Tackling My Book Backlog
My Fall classes are winding down, and I feel I have a firm grasp on my grades; I’m confident I’m going to end this semester doing well. Because I’m doing so well, I don’t feel like I have to devote all of my time to studying anymore. Knowing me, I’ll still devote a large chunk of time to studying, but I want to encourage myself to relax and do things away from school that I enjoy. Things like playing video games and reading novels. I used to read all the time. I haven’t read (for fun) since school started in August.
My problem is deciding what to read. I have a Kindle, and I have an Amazon wishlist with books that look interesting to me. When they drop in price, I usually snag them up whether I have time to read them then or not. I never buy a book at full price, so I’ve gotten some great deals, but what’s happened is I have ended up with a huge backlog of books sitting unopened on my device. What’s worrisome is I probably have over a hundred dollars worth of books just sitting there. I decided to make a list of them to motivate myself to bust through some of these. Lists always help me.
- Arenson, Daniel: Earth Alone
- Blatty, William Peter: The Exorcist
- Bloch, Robert: Psycho
- Bray, Michael: Feed
- Brown, Dan: Angels & Demons
- Clegg, Douglas: The Children’s Hour
- Clegg, Douglas: You Come When I Call You
- Crichton, Michael: Jurassic Park
- Cross, Amy: The Curse of Wetherly House
- Crouch, Blake: Abandon
- Crouch, Blake: Pines (29%)
- Crouch, Blake: Run
- Dashner, James: The Maze Runner
- Del Toro, Guillermo: The Strain
- Everson, John: Covenant (63%)
- Everson, John: The Pumpkin Man
- Everson, John: Sacrifice
- Gaiman, Neil: Neverwhere
- Grisham, John: A Time to Kill
- Grisham, John: The Firm
- Grisham, John: The Pelican Brief (44%)
- Harris, Thomas: Black Sunday
- Harris, Thomas: Hannibal
- Herbert, James: Fluke
- Herbert, James: The Fog
- Herbert, James: Haunted
- Hill, Joe: Heart-Shaped Box (71%)
- Hill, Joe: Horns
- Hynd, Noel: Ghosts
- Keene, Brian: Complex
- Ketchum, Jack: Joyride
- Ketchum, Jack: Offspring
- King, Stephen: The Shining
- Lindsay, Jeff: Darkly Dreaming Dexter
- Little, Bentley: The Mailman
- Martin, George R. R.: A Game of Thrones
- Menapace, Jeff: Bad Games
- Moore, James A. and Jeff Strand: The Haunted Forest Tour
- Novik, Naomi: Uprooted
- Palahniuk, Chuck: Lullaby (14%)
- Patterson, James: Along Came a Spider
- Pyle, Daniel: Dismember
- Razevich, Alexis: Khe
- Rice, Anne: Interview With the Vampire
- Robinson, Jeremy: Kronos
- Roux, Madeleine: Asylum
- Rollo, Gord: Jigsaw Man
- Rollo, Gord: The Translators
- Rollo, Gord: Valley of the Scarecrow (75%)
- Shusterman, Neil: Unwind
- Sigler, Scott: Infected
- Skipp, John and Cody Goodfellow: Jake’s Wake
- Smith, Bryan: Kayla and the Devil
- Strand, Jeff: Wolf Hunt
- Tardif, Cheryl Kaye: Children of the Fog
- Torbert, R. J.: The Face of Fear
I have 56 unread books. I guess I should explain.
If I read a book and enjoy it, I will look for other books by that author. That’s why I have so many books by Jeff Strand, John Grisham, Gord Rollo, James Herbert, etc.
I’ve began several books that I haven’t finished. The titles above that have percentages in parenthesis beside them were started but weren’t finished for whatever reason. I either got busy with something like work or school, or I got bored with the book and attempted to push my way through it.
It bothers me when I don’t finish a book. I know that I’m reading for fun, and when it becomes not fun anymore, I should move on, but it’s so hard for me. The books with percentages beside them above will eventually be finished. My problem is when I get to a point in a book where I have to force myself to read it, I stop reading altogether, and won’t read anything else because I feel guilty for not finishing that book. It’s silly and awful, I know. I’ve decided to compromise with myself by laying out some rules:
If I find myself having to force myself through a book before the 40% mark, I plan to drop it completely. I have very little free time, and I don’t want to spend that time forcing myself through 60%+ of a book that I’m not enjoying.
If I make it past 40% of the book, I clearly enjoyed something about it and the book has a big chance to redeem itself. I won’t give up on these books and will give them a Girl Scout’s Try (read: the books will eventually be finished).
I will not hold myself to reading just that book, though. That was my whole problem before. If I was reading one book, I wouldn’t allow myself to read other books until I finished it. I’m going to try to read more than one book at a time going forward. As long as I’m making progress on the book I’m not enjoying as much, why shouldn’t I read other books I do enjoy?
I’m going to try not to purchase new books until I until I drop below 40 on my unread list, so my initial goal in clearing my book backlog is to read 16 books. I think 16 books is a reasonable goal. I should honestly try not to buy more books until I have 20 or fewer unread books in my backlog, but I don’t want to deprive myself forever. Buying books when they are on sale like I’ve been doing is economical, and I’m sure I’m going to come across books I really want to read.
To start tackling this goal, I am going to pick up the book I started and dropped that I’ve made the most progress through and work down for Book 1 (since I’m reading two books at a time). Hopefully, I remember its characters and what’s going on, and am not lost. If I am lost, I will consider restarting it. I honestly don’t remember why I dropped half of these. When I finish it, I’ll replace it with another book I have started and haven’t finished. My second book, Book 2, will be a new book I haven’t started yet. I’m thinking and hoping that I’ll be able to read it faster than Book 1 because it will be fresh, and because I hopefully won’t be forcing myself through it like I probably will be with Book 1.
If a new book I read past 40% becomes tiresome and I find myself having to force myself to read, I will continue making progress through Book 1 and Book 2, and when Book 1 is finished, Book 2 will replace it as the book I’m forcing myself through, and I’ll select a new book for Book 2.
This all makes sense in my head.
I know it’s complicated, and you guys are thinking, geez, Todd, why are you planning this out so much? But that’s just part of who I am, I think. I identified a problem (I wasn’t finishing books because I felt “stuck” on books I had to force myself through), and my natural inclination is to devise a plan to combat it.
We’ll see how this works out!
The books I’ve selected to begin are The Valley of the Scarecrow (I’m currently 75% through) by Gord Rollo for Book 1, and Jake’s Wake by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow for Book 2.
Let the fun begin!