Monday, September 12, 2011

The backlog bottoms out

I have too many goddamn books.

Wait -- scratch that. That isn't the issue here.

The problem is the broadening ratio between the books in my room that I've read and the ones that have thus far served only as shelf ornaments. I'll buy three books at a time, read one or two, buy another three books, read one, borrow two more books from a friend, buy another two books, borrow another from another friend -- and soon I've amassed a wheelbarrow load of books, most of which get dumped into the backlog.

Well, the line is in the sand now. Enough is enough.

I am not going to purchase, borrow, or otherwise acquire another book or books until I read ten of the ones I already have. And those books are going to be, in order:

0. A Long Way from Euclid, Constance Reid (I put it down for a while and got sidetracked by a couple of other things, among them Ian Stewart's Story of Mathematics. After hitting a point where I have absolutely no idea what Stewart is writing about, I've jumped back into Reid, and will finish reading Long Way from Euclid before proceeding elsewhere.)

1. The Sot-Weed Factor, John Barth

2. Black Elk Speaks, John G. Neihardt

3. 1984, George Orwell (OH MY GOD YOU'VE NEVER READ 1984!? is what you're thinking. I've heard that once or twice.)

4. The Stranger, Albert Camus

5. English Prose 1600-1660, Victor Harris And Itrat Husain, editors (snatched this from a table of free books at my alma mater several years back. I reserve the option to skip it and move on if it becomes tiresome. But if I'm going to keep a book on my shelf, I should have at least some sense of what's inside.)

6. Grundrisse, Karl Marx (900 pages of socioeconomic theory. A perfect February read.)

7. Robot Dreams, Isaac Asimov (short story collection)

8. Bleak House, Charles Dickens

9. Herman Melville: The Tragedy of Mind, William Ellery Sedgwick

10. Pharaoh, Bolesław Prus (Evidently this was Josef Stalin's favorite book. If Lalka was any indication, I have very, very high hopes for this one.)

There. Now that I've announced it, I am committed. Thank you, Internet.


  1. You know, I remember you mentioning something about an online book club-type thing a couple of months ago on Twitter. If you were still interested in doing something like that, I'm sure there would be plenty of people willing to participate.

  2. My stance on buying books and video games is the same for this exact reason: I buy one of each at a time (usually only more if I find a good sale) and do not buy something new until I am ready for it. It may mean more trips overall to the bookstore (not really a problem in my eyes) but it ensures that nothing gathers dust for too long.

    ...And then my family gives me books for Christmas/my birthday and screws the whole system up. C'est la vie.

  3. John: Hmmmm. That's an interesting possibility. Maybe I could try something like that with Pharaoh? Prus deserves a wider audience.

    Adam: Yeah, tell me about it. Fortunately, I have reached the age where nobody buys me birthday/Christmas gifts anymore :D