Friday, October 27, 2006

The Dreaded To-Be-Read "Pile"

Patrick, over at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, has dared us all to reveal the contents of our to-be-read piles. While I don't have time enough to type in all of the titles, I can give you an overview, since -- inspired by him -- I've just measured my shelves.

My unread shelves total about eighty-seven and a half feet (a thousand and fifty inches). The books range in size from a quarter inch to two inches, so let's call it about three books per two inches for a rough average -- that gives me about fifteen hundred unread books. In recent years, I'm averaging reading about three hundred twenty books a year, of which roughly 62 percent (or one hundred ninety-eight books) were for myself (and not for work). At that rate, if I don't add any more books to the stack, I can finish up everything I already have in only about seven and a half years.)

Some of the things I have to read, choosing one book semi-randomly from each distinct area or pile, are:
  • The Rainbow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, illustrated by Michael Hague
  • A History of Britain (three volumes) by Simon Schama
  • The Plot by Will Eisner
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
  • American Poetry (Library of America, probably edited by someone, in four very large volumes)
  • The Letters of Evelyn Waugh edited by Mark Amory
  • Collected Poems by Philip Larkin
  • The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco
  • The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  • Yaleen by Ian Watson
  • White Time by Margo Lanagan
All of those books share two things in common: 1) I can read their titles, more or less, from where I'm sitting now, and 2) I'm not likely to get to any of them this year.

2 comments:

angela said...

hey, i found a link to your blog from lurking in ec.arts.sf.written.

i was going to say your list had something else in common.. that i hadn't heard of any of them, but you had to throw in Ulysses. so never mind.

Anonymous said...

I used to keep a to-read pile, but I eventually realized that it never shrank. It was just no match for my nasty little habit of going out an buying 2 or 3 books, and then finding some Shiny! New! thing to distract me just after I had finished the first one.

These days I just put my new purchases into my regular bookcases. There have been a few occasions when it came time to prune a shelf because I needed space, and I ended up giving away some books I never got around to reading.

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