You know what my problem is, of course. There are too many things I want to do--books and magazines I want to read, needlework projects I want to spend time with, movies I want to watch, letters I want to write . . . but I don't have enough time in which to do them all. And to make matters worse, I am seriously spoiled for choice when it comes to books. Everything sounds so good. And when other readers talk about what they're reading--those books sound good, too. For me it is a vicious cycle. I can be perfectly contented with whatever I happen to be reading at the moment, but then the lure of something new (or something old, or something I had been reading and then set aside and now want to get back to) is just too strong for me to resist, so I keep adding new books to my reading pile. I know I go on and on about this, but I can't seem to get out of this reading cycle.
Since it is a new month I've had to revamp my said pile. Only one month into the year I've had to do a book shuffle, which has resulted in yet another pile of bedside books (joining the one that has been sitting there for longer than I care to admit).
I'm sure I've mentioned it numerous times before, but have I ever shared a photo of it? Or, them. Book piles are like dandelions. Left unattended they spread. Last year's pile (in the back) has been joined (already) by this year's pile. Actually only a few of the books in the pile in the front are books that have gotten relegated to the floor from their spot on the night stand. A few are books that I am anticipating reading (like that top NYRB book).
I need to learn how to prioritize better. And how to focus on what I am reading now rather than what I want to be reading later. Honestly, I am a faithful and dedicated sort of person, but when it comes to books I feel most disloyal. I cave in to my whims and desires at the drop of a pin. And this is what happens. One bedside pile turns into two.
And now I have a confession to make. I've not give up on Camilla. Not at all. But she has been relegated to the bedside pile in favor of returning to John Steinbeck's East of Eden (at least I'm not ignoring both in favor of yet another new classic, though the thought had crossed my mind). You know how sometimes you really want to read a book, and when you have the book in hand and are reading away you are quite contented with it. But when you set it down for a day or two you find yourself wanting to pick up some other book entirely. That's what's happening at the moment. Normally I wouldn't bother mentioning this. I mean just how many people are all that interested in the minutiae of my reading life anyway? But I made such a thing about announcing my excitement about reading Camilla and then have fizzled so ignominiously at it. Of course sometimes thinking about a project and writing about it and promising myself to write about it weekly does work, as I am thoroughly enjoying my weekly short story reading.
So my sidebar, at the moment anyway, should match what I am actually reading. I still am working on Frances Burney's Journals and Letters. I'm past the halfway mark of Susan Howatch's Cashelmara. Ditto for Kate O'Brien's The Last of Summer and Christina Hardyment's Heidi's Alp (these last two being from The List--am very determined this year to read more, maybe all, books from it). The Twain and the McPherson are my Novella and NYRB reads from January. And I've just added Helen MacInnes's Above Suspicion to my pile, which I have been eagerly awaiting (it's a new reissue and am very excited to see her books coming back into print!) and was kindly sent from the publisher.
It's mostly guilt (which I know is silly) that has driven this post, but also a need to reprioritize my reading pile. Last month had lots of readalongs and this month will hopefully be mostly catching up on my own books that were 'neglected' in favor of others.
Do you stick a book out regardless if another is calling out to you? Or do you give in to whim and mood and move on if the desire for another book/another story is greater? I just need to find a happy medium between the two.