Imyril did it, and I’m a dirty thief.
You have 20,000 books in your TBR, how in the world do you decide what to read next?
Currently, complete and utter whim. I’ve borrowed the Wimsey family motto — “as my whimsy takes me” — and applied it to my reading. When I start feeling like I “should” read something, I distrust it. Making reading into an obligation sounds less than fun.
If there’s nothing that immediately strikes my fancy, I’ll go with book club choices, stuff I’m due to review, random number generators, or holding the bunnies up to the shelves to pick for me. They mostly take this philosophically.
You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you put it down or are you committed?
I’m trying to put them down a little more often. I’ve trained myself into accepting a book won’t be for me, lately, but it takes work to remind myself there’s no obligation here.
However, there is a sort of grey area where for whatever reason a book isn’t living rent-free in my brain, even though I’m mildly enjoying it, and I’ll accidentally start something else instead, get distracted, and come back six months later having forgotten half the story. These books live on the shelf above my desk, and I’ve never really got the hang of how to deal with them.
The end of the year is coming and you’re behind on your reading challenge, do you try to catch up? And if so, how?
I’m trying not to be too attached to reading challenges, lately. It helps that I’ve more or less quit Goodreads, since they have a bug causing my books to sort wrongly and have admitted they’re never going to bother fixing it or even applying the temporary fix for me. (They’ve told me I can do it myself, but with 4k book records, I’ll pass, thanks.)
The covers of a series you love do not match, how do you cope?
Actually, this is another thing I’ve tried to let go of. If I’m collecting a series because I already know and love it, I’ll go to some lengths to get matching covers, but mostly I have books to enjoy and not to obsess over how they look. Uniformity pleases me, but I’m not unduly worried.
(I have literal, as opposed to convenient “oh I’m so OCD!” obsessive-compulsive tendencies, so it’s never wise for me to let myself get caught up in something too much. Hence I’ve also broken my habits of only stopping reading after even-numbered chapters, for instance.)
Everyone and their mother loves a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?
I mostly don’t care. If it’s abjectly stupid about Arthuriana or Wales in general, I might DM Lynn O’Connacht, or rant about it to my twitter following. My mother comes in for some texts of outrage, as well, especially if the book is pop-science. Otherwise, my wife is the usual suspect; I have referred to her as my “auxiliary processing unit”, and that holds for literature as much as anything else.
You’re reading a book in public and you’re about to start crying. How do you deal?
I’m not sure this has ever happened to me. I’ve only just learned to cry again after medication for anxiety and depression evened me out so much I couldn’t, though. I’d probably just power through it and ignore my eyes stinging.
The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?
Yep! I love rereading, and will sometimes reread the first book of a series many many times if the series goes on a long time. This doesn’t bother me; if I’m sticking with the series, I probably really like it.
If it’s the sequel to a book I just liked, then I may actually never read it because I don’t want to spare the time to reread the first. I’m not a “plunge in and hope I remember” type.
You do not want anyone to borrow your books, how do you politely say no when someone asks?
I don’t. I am very bad at saying no. Hence my mother still has my original copy of Kerry Greenwood’s Blood and Circuses after two or three years, and I’ve simply ended up replacing it! My mother and I have a serious disagreement about the creasing of book spines, so I try to get her the ebook instead when I can.
You have picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?
I probably read The Goblin Emperor or Strange Practice, or pick up a non-fiction read to clear my palate. Or sometimes I just ride out the slump and wait for my mojo to come back. Nobody’s paying me to read, it’s not my job.
There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read, how many do you end up buying?
However many my budget allows. That can be a lot; I know myself well and allocate a good chunk of each month’s budget to books.
After you purchase all of these books that you’re dying to read how long do they sit on your shelves before you get to them?
It can be years. There are some books that have been on the TBR since 2011. I actually just did a massive clear-out, and am trying to adhere a bit more to one of Marie Kondo’s statements about books: “For books, timing is everything. The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it.”
Obviously I don’t follow through to the end of the quote, which recommends curating a very small book collection — mine is 300+ books now, even after a massive cull. But lately I’m trying to engage that when it comes to new books, and prioritise them so I can capture the spark of interest that made me buy it in the first place.
Alrighty. Who’s surprised by any of this? Interested to know if I defy any expectations! Or maybe I’m an open book…