Thursday, April 3, 2008

Last Month's Poll

When it comes to books, I am an unashamed whore. Any book that gives me a little wink-wink from the store shelves can come home with me. I even read most of them in bed. Insomnia's much easier to tolerate when you've got a nice stack of books on the bedside table.

Seems I'm not the only book whore around here. Here are the results of last month's poll.

When reading for pleasure, what do you read?

I only read in the genre I write in.
5 (3%)

I read whatever interests me, and don't pay attention to genre.
98 (65%)

I deliberately mix my genre and other genres as a way of furthering my knowledge base.
40 (26%)

I only read outside my genre so I don't contaminate my works-in-progress
6 (4%)

I posted this question out of simple curiosity. I read so much romance that it occasionally affects my reading patterns. Even when there are books I want to read (such as some of the newer "big" historicals that are catching so much review press), I feel that I keep fresher if I save my romance reading budget for work. So for my authors's sakes, I tend to avoid reading romance when I'm doing a lot of editing and submissions review. When I'm more focused on the managerial work, I don't worry about that, though. Not sure there's any grand epiphany to all this, except that it seems many of you also read widely but with deliberation.

Side question. What do you do with your books when you've finished reading them? I probably give away 200 books each year, and the piles around my house still keep growing. I've taken to boxing the "keepers" and stashing them in a storage area, but then I can't get to them. Who can remember which box has the Tolstoy, and which the Wodehouse? Not me. Bookcases are lovely and all that, but really, I can only fit so many of them in a room.

So, for the bibliophiles among you ... any suggestions?



Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I am an unabashed online book trader. Yes, you can scream at me about lost sales all you want, and I'll prove you wrong.

Know why?

I've been exposed to new authors like you wouldn't believe. So when I read something by someone new, if I love it, I'll pick up the backlist. I'll go out and buy their new books as soon as they are released. And if it's something I love too much to trade again, I'll keep the copy I read in circulation and then I'll buy my own copy for my shelves.

And then, of course, if I can get my hands on a few MORE copies, I'll buy THOSE, too, and help spread the buzz.

This is not a very good way to pare down the numbers of books in your house (especially when people send you books out of the kindness of their heart, which I love 'cause it's almost always something I wanted), but it at least keeps the titles changing.

angeleque said...

I've been buying more e-books. I have 1 USB drive dedicated to my books. If it's a keeper it goes on my reader. If not, it's either deleted (when I remember) or sits on the hard drive.

Now for the print books, I have no clue. Even though I have bought more e-books and electronic versions of print books, I still have a lot of print books laying around. So far the books are in crates I get from either the gas station or convenience store (milk crates) for the keepers and re-reads. The others are donated and given away or sold to UBS.

Dave Shaw said...

What do I do with books after I read them? I argue with my wife about them, mainly - she wants me to get rid of some, and I try to avoid doing it. I don't have nearly as many as it sounds like you do, though.

Ian said...

You could get yourself a Kindle and start buying eBooks at a deep discount.

In fact, I even know where you could start.



Anonymous said...

BookMooch takes excellent care of my book habit. I know that the book is going to a good home. :D

Anonymous said...

I cannot throw away or even give away my books - I am a book hoarder and so is my husband. We have bookcases in every room of the house. Though, am starting to think we need to think about turning the garage into an archive and installing a compactus or ten.

Either that or buy a warehouse.

Kathleen Oxley said...

The hubby and I do a purge about once a year to try to weed out books we think we can now live without. But, we still don't seem to have extra room on our shelves.

He buys more books than I do. I am getting more and more into ebooks and I'm also a big fan of using the library.

When I do finish a book I've enjoyed, I usually try to find a friend to share it with. I actually mailed off a box of books to a friend recently that I lovingly referred to as her "Vampire Porn Care Package." (Love the paranormal romance!)


Anonymous said...

I can't bear to give a book away, whether or not I'll ever read it again. I've been known to scavange books from an apartment building dumpster when I first moved to Australia and didn't have much money. I have bags of books in my 'junk' room, as well as shelves in my office, my living room and the guest room. I also collect cookbooks, so they're in my kitchen and pantry, as well as a shelf in the dining room. I love books!

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

I am a total book hoarder. I have 20's of tubs in my attic, stacked up like the crates at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark! When I can bear to part with books, I give them to somebody specific, like the housebound romance-devouring mother of a friend of mine or the retirement center where we have RWA meetings. Sometimes to my mom's teeny local library if it's a hardback. However, in the best interests of my attic and the environment, I am trying to buy more electronic versions of books (which obviously I don't give away)!

Jody W.

Anonymous said...

One of the benefits of moving to The Frozen North from the Gulf Coast was discovering basements! My husband and I are both readers, so you can imagine what we have. That said, I give a bunch of books away by taking them to my RWA chapter meetings (especially those I bring back from conferences) and to the book sale of my chapter of the American Association of University Women, which uses the money to fund fellowships for women. But then, I still have the problem of the "keepers," and I'm one of those people who does read her books again.

Well, at least the house won't sink!

Ann Macela

Gail Dayton said...

My ideal office will have bookshelves all the way around, with the desk in the middle. And I will probably still have books piled on the floor and double-stacked on the shelves and in boxes in the garage--which is really not a good idea when you live on a coastal barrier island...

I do give books away (mostly to the library, but also to friends and my RWA chapter), and trade them in, but they still accumulate...

I try to write author names on the outside of the garage boxes, but... Oh, and I do re-read too. In fact, I've bought additional copies when I couldn't find the book I wanted to re-read.

Genella deGrey said...

I have a bookshelf that is over-flowing, but organized. All books therein are romance. (I also have a reference library, but those books I keep separate.)

On one shelf are my “Golden Books” – the hardbacks of my favorite Jude Deveraux & Judith McNaught books. I have another shelf (double-stacked) of my keepers/re-reads, a shelf of books autographed by my RWA friends and chapter mates (also double-stacked), a shelf way up top for my erotic romances (which is really close to double-stack status), a shelf stuffed-full of TBR, (To Be Read – where they remain until assimilated into the Borg of Books), and a shelf that gets the books that I just couldn’t finish.

The books I will never finish get donated to my chapter meetings once or twice a year. Our chapter has opportunity drawings where one can buy a ticket for .50 for a chance to win a gently used book. This keeps unwanted books from piling up and helps our chapter.

Yes, I know, ‘unwanted books’ sounds harsh, but some plot lines just get beaten into the ground until I can no longer stand it, and I must move on.


Edittorrent said...

Gail, I'm with you. An old-fashioned library/office with bookcases all around, now that's good design!

I've taken to putting short bookcases in my closets. They're short enough that you can still hang blouses and skirts over them, and narrow enough that you can still put shoes or bags in front of them on the floor.

Does anyone use bookcrossing?

Anonymous said...

Bookcrossing? Don't know that term.
I do double shelve paperbacks, though.

That is an excellent ideaa to put bookcases in closets!! Winner idea for the day.

Anonymous said...

I hardly ever get rid of boks. If I'm never going to read them again, and desperately need the space, then I may give a few to Oxfam. Mostly, though, I just buy more bookcases, and soon shall buy a bigger flat so I have more space to put new bookcases.

writtenwyrdd said...

I keep them! I just built three built-in bookcases and filled them up immediately. I have a bookcase to fill 3-deep before storage becomes critical. That's probably another 300 books. When I top 2,000 books I'm going to be in trouble.

I actually re-read books, generally several times apiece. I've read some books ten or more times, a few many more than that. So I need access!

but for many of the recent reads which I deem crap, I have a recycle pile. I list a few on Amazon, give a few away, and trade some in at the local swap shop. But I keep 9 out of ten.

Edittorrent said...

I send my extra books to my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law, both in retirement homes, so if they don't like the book, they can give it to a neighbor.

NS Foster said...

I've never had more than a single bookshelf for my books. Until just recently, I've never had the space for any more than one shelf. The result is a very selective bookcase and I'm thankful for the lesson. Most of the books on my shelf are to-be-reads because it's so hard to earn a permnant place. If I'm not in love with you--and I'm a picky enough reader as it is--you're going to the used book store, the Sally Ann, the library....

Anonymous said...

I've reached the point in my life where I've started to weed out my bookshelves. The reason is not just that I've run out of space to expand into, but that I've found too many books a drain on my energy. At my last house I ended up not-shelving a lot of books I loved, simply because I had unshelved others first.

I've also noticed a trend to reach for easily accessible books. They're not always the books I want to read, just the nearest and easist-to-get-into. Often those are books that sounded ok and which I got cheap. And when I read them, I don't enjoy them a lot and I am left with a general meh feeling about reading. Took me a while to recognise that pattern. So I've looked critically at not just how much I was reading, but which books, and weeded out the microwave meals.

To my surprise, the threshhold for 'do I read or do I do something else' hasn't really moved. Yes, it takes more effort to get into books, but with a better quality of books I am rediscovering just why I used to enjoy reading so much.

Getting rid of books I don't really love means that I have more space and time for the books I *do* - and that I can bring more books into my life without feeling guilty about already having so many and not rereading them as often as I would like.

I've initiated a shelf of books that are useful from a writerly standpoint - mostly books that don't work for me, which in this manner I can keep around without feeling compelled to read them.

I never thought I'd be a person who would get rid of books, but it's quite liberating.

Anonymous said...

Here I thought I was the one who had the most books in her home. You guys outshine me.

I keep only books I would re-read. The rest I give away to whomever.

I do have a shelf of books waiting to be read. When I begin to run out of reading, I start looking for more. I tend to buy books in multiples. My last book order was five books.

I don't know where the rumor started that people don't read any more. That's not true in my world.


Renee said...

I keep my books. Although, I noticed at my grandmother-in-laws retirement community they had a very small library of books on their shelves. I thought about donating my books to them, but I just can't bring myself to it.