Book Hoarding

Hi. My name is Eliza, and I’m a hoarder.

Well, a hoarder of books, anyway. (And okay, office supplies, too, but we’re not talking about that.)

Pretty much all of my friends are geeks and readers, so collectively they own lots and lots of books, but no one has quite the collection I do. Some of this could be a space issue, because people living in a small apartment are obviously not going to have as much room for bookcases as me in my 2400 sq ft house.

But really, I had almost as many when I was in a small apartment.

I honestly don’t know what the exact count is. I’ve done a few estimates by counting the number of books on one shelf and then multiplying by the number of shelves (approximately 1100 books), but that doesn’t even count my massive Kindle library. The strangest part — the part that even I don’t get — is that I haven’t read 80% of them, but I keep buying more.

I do periodic clean-outs. Sometimes I buy books (almost always used) that just look like my thing, and either I try them and set them aside, thinking they might appeal at a later date, or I just leave them there for the day I’m in the mood. After they’ve had a place for awhile, I’ll give up on getting to them and trade them for other books. Just a couple of months ago, I gave up and traded in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy after ten years sitting on my shelf — after my third unsuccessful attempt to read book 1. I’ve been known to trade a book and buy it back years later, too. Sometimes they need a second chance.

Mostly, they just sit there. I like knowing I’ve got them there if I want them. I can be a very moody, picky reader. Even though I adore my Kathy Reichs, sometimes I just can’t read them. The same goes for Meg Cabot or Barbara Michaels or Stephen King or any of my other favorites. It’s for similar reasons that I can’t read series straight through. The idea of wanting to read something and not having anything that fits the bill sets me panicking.

Middle grade favorites, YA romances, YA fantasies, YA dystopia, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, classics, suspense, horror, non-fiction books on writing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels, Jane Austen continuations, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, literary fiction, humor . . . I might be in the mood for any one of them, come tomorrow! I must have them!

The problem that brings, though, is that I always have a terrible time choosing what to read next. If my mood doesn’t swing me toward a particular genre or book, then it’s like throwing a dart at my bookshelf and seeing what I hit. (Knowing my typical dart game, the first shot will hit right where I’m aiming — that stack of Meg Cabot cliffhangers looks pretty good — and after that each subsequent shot will hit a random spot on the wall next to my bookshelf.)

Now my hoarding has spread to my Kindle. I’ve got TONS of awesome-looking books on there, many of which I got for free. EReaderIQ is gonna be the death of me, I swear, and I’m pretty choosy (see above, re: moody and picky). And the Overdrive selection from my library – gah! Too many books!

Yeah, okay, I love it. Not-so secretly.

Off to choose something to read.

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