My Photo

Bookish Places


Blog powered by Typepad

« Short Story Sunday: The Music Box | Main | A Countess Below the Stairs »



I generally do not stick it out with a book I'm not caring for. However, I will set aside a book that I am enjoying but get distracted from, and I occasionally pick them back up and finish them. I have had Byatt's The Children's Book 4/5ths done since October and just have not finished it! I loved it up to the point that I am at, but suddenly got tired of it. I'm not sure if I will go back to it or not. I already had to read it with a list of the characters in front of me at all times, but maybe that means I'm no worse off whenever I pick it up? ;)


If I am not getting into a book, or down right dislike it...I give it a pass. But if I am enjoying reading something and am just excited about starting something new, I stick it out, using the potential book as motivation. If I jumped around, I would spent to much time rereading to figure out where I was. With over 6000 books on my TBR list, no time for that!


After a long time away this post provides some amusement an lots of comfort. To know that I can come to your blog and read about your piles of books is so wonderful so for that thank you.


I usually have several going at once then I can pick the one that best fits my mood and level of concentration. If a book sits too long without being read I consider that a sign that it's just not right for me now and retire it for another time.


I have The Children's Book on my TBR pile--I want to read it, but it seems the sort of book that needs unflagging attention, which as you see from my post I can't quite give it at the moment. (But then that seems to be the excuse I always have for not picking it up--that and it is a bit of a chunkster). When I get that far into the book then I do try and finish, but if I've read less than 50 or so pages I tend to quietly put it back on the shelf. :) Unfortunately I get distracted easily. I'll keep in mind when I do pick up the Byatt to keep a list of characters handy nearby!


I try to do the same thing--if I know there is a book I want to start I try and concentrate on one that I am reading and am close to finishing in anticipation of the new one. I am so much better at sticking with books that I choose for readalongs or book clubs than I am with books that I just pick up on whim. I thought my TBR list was long...but I think yours is longer! :) But I know what you mean by having so many other books clamoring for attention and not wasting time with a book that is just not clicking at the moment.


Hi Heather--it's so nice to hear from you again! As you can see little has changed here--I am always agonizing over all the books I start and then set aside. The piles are still here, only the titles change now and again. I hope you're back to blogging again?


I am very much a mood reader and so do the same thing--which makes it nice to be able to pick up a couple of books to take to work with me--there is usually something there that fits what I feel like reading on any given day. The only problem is when too many appeal and then not being able to choose which one to pick up. I should take that as a sign, too, not having picked up a book, but part of me hates to put a book back on the shelf for later, which is how I have ended up with such a large bedside pile. I guess I should weed them, put them back in the TBR pile and then maybe I'll feel less guilt every time I look at them sitting there!


I think I am very much like you in terms of reading on whims and being distracted far too easily. And I love your description of how you are actually a faithful & dedicated person in general, but not so when it comes to books. I am definitely guilty of that too. Maybe it's a shared trait in February babies? ;)
And just to reassure you, I am one of those who love reading all about the minutiae of your reading life. You manage to just capture the same passion, enthusiasm and guilt that I feel about books and reading but am unable to put into words as well as you do!
So, thank you. :)


Thanks for another very readable blog post. One of the best freedoms to give oneself is reading at whim.


I very often stick the books out that I'm reading. last year I stopped doing it for a while and ended up with a huge pile of half read books. It's nothing for me. Onvce I put aside a book for more than a few days it's a bit doomed.

Clive John Edwards

I was very interested to read sbout your reading style and the problems you suffer. I think there are a lot of us who can identify with the issues. Disloyaslty to a book probably sounds silly to some people but I know exactly whst you mean. And the expression "Book piles are like dandelions. Left unattended they spread." That was just perfect!
I liked CynthiaBlue's comment - "One of the best freedoms to give oneself is reading at whim." It's not easy but if one could achieve it I think it's true. And, perhaps, the only answer to the problem.

Alison M.

I do hope you enjoy "Heidi's Alp". It was published here in the U.K. as the "Canary Coloured Camper" & I found it utterly charming.
I will generally plough on with most books as I've discovered that a return to one that failed to grab on first read often yields good results.
Like the commenter above I tend to have several books on the go at once, so I can pick according to mood.

Joan Kyler

You see, you're hardly alone. I read four or five books at once: a paperback in the bath, my Kindle in bed, a classic in the quiet of my library, a travel book. I wish I read faster, and I can, but I feel I'm missing something if I don't read every word the author put down. I wish I could read ten books at once - not at the same time, at once, with a tenth of my brain for each one.

And despite all I'm reading now, I plan to stop at the library to pick up some books I've read about lately on blogs. After all, I'm dropping my husband at the doctor's, he also has a toothache, the new plumbing is dripping, I have to take one of my cats to the vet to find out why she's losing weight (don't even want to think about that) - don't I deserve a new stack of books?!


Oh, Danielle, your problem is my problem. Too much to choose from and a wandering eye, as far as books are concerned.

I do usually have several different books going so that I can read somewhat as the mood strikes me. Sometimes I have several that I'm really loving and can hardly choose between, and sometimes I have one I really like and the others I'm just starting to get into, or I have to read for some project and then it's a little more difficult to stay focused. Right now, I'm still reading The Three Musketeers--I'm liking the story very much, but I'm reading it on my tablet, which I do not like at all. (The tablet is too heavy, the screen lighting bothers my eyes and I can't easily see how long a chapter is or how far I've come into the book. Boy, I'm finicky.

One of the great pleasures of reading is choosing the next book--you're just doing it before you're finished with the current one :).


Since I've been struck with this cold I haven't been much interested in reading fiction. I've tried but fiction just seems too intense and a little wobbly. So I've been reading nonfiction. Do I pick up the Clarice Lispector bio I've been nibbling away at for two months now? Or one of the other nonfiction books I read the intro to and then put down? No, I start a new book! It's The Canon by Natalie Angier and I am enjoying it immensely but why I couldn't be enjoying one of the books I already began I have no idea.


Now that I am reading more non fiction - mainly books of essays- I have much more books on the go at the same time. I had to get used to that and had to learn to rotate all of them a bit. With me it now is mostly library books that cause constant reshuffling. Or books I thought I just had to order come to think of it :)


I must be quite loyal as I stuck out Villette until page 364 before throwing in the towel. You, my friend, are a bit of a book slut and I mean that in the most endearing of ways.

Liz F

I seem to constantly have a pile of books on the go, scattered around the house which I pick up and put down as and when the mood takes me (or when I have some spare time which is probably closer to the truth)
I used to persist with books, even if I wasn't enjoying them too much, feeling that it was almost a point of honour to finish them, but I have got rather more ruthless now and if a book really isn't grabbing me then that is it although I have to admit that there are some which get more second chances than others (and possibly more than they deserve!

Andrew Blackman

Nice post! Yes, I tend to stick with books regardless, but I usually have two or three on the go at the same time, so I get some relief from one that's not really doing it for me!


That's right--we share a February birth month! Which day exactly is your birthday? My sister sent me a B&N gift card already even though mine is not until Feb. 20th. It took a lot of self-control not to rip open the envelope and start shopping online right now---will keep it in reserve and contemplate what I *really* want. Thanks for the kind words--I like reading about other reader's habits when it comes to books and reading, too! :) Everybody is a little bit different, which makes it interesting, but we all share many common habits, too, so we can all relate.


Hi Cynthia--thanks for the kind words. And yes, I, too, am all for reading at whim (why I always have so many books started as I cave in so easily! :) ).


Do you stick a book out even if you are not enjoying it? If I really don't like a book I will set it aside intentionally, though really I am a pretty good judge these days by what I know I will like and what not. The only thing is sometimes sticking out a book I am uncertain about will often have its own rewards--sometimes it just takes an author a while to get going in a story. Such a dilemma for me...


I feel bad when I am reading a book, am only perhaps midway through but already thinking of the next book I want to pick up and read. Often I don't even wait to finish one and just start another (hence the piles of partially read books). I do very much read by whim, though I also like reading along with others--reading at whim is purely for my own desires, though when I read along I am mostly reading books that appeal and I would likely read anyway. Still, it is fun sometimes to read a book I wouldn't ordinarily read either.


I am very much enjoying it and think it is going to set me off on yet another reading tangent. Although it was written before the Wall fell, I actually find that really fascinating. Now I want to read more about the former Eastern European countries as they were before they opened up to the west. Thanks for the heads up on the title change by the way--I want to check out the UK cover. I also often return to a book that wasn't quite what I wanted before I set it down. Timing is often everything! :) And I also choose the day's reading material by mood--sometimes I'll stick with the same few books all week long and other times change day by day!


I hope your cat is okay! Whenever I have errands to run and know I will have to wait I will always take a book with me (even when I know I might not have to wait...because you never know!). We have really similar reading styles--I always have a fiction, nonfiction, mystery on the go and then books matching my own reading projects--a diary or book of letters, and then if I am reading a book group book, there is that book as well. And then I often pick something else up on a whim. Then within that variety--there is a book for the bus and one for lunch break at work, and a gym book (the latter needs to be something I can concentrate on easily in case there is lots of noise or music). If I had a decent bath I would love to read in the bath, too, but mine is too uncomfortable with a straight back--too utilitarian for bath reading. I have not been using the library much this year as I am trying to read more from my own piles, but I do have a very few checked out that I knew I didn't want to buy! You do deserve a new stack of books--and I hope you found some good ones!


Why does everything sound so appealing? And I do have too many choices (but I don't want to give a single one up either!). I know that feeling of having several really good ones and not being able to decide--that is always problem for work--which to take with me--as much as I would like to--can't take them all! :) I love Alexandre Dumas--he does occasionally get a little long winded, but he tells a cracking good story. I'm not sure I would like to read on a tablet or not---it would be hard to carry around with me--and I think I would be afraid of dropping and breaking it. The nice thing about a paper book is seeing that bookmark slowly make its way from front to back of the book! :)


Oh, yes, that is another scenario I left out. Unable to decide between two books in progress it's best to start something entirely new. We're so good at rationalizing when it comes to books, don't you think?! Sorry to hear you are still not feeling well--there is something going around here, too, though so far I have been very lucky to avoid it! Hope you've found suitable reading material to read with your cold! I've not heard of The Canon, but now I will have to go check it out!


Library books always create havoc with my reading, too. It's sort of been nice not having to worry about those due dates, which always throw me off, as I am not using the library very much at the moment. Of course on the flip side, they also help me keep on track in order to finish a book and return it before I accrue a fine! I have a little rotation that I use, too, though when one book really gets good, I tend to read it solely until I finish-then I have a hard time figuring out a new rotation!


364 is loyal indeed! I'd say that is a very fair trial--I think I might not have lasted so long. I am sorry to say, that yes, I am rather fast and loose when it comes to picking up new books even while I am reading several others! :)


I want to stick books out, but I keep starting so many new ones it just gets harder and harder to get back the partially read stack. It was my goal last year to get caught up on reading those books, but as you see I didn't manage to achieve that goal. Didn't even make a dent in the piles. I keep my books that I am reading close at hand--if I leave on sitting somewhere other than my bedside I will forget where it is and then stress out until I can find and account for it! :) And if a book is really not good or I am not in the least enjoying it I don't feel bad jettisoning it at all!


I like having a variety of book to choose from as well as then I always have something to fit my mood. I do wish I was better at sticking some of them out. If a book is really not clicking with me I will set it aside, but sometimes a book will end up being really good and it just needed to give it time! It's those hidden gems that I regret when the books sit languishing!


We share the same day as well!! :) Lucky you, to have received such a lovely birthday gift in advance. And bravo, for the self restraint! ;)


I've picked up Camilla and put it back more than once, too. I feel I ought to read it because it inspired Austen but somehow I can't get enthusiastic enough. I think I prefer Maria Edgeworth.


I don't feel so bad now! :) It's not that I wasn't enjoying it really, only I wasn't feeling as inspired to keep picking it up as I should have been. It's still by my bedside, but I will work on some other books for a while and try and come back to it later... I have yet to try Maria Edgeworth, but I do have one or two of her books on my shelves--and my library has a number of her books as well. Will have to try her sometime as well.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Books Read in 2020

Books Read in 2019

Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017

Books Read in 2016

Books Read in 2015