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Does anyone else out there have a “to-read” pile of books that may soon take over an entire room in your house?  Well, I guess mine’s not really quite THAT big…yet.   It just FEELS that big, when I (guiltily) look over at it, on my way to do some other sort of non-reading activity.   Like writing, for instance.

Now, before I go too far down this “my to-read pile is crushing my very soul!” path…I want to state for the record that I LOVE to read! Of course I love to read! One of the top reasons that I write  is because I love reading, and one day I hope to have a book buried somewhere (not too deep) in someone else’s giant to-read pile.

An invitation to adventure, escape and wonder, or a condemnation of my time management skills?

An invitation to adventure, escape and wonder, or a condemnation of my time management skills?

I’d say I have an average amount of time to read.  I have an average assortment of work, family, and other commitments that take up an average amount of my day.  I read at an average pace and have an average number of bad habits that might distract me from reading (some nights I just gotta flop on the couch with my remote control…)  So why do I feel so desperately far behind in my reading?

I think there are a number of factors that contribute to the gigantic (whimper) nature of my to-read pile:

  1. I cast a wide net. I love reading all sorts of genres—my pile contains everything from “guilty pleasure” fiction (yes, Fifty Shades of Grey is still languishing in my to-read pile) to literary prize winners (some from many years ago, though…) There’s also young adult, mysteries, fantasy, memoirs, biographies, some classics, and many ‘how-to-be-a-better-writer’ books.
  2. I’m lucky to have friends who also love to read- and therefore I get great suggestions on what to read ‘next’ (sometimes ‘next’ for me is two or three years down the road, though…so if I borrowed a book from you—sorry about the delay in returning it! But I will, I swear.)
  3. I (re)discovered the library!  Sometimes I walk out of there with a very large stack of books. Ack!
  4. For some reason I tend to read books that are actually really just the first book in a series, and of course I get sucked in and have to read them all. (Deborah Harkness—I’m still waiting for the 3rd book in your ‘All Souls’ trilogy! Please oh please make it under 700 pages!)
  5. Since I’ve officially declared myself to be ‘A Writer’ and now rub shoulders with other writers… I have friends and friends-of-friends with published books! (BRAVO! Those go straight to the top of the pile, of course!)
  6. I enjoy reading the work of some very prolific writers… especially when it comes to my “guilty pleasure” books.  Janet Evanovich, do you ever sleep?
  7. Some items in my to-read “pile” are really just in my mind—I have a huge mental list of titles (recent releases, local authors, Irish stuff) that I would like to read, but I haven’t  bought or borrowed yet.

Oh, I could go on, but I won’t.  (So don’t get me started on my giant pile of unread magazines…)

I know reading makes me a better writer (and human being), and I can’t bear to part with any of my ‘to-read’ books—I really want to read them all! So, I guess I’m looking for some ideas on how to manage this situation.

Do you indulge your every “I want to read that!” whim and have an out of control pile of books like me?   How do you prioritize what to read when there is such a cornucopia of riches to choose from? How do you balance reading and writing time? I’d really like to know!