Monday 8 December 2008

Crunchy Books

Julie, in the dovegreybooks Yahoo Group so many of my bookish suggestions come from, emailed a link to this article today, about tbr (to-be-read) piles, and the Credit Crunch Beating tactic of reading books already on the shelves, rather than buying new ones. Or rather, his article was all about the difficulty of doing this. The article has a veritable plethora of links to other relevant blogs and articles, and I'm adding another link to the chain - but do go and read what Sam Jordison wrote; it might strike a chord.

This has come up recently. I know some regular Stuck-in-a-Book readers are noble folk who don't buy in haste, use libraries, read books on the bookcase before heading to the local bookshop. More of us, perhaps, are inveterate book buyers.

Now, (Ooo, semi-political tone alert) I don't really think the Credit Crunch is *quite* as world-shaking as the newspapers would have us believe. The very rich are getting slightly less rich; the rest of us have to pay more for petrol and pasta, apparently, but it's not 1929 and I'm still going to buy books. What Jordison, and Bookninja who inspired the article, have trouble with is not wanting to read the books on their bookshelf. Sometimes not with the best of reasons... I quote:

As I scanned my shelves, I found I had convincing arguments why I shouldn’t read each one of the orphans — or convincing to me anyway. I rejected a book called “English, August,” by Upamanyu Chatterjee because it is, after all, November. No to “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” by Robert Tressell because the book jacket says it’s about “the desperate lives of working people.” No to “The Unconsoled” by Kazuo Ishiguro because I heard it wasn’t nearly as good as “Remains of the Day” or “Never Let Me Go.”

Not the problem, here. I really, really want to read so many of my books. Time is the thing. And having to read books for Book Groups or university or... or...

Shall we take a little look at my Must Read Very Soon shelf? It's a step above the To Be Read pile, which currently stands at about 500 books or so. I think I'll talk you through it tomorrow... the books I should have read before the end of 2009, we'll call it, for that is as urgent as things can get in the book-filled mania of my reading life.


  1. I do love seeing your books, and am looking forward to tomorrow's list.

  2. This makes me want to cry because I NEED to buy more books often or I just don't feel well.

  3. Looking forward to your list.

  4. The 'credit crunch' will, in future days, be referred to as 'the slump' (or similar) in the same way that the 'Falklands Emergency' (I think) became the 'Falklands War'. What's in a name? You'll know you've hit hard times when you have to choose between warmth and food. (Been there, got the proverbial) ... and that is when you'll find that the only reading you want to do is re-reading your comfort books!

  5. Me again - all you compulsive book-buyers... I'm sure there is therapy available!

  6. My TBR is more of a mental list as my unread books are mixed in with all the others. The downside of this is that I'm not really aware of the scale of it - or maybe that's an upside!

  7. Story of my lifee! Despite my slow reading rate, lack of funds, lack of space, a huge backlog of perfectly readable books and a supposed self-imposed 'book-buying ban', I keep amassing more and more...


  8. Very interesting, Simon - and yes, do let's see your Must Read Very Soon shelf.

  9. I agree that the media are trying to scare us all, but the reality is that my son has just been made redundant, and a close friend of mine has been desperately trying not to declare bankruptcy (she runs a small business, employing 30 people). We all enjoy vegetable soup, but book buying, of any sort will have to wait awhile. I don't mean to sound self-pitying, but whatever it is called this economic slump is hitting quite hard.


  10. Do you mean before the end of 2008, dear boy, or have you really lost all hope?
    (PS your "must-read-very-soon" shelf is just another "stage one of revision is stidying my desk and making a timetable" fantasy.)


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