pre-order for The Wise Man's Fear in March, the sequel to the fabulously awesome The Name of the Wind, and the two books already in transit to me don't count either...

** Although if I really enjoy them I reserve the right to add them to my wish list! :)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Sci-Fi Experience 2011

I can't really believe that, firstly, we're in the second decade of this century and, secondly, that it's already time for my (third) annual participation in Stainless Steel Dropping's Sci-Fi Experience which runs until the end of February. Where on earth does time go to?

The "rules" are very simple and, as Carl says, "This is simply an opportunity to get together as a community and share a love of science fiction." I have a large stack of Christmas loot to get through and, for me, this is the perfect time of year to curl up and explore other worlds and new ideas without feeling too guilty about neglecting the huge amount of gardening we have to do. I consciously "save up" books for all of Carl's various challenges and am particularly looking forward to tucking into:
  • Peter F Hamilton's HUGE Night's Dawn Trilogy which totals c. 3600 pages... Gulp.
  • The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson (and possibly Anathem too)
  • Alistair Reynold's Chasm City
  • Dust - Elizabeth Bear
If I have time, I'd also like to use this as an excuse to return to Neal Asher's Polity series as I read, and really enjoyed, Gridlinked in last year's experience but somehow have not got around to reading any more of them.

As ever half the fun is seeing what other people are enjoying and using it as the perfect excuse to buy (or borrow) more! I'm also taking part in two book clubs this year that focus on female Sci-Fi & Fantasy authors and it's going to be really hard to resist reading some of the applicable books lined up for later in the year that are ready and waiting in my "library". The Elizabeth Bear book above is one of these reads so at least I can knock one off the TBR pile I have waiting! What temptation...