All the books I meant to read – 2016 edition

goodbye-2016

2016.

Where did you go? You just whizzed on by, and I haven’t gotten to so many things I thought I’d do this year.

And by “things I thought I’d do”, I mean “books I thought I’d read”.

I thought I’d gotten much better about not buying books unless I’m sure I’ll read them… and yet, it’s somewhat embarrassing to look back at all the new books I bought this past year that I still haven’t cracked open.

Anyone who happens to read my “Monday Check-in” posts might be familiar with my “Fresh Catch” section, where I highlight the new books that came my way each week. When I look back at all of the Fresh Catch books from 2016, it’s pretty obvious that I am just not keeping up with my purchases!

But, hey. I WILL read these books. Eventually. I bought them because I wanted to read them, and I still do. More hours in a day, that’s what I need! Meanwhile, I thought I’d gather up all those Fresh Catch books from the year (excluding library books, ARCs, Kindle books, and books I picked up for $1 at the big library sale), and put together a visual reminder of all of those books I was so excited to get.

Here’s a salute to my unread books of 2016!

Save

Save

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten recent books I bought on a whim

tulips-65036_1280

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim.

Usually, my reading and buying habits are pretty planned out in advance, but the big exception is when I attend our library’s book sales every fall and spring. These sales are huge! Lasting for five days, with all books selling for $3 or less, the sales are just a mecca for booklovers, and I try never to miss them. According to the sale website, they typically have 500,000 books — amazing! Here’s a pic from the most recent book sale:

Big Book Sale Crowd

Okay, so when I first started going to the Big Book Sale (that’s its official name), I’d always take a list with me — all the books I hoped to find among the thousands and thousands of books available. Over the years, I’ve learned that I’ll always find something great, but not necessarily anything from my list.

So, long-winded introduction aside, the last time I bought books on a whim was at the spring sale, when I came home with 41 books for $58! A bunch of those were for my daughter, but here’s a shot of my amazing book haul:

image

Some of my random, on-a-whim finds from this outing are:

1) The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart

2) The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

3) The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists by Gideon Defoe

4) White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick

5) In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

6) Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn

7) Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

8) The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman

9) The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant

10) This cool-looking old grammar book (which I think is a 1940s reissue of a 1917 book) — because I can be a total nerd sometimes:

image image

What books made your list this week? Please share your links!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

Bookish Confessions: I buy books AFTER I’ve read them.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, really.

It’s not like buying a fancy dress, wearing it to prom, and then returning it after the weekend.

Nope. It’s actually much more innocuous than that.

Especially since I started blogging, I’ve become much more careful about spending my precious book dollars. The more I read, the more I’m tempted to buy… but because I read so damn much, my piggy bank could end up empty if I’m not careful!

book order pic

I’ve always been a library fan, and now I get totally excited when I get approved for an ARC that I really, really want to read. BUT — the problem arises when I read a book and end up loving it, and then I start feeling all mournful about the fact that I don’t have a nice copy of my new love sitting on my shelf, where I can pull it out and admire it, or just say hi when I walk by.

(Do I have an unhealthy relationship with my books? That’s a topic for another day.)

Book quote plato

So lately, I’ve mostly been reading borrowed books or ARCs… but then I end up falling in love, or else realize that the finished book is so gosh-darn pretty, or just can’t handle the fact that the book I just cried or laughed over lives on my Kindle, so it’s hard to pick up and hug.

Case(s) in point:

I fell in love with The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin — and couldn’t rest until I’d spent my Amazon gift card on a hardcover of my own.

I read an ARC of The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore, and really was feeling pretty satisfied about the whole thing… until my friend showed me her hardcover, with its maps and red letters and blue edges… and well, I was a goner. Bought. Done. On my shelf.

Is it a bit silly to buy a book I’ve already read? Well, maybe. Will I ever read it again? Why exactly do I need it on my shelf?

Well, it makes me happy. And yes, some I will read again. But mostly, it just warms my heart to know that the books I love are living in my house where I can see them whenever I want to.

*Humming with happiness* Why, hello there, Outlander. How’s your day going, Gone With The Wind? Wassup, The Sparrow? (Yes, my family does think I’m weird, to put it mildly.)

What about you? Do you have any odd habits when it comes to buying books? Do you ever buy books you’ve already read?

Share your bookish confessions in the comments!

I take pictures in bookstores. Is that wrong?

I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong… and yet I find myself feeling like I need to either hide or defend my actions, which would seem to indicate a disturbance in my good-conscience field.

I guess I didn’t realize just how often I end up taking pictures of books in bookstores until I was doing some clean-up of the photos on my IPhone, and found just a staggering number of these:

 

paris wife invention frankenstein expeditioners dovekeepers buncle bday boys bananasscurvysylviahouse on fire

All photos taken by me, in various bookstores, over the course of a couple of weeks. Some for me, some for my grown-up daughter, some for my 10-year-old son.

So what’s the deal? Well, look, let’s accept the premise that we can’t all buy everything we want. Limited dollars, limited space, limited amounts of time in which to actually, you know, read books. So I go, I peruse, I browse, I skim. I rarely walk out of a bookstore empty-handed. But chances are, for every single book I buy, I can probably find at least ten more that I want.

In ancient days of yore (i.e., before I had a smart phone), I used to actually take notes. Like with a pen and piece of paper. Which often was a deposit slip torn out of the back of my checkbook. Which is the thing I used to carry around in my purse before electronic bill pay. Oooh, I am so going down a rabbit hole here.

Back to the here and now. Can I help it if it’s quicker and easier to take a pic instead of pawing through my bag for a real-live (well, inanimate, to be honest) writing implement?

Look, I go into a bookstore, I see stuff I want. And if I see stuff I want, I want to remember said stuff. And chances are I won’t, because there’s too much other stuff clogging up my brain’s hard-drive at the moment.

So I take pictures of the books I want to remember. Maybe I just want to look them up later on and get a better sense of whether they’re for me. Maybe I’ve never heard of the book, but hey! it’s blurbed by an author I like! Maybe it’s something that sounds like something I’ll want to read eventually… but I might not get to it this year – or next – or quite possibly the one after that.

So I take pictures. And maybe when I get home I’ll check to see if any of the books that caught my eye are available at the library. Or possibly, next time I’m in my local used bookstore, I’ll look at the pictures to see if I can find them on the shelves. Or perhaps I’ll just add the books to my Goodreads to-read shelf, and maybe not think about them again for a few months. And yes, there might be one or two that down the road, I end up ordering from Amazon.

I think the fact that I’m writing all this is a pretty strong indicator that I have mixed feelings about the matter. After all, I want brick-and-mortar bookstores to survive and thrive. I love being able to pop in, browse, see what’s out now, see what pretty or unusual covers catch my eye. But honestly, I’m just not going to spend a ton on any given bookstore visit… but I will (oh, 9 times out of 10) buy something.

I solemnly swear that I am not using the absolutely evil scan function on my Amazon app, which I believe only exists in order to tempt us to pick up a book in the bookstore, scan it, see how much cheaper it is on Amazon, and then walk out of the store and order it online. That’s just wrong.

For the record, most of the above photos were taken over the course of a single weekend spent on a little getaway with my daughter, who loves hanging out in bookstores just as much as I do. Some of the photos are for her, some for me. We visited about five bookstores during our weekend, during which I bought her one brand-new copy of The Hobbit, ten used books (everything from Isabel Allende to good old Tolstoy), and one used book for myself (Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel). After the weekend, I sent two of the books pictured above to my daughter (via used bookstores), found used copies of a couple more for myself, and put in a request at the library for one more. As for the rest? I’d like to remember to come back to them at some point, but don’t need to read them right now.

So am I hurting bookstores by browsing a lot, buying a little, and taking lots of photos for future reference? Is this any different than my old habit of writing down zillions of book titles every time I’d enter a bookstore? I don’t think I’m causing any harm… but then why do I feel guilty?