The Two Things People who Like Reading Books Like More Than Reading Books

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City Lights Books in San Francisco. I’m planning on at least one visit to the city during my break. I just may stop by.

There are two things people who like reading books like more than reading books.  Both are so widely popular among people who like reading books, myself included, that I fell very safe making this universal statements.  I usually avoid making universal statements if I can.  They are almost always wrong.

The first thing people who like reading books like more than reading books is buying books. This is why all of us have a TBR stack, and so many of us have an insurmountable TBR stack. Some of us, people like me, are a bit beyond the pale.  I will browse through the books on the spinning rack by the counter in the truck stops along highway five halfway between Sacramento and Los Angeles.  I do it every time. And no matter where I’m going, the first thing I Google about the area is “bookstores”.  If you’re reading this,  chances are very good that you are the same way.  If you’re on a budget, I bet you have a pretty good list of holds at your local library.

Which brings me to the second thing people who like reading books like more than reading books– lists of books, making and reading them.  This why there is always a list of some sort of books over at BookRiot.com or ElectricLiterature.com or TheGuardian.co.uk and on and on.

So this week I’m on vacation.  I could read or I could make a list of books.  I’ve already made my list of favorite reads for 2016, so what sort of list should I make?

I have this small bookcase in my studio where I’ve put a bunch of books I took off of my big TBR bookshelf.  Last January, I simply ran out of room.  If I was going to keep buying more books, and I was, I would need to do something.  So I put a bunch of books on this small shelf with the pledge that if I didn’t read them by 2020 which was four years away, I would give them to the Friends of the Library book sale.

This year, I saw that again I needed more room on the TBR shelf and there was some space on this little shelf with the four year deadline, so I added some more to it with the caveat that I had until 2021 to read them. The little bookcase held 91 books.

And I made a list of them all.  I even color coded it.

Here it is:

  • Abish, Walter; How German Is It?
  • Ackerley, J.R.; My Father and Myself
  • Ackroyd, Peter; The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein
  • Anderson, Poul; The Broken Sword
  • Ballard, J.G.; The Drowned World
  • Banville, John; The Sea
  • Bester, Alfred; The Stars my Destination
  • Bester, Alfred and Zelazny, Roger; Psycho Shop
  • Blish, James; Cities in Flight
  • Blackwood, Caroline; Corrigan
  • Brooks, Terry; The Sword of Shannara
  • Bryant, Dorothy; Confessions of Madame Psyche
  • Camilleri, Andrea; The Terra-Cotta Dog
  • Chekhov, Anton; My Life
  • Claudel, Philippe; Brodeck
  • Corey, James S.A.; Caliban’s War
  • Crowley, John; The Deep
  • Dante; Inferno
  • Delany; Samuel R.; Empire Star and Babel 17
  • de Cervantes, Miguel; The Dialogue of the Dogs
  • de Motherlant, Henry; Chaos and Night
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor; The Eternal Husband
  • Ferey, Caryl; Zulu
  • Ferri, Linda; Cecili
  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott; Tender is the Night
  • Flanagan, Richard; The Narrow Road to the Deep North
  • Franklin, Miles; The End of My Career
  • Gamboa, Santiago; Necropolis
  • Georget, Philippe; Summertime and All the Cats Are Bored
  • Gille, Elisabeth; The Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by Her Daughter
  • Grimsley, Jim; Boulevard
  • Groff, Lauren; The Monsters of Templeton
  • Hammett, Dashiell; The Glass Key
  • Hensher, Philip; The Northern Clemency
  • Household, Geoffrey; Rogue Justice
  • Hughes, Richard; The Fox in the Attic
  • Hunt, Rebecca; Everland
  • Izzo, Jean-Claude; Total Chaos
  • Jerusalmy, Raphael; The Brotherhood of Book Hunters
  • Jewett, Sarah Orne; The Country of the Pointed Firs
  • Johnson, Samuel; Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia
  • Kastner, Eich; Going to the Dogs: The Story of a Moralist
  • Kemal, Yashar; They Burn the Thistles
  • Kennedy, Raymond; Ride a Cockhorse
  • Kerrigan, Gene; The Midnight Choir
  • Kingsolver, Barbara; The Poisonwood Bible
  • Kurkov, Andrey; Penguin Lost
  • Least Heat-Moon, William; Blue Highways
  • Lepucki, Edan; California
  • Martin, George R.R.; Dying of the Light
  • Mas’udi; From The Meadows of Gold
  • Miaojin, Qiu; Last Words from Montmarte
  • Moorcock, Michael; Gloriana or, The Unfulfill’d Queen
  • Ngugi, Mukoma Wa; Nairobi Heat
  • Niven, Larry; Ringworld
  • Paz, Octavio; The Labyrinth of Solitude
  • Peck, Dale; Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye
  • Piperno, Alessandro; Persecution: The Friendly Fire of Memories
  • Poe, Edgar Allan; The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
  • Pushkin, Alexander; Tales of Belkin
  • Ramsey, Alice; Alice’s Drive
  • Robbe-Grillet, Alain; Repitition
  • Rokeach, Milton; The three Christs of Ypsiilanti
  • Rooney, Jennie; Red Joan
  • Ryman, Geoff; Was
  • Sabato, Ernesto; The Tunnel
  • Schulman, Audrey; Three Weeks in December
  • Sciascia, Leonardo; The Day of the Owl
  • Serge, Victor; Conquered City
  • Shepard, Lucius; Life During Wartime
  • Sherez, Stav; A Dark Redemrption
  • Simenon, Georges; The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin
  • Simenon, Georges; Maigret in New York
  • Simenon, Georges; Night at the Crossrroads
  • Simenon, Georges; The Shadow Puppet
  • Simenon, Georges; The Two-Penny Bar
  • Sutherland, John; A Little History of Literature
  • Sypeck, Jeff; Becoming Charlemagne
  • Tepper, Sheri S.; The Gate to Women’s Country
  • Thurman, Judith; Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
  • Toibin, Colm; Brooklyn
  • Turgenev, Ivan; First Love
  • Vargas Llosa, Mario; The Feast of the Goat
  • Wallace, Alfred Russel, Borneo,, Celebes, Aru
  • White, Patrick; The Hanging Garden
  • Williams, John; Stoner
  • Williamson, Jack; Darker Than You Think
  • Wilson, Edmund; Memoirs of Hecate County
  • Yoder, Edwin M. Jr.; Lion at Lamb House
  • Yourcenar, Marguerite; Memoirs of Hadrian
  • Zackheim, Michele; Broken Colors

Books in black have until 2020; book in blue have until 2021.  I’ll probably add some more books–red, I think–at the end of 2017.

I do like making lists.

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26 Comments

  1. Teresa Camajani says:

    ‘They are almost always wrong.’ This keeps it from being a universal statement??? OR is it actually also a universal statement???

    t

    On Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 11:08 AM, James Reads Books wrote:

    > james b chester posted: ” There are two things people who like reading > books like more than reading books. Both are so widely popular among > people who like reading books, myself included, that I fell very safe > making this universal statements. I usually avoid making universa” >

  2. Terri Camajani says:

    ya coulda read a lot of books in the time it took you to make a list of books you coulda read…:)

    1. It’s true. But making the list was fun. 😉

      1. Terri Camajani says:

        I love making lists – of all kinds of things. Then I forget where I put the list. But I like the process so much that I continue to do it. My newly developing memory loss makes this both worse and better. I forget more, but also forget that I have forgotten, so it isn’t so devastating. For real!!!

  3. I love lists too! I have an excel sheet with colors indicating the genres and if I expect to read the book real soon, it is in yellow. I rarely buy a book any more, maybe four or five a year at the most. I have a tip for you, do not enter any contests or join GoodReads. That is the source of my book overload. I decided not to buy the latest Office update about $99 this year so I am hobbling along without Word! I thought of how books I could buy from my enormous Wish List.

    My latest way of dealing with the TBR book shelves is to take out five books from a shelf at time and read them, if I come to one that really don’t read, I sell it.

    What do you do when you get a book in the mail and you don’t know why you got it?. I entered for the one that I received in the mail today but I lost. There was no usual letter thanking me for entering and requesting that I post in on such and such place. I will read and review it but I guess that I will have to explain that I am not sure why I received it!

    1. I do not get any more books in the mail, unless I’ve paid for them. I had too many arcs that I didn’t like at all, so no more contest books for me. Remember, you are not obliged to read and review anything you get in the mail. You’re the one doing them a favor. Too many bloggers forget that.

      1. Thank you, you are right. I have been heading them off at the pass if an author wants me to read a genre that I cannot get interested in. I appreciate the reminder!

  4. Grad says:

    James, you are spot on about the two things people who like reading books like more than reading books. And your TBR list has given me some new ideas for my own. The two we have in common (only two??) are The Poisonwood Bible – on my list for years – and Stoner – which I cannot believe I have not read yet. Love your blog.

  5. RareBird says:

    Yes and yes! You might also add a third: reading other people’s book lists.

    1. I think you’re right. Reading lists is much more fun than it has a right to be.

  6. Judith says:

    Oh, gosh both are so true! If only I had bookstores near where I live, I would be in straights more dire than I am in now. I love your list, and in general heartily enjoy reading other readers’ lists. Thank you so much for the effort in making and sharing your list!
    Judith

    1. We’re hoping to retire to the mountins, which will mean a big reduction in the number of nearby bookstores. I expect we will become major library hounds.

  7. This post made me chuckle under my breath. It is SO true. I am so jealous City Lights is not that far away from you. LOVE that store. I am reorganising my non Penguin books onto my full wall bookshelf and I know they will not fit. I have decided to put the ones that don’t fit (not as many as on your shelf) into a box and when I need a new book I will stretch my arm into it, grab one and read it right away. If I don’t think I can do that then it leaves the house…immediately. I am committed to getting through these TBR lists. That is if the library waiting list doesn’t all come in at once. haha
    I will follow you with anticipation to see how this list goes.

    1. I wish you luck with your project. I’m at the point where I don’t have quite the emotional connection to individual physical books that I used to have. But having as many books as we do can make sorting them into keep and remove piles a very big job.

  8. alison41 says:

    I so enjoyed your post, and identified with just about 100% of content. Me too, me too – mea culpa, etc. I like the idea of p0utting a time limit on a section of the list. I find list very useful in all sorts of contexts. My TBR pile is slowly reducing. I have a modest target of reading 1 book a month, and my participation in the Reader’s Room Winter Chutes Challenge should also make inroads into the pile. I recently chucked out a selection from the TBR pile under the heading of: If I haven’t yet read this book, I’m probably never going to. Off they went to my Public Library Booksale. Happy reading.

    1. We’ll have to see how this works once 2020 comes around. I’ve been pretty good about getting rid of long-term unread books in the past, but I’ve never done it with a firm deadline like this.

  9. Liz Dexter says:

    You’re on the spot there. I need to work on my best list, which is a spreadsheet drawn from my reading journals so I know when I read a particular book and where I can find the review. For some reason, I’ve done this almost randomly, so I need to sit down and sort it out.

    Of course, I also need to read, because I suspect that one of the books I’m currently on will go on my top ten of the year list …

    1. My top ten lists usually run from mid-December to mid-December. There’s always one or two end-of-the-year books that are just terrific.

  10. Jim Randolph says:

    I’ve only read Caliban’s War and Ringworld. I liked the Corey book better.

    You are right about the lists, that’s for certain.

    I just read a kids book I think would be a good read aloud. The Best Man by Richard Peck. Don’t know how 7th graders would react, though, since they come off as the bad guys.

    1. Ringworld should go on my retirement TBR shelf since I read it when I was a kid when it first came out. I remember liking it a lot, but that was a long time ago. The Corey book is just for fun.

  11. James! Move Stoner to the top of your tbr stack! Don’t wait until 2020!

    1. I agree with JoAnne. Stoner was such an excellent, excellent book. Be interested to see what you think of it. Read it soon.

      1. Many, many people have said this. I shall consider you advice. 😉

  12. bybeebooks says:

    You have given me some good ideas for my wishlist. I also recommend Stoner!

  13. Jeanne says:

    I think you’re right, although I don’t much care for end-of-year lists, myself. Still, I have been known to make book lists.

    1. See, eventually, if you press long enough, a book lover will admit to being a list lover as well. 😉

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