I know lots of people have stacks of books on their bedside table. I realize that's a thing. But if you work with books in any capacity (bookselling, publishing, editing, etc.), my guess is that you don't have a stack of books, you have PILES OF BOOKS. There is totally a difference. The difference is that a stack of books is manageable and normal and a GIGANTIC UNRULY PILE OF BOOKS quickly becomes unmanageable and a one-way ticket to crazytown.
Every few months I come to a frightening conclusion: there are too many damn books in the GIGANTIC UNRULY PILE and someday I'm going to jump out of bed and break my ankle or at least slip and get really annoyed. My test for this is when I notice Marc has to balance his hands precariously on the edge of the bed with his feet up against the PILE and leeeeeaaaaaan in to kiss me goodbye in the morning. No good will come of this: either he'll knock the PILE over or he'll just get too fed up with me and I'll die a spinster. So, not to be dramatic or anything, but last night it was time to tidy. Here's my scientific system: I create new PILES, hopefully smaller, but usually just more, which I then scatter about the apartment in a way that makes me feel like I dealt with them. Feel free to use my system with your own crazy book problem if you like.
Here are the PILES I create:
1. Books I have to read IMMEDIATELY.
2. Books I have to read IMMEDIATELY because they look amazing.
3. Books I have to read IMMEDIATELY because I promised the sales rep I would.
4. Books I have to read IMMEDIATELY because they come out in 6 months and I want to be able to tweet about them and make people jealous.
5. Books I have to read IMMEDIATELY because they come out next month and crap how have I not read this yet? (in descending order of how quickly I can read them)
6. Books I have to read IMMEDIATELY because they are already out, and oh never mind I'm never going to get to them (but obviously I'm going to keep them = New Pile)
7. Books I have to read IMMEDIATELY because I read the first half and why the hell can't I just commit already?
8. Books I have to read IMMEDIATELY because I bought them and they are so beautiful and shiny and hardcovery, okay never mind, it's not in the cards, they'll just go in the shelving PILE.
9. And the tiniest pile: why did I bring this book home in the first place and how should I get rid of it?
The next day, I'll point to the smaller piles by the bed and say, "Look Marc, I tidied!" hoping against hope that he won't ask any questions about ALL THE OTHER PILES SCATTERED ALL OVER THE APARTMENT.