june nick hornby copycat

Books Bought This Month
The Insects of Love by Genevieve Valentine
Guillotine #7: Hags by Jenny Zhang

Books Received/Acquired This Month
Artful by Peter David (Kindle First)
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Edelweiss ARC)
Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews (Edelweiss ARC)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (audiobook) (Audiobook Sync)
The Hiding Place by Carrie Ten Boom (audiobook) (Audiobook Sync)
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (Edelweiss ARC)
Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky (Netgalley ARC)
The Fire Wish by Amber Lough (Netgalley ARC)
Global Voices: Picture Books from Around the World by Susan Stan (for review)
Science…For Her! by Megan Amram (Edelweiss ARC)
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (Audiobook Sync)
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (Audiobook Sync)

Books Borrowed This Month
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff
Cambridge by Susanna Kaysen
The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer
An Education by Nick Hornby
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Mirrors of American Culture: Children’s Fiction Series in the Twentieth Century by Paul Deane
Sisters, Schoolgirls, and Sleuths: Girls’ Series Books in America by Carolyn Carpan
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove
Starbird Murphy and the World Outside by Karen Finneyfrock
Nil by Lynne Matson
Blessing’s Bead by Debby Dahl Edwardson
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett
Long Division by Kiese Laymon
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Safekeeping by Karen Hesse
St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett
Yoga by Elizabeth Silas
Outside In by Sarah Ellis
Bad Houses by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil
The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
(okay, probably the last batch of “stocking up” for my non-vacation summer in which I think I will read 100000 books)

Books Finished This Month
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan (audiobook)
The Infinite Wait and Other Stories by Julia Wertz
The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
The Blood Confession by Alisa M. Libby
Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood
Bad Houses by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil
Sisters, Schoolgirls, and Sleuths: Girls’ Series Books in America by Carolyn Carpan

It seems a really productive month of reading (May) is always followed by a super fail (this month). that’s terrible, because I’ve been checking out more books than ever. This is great, because I have options, but it’s also making me realize how much stress and anxiety I cause myself…over reading. Reading. A thing I do for the joy of it. It stresses me out. And I don’t know what to do about it. Surely some of it has to do with having my reading on social media. Before GoodReads, I just read books when I felt like it and how I felt like it. But GoodReads isn’t just a social media crutch for me; it’s also an amazing reader’s advisory tool, a professional networking tool, and an organizer. So I can’t get rid of it.

I also learned how to treat reading as stressful because it has become more and more of a thing that involves deadlines. There was grad school, where I had to read tons of certain books by certain dates. There was book reviewing, when I had to read by a certain day so I would have time to write. And there was the Morris Award committee, where no matter how many books I read all year, I was always behind. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy any of those things; I LOVED THEM. But they didn’t really teach me how to manage my anxiety, and that’s something I’ve always been prone to. I like to pretend I don’t have it because I function well under pressure, but I do.

Lately, what it’s amounted to is that when I’ve finished reading something, I look at the pile of ARCs and library checkouts and books I bought years ago, and I flip through my Kindle, and I’m so overwhelmed that I just stare at the television and zone out. Like, really. I haven’t even been watching TV I care about, because I wouldn’t want to waste my brainlessness on it. I’m just frozen, doing nothing, because what if I pick the wrong book? It’s stupid, but truly, I can’t tell you how many hours I spent this month doing something that I actively disliked and was bored by, all because I was too overwhelmed by the reading material I have.

I’ve gotten a bit better at not wanting to read stuff. I don’t need to, at least not this year, read every single YA book that comes out. I don’t need to read every single thing the students tell me is good (I already committed to a couple of them). I don’t even have to read it just because reviews say it’s good. Or because people tell me I’ll like it.

That last one, I never felt particularly committed to, because mostly it was people I like but not who knew anything about what I read telling me what they liked. Kind of the reverse of reader’s advisory, if you will. Every reader his book, every book its reader, but being a reader doesn’t mean I read what other people read. Whatever the more or less literary novel that’s on the bestseller list is generally not a thing I’m interested in. But now that I work in a setting where I interact with people with similar taste, or at least people who similarly want to get down to what exactly each other’s taste is, the recommendations I get from colleagues and friends are more meaningful – for the most part, their suggestions do sound like things I want to read, and I don’t want them to think I don’t value them. It may not seem that way since I have 703 titles on my to-read list, but I truly do not add a title to the list if I don’t actually find something compelling about its synopsis or the recommendation. I might delete it later, given that it takes me years to get through such an amount of books, but it wouldn’t have been there in the first place if I didn’t find it worthwhile. But also, the rate at which I add books to the list makes reading an utterly unsustainable practice. Part of that is great – it’s what reading is for, I think. If you don’t have options for what to read next, you’re doing something wrong. Or your reader’s advisory librarian is. But it’s entirely unsatisfying, especially when it leads to being even less productive a reader than I was before.

The fact even that I refer to reading as something that can be “productive” or not is anathema to everything I believe in, probably, which is why this is such a problem. I’ve rediscovered the pleasure in reading, but I need to do something about the overabundance, the utter glut of books in my life. I never thought I’d say such a thing, but I don’t want them. I want less of a library. I want fewer books. My name is Hannah, and I am an addict. And I’m admitting my problem.

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