Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Dreaded Started Book Pile

The stack of started books next to my bed has grown to just under two feet tall. I'm not messing with you. That's a tall pile of books. Kind of dangerous, really.

These are books that I couldn't get into but don't want to give up on. And I'm not afraid to give up on books, trust me. I have chucked books across the room and left them there. That's not the issue. These are books that I know have potential to be great. They probably are great. But for some reason, they have not made it out of the Dreaded Started Book Pile. There are ARCs (publishing-speak for advanced reader copies) that I don't want to surreptitiously return to the bookstore (we have a policy that you aren't allowed to return ARCs...I guess they want to encourage us to read them, or they're worried that the place will collapse under the weight of them all. Either way.). There are new books I bought thinking I would absolutely love. There are books I've borrowed from the store to read and review (another perk of being an independent bookseller. It could also be seen as voluntary unpaid work. Either way.). There are books I started and actually liked but which, for whatever reason, got shuttled down the pile in favor of another book.

What does this precariously tall pile of books say about me? That I make bad snap judgments? That I take on way too much? That I lack the focus and sheer words-per-minute speed of the seasoned book reviewer? Or worse, that I just can't commit? Whichever reason it is, decisions need to be made. Some of these books will never be read by me. I just need to accept that. The pile must be winnowed down soon before it collapses like the leaning tower of books that it is and squashes my cat.

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