Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book Rates

I read this Question of the Day late last night and cringed:
How well does your pace of book purchases match up with your pace of reading? Do you read books as soon as you get them home, or do you have a growing stack of books that you're hoping to have time to read someday? If you had to guess, how many unread books are there in your house?
My confession is this: no matter how hard I try to stem* the flow of books into my room, I can't. The tide of words keeps rising. The words flood in through armloads of library books, they rain down from the internet (stormbursts of blog posts, New York Times articles). The words keep flowing in, and I can't drink them all.

To answer the questions more literally: My pace of book-buying matches my reading pace all right now, because I pretty much stopped buying myself books a couple years ago. (This drastic step was only taken after I bought over a dozen books really really cheaply at various school library sales, didn't read most of them, and had to conclude that I have an addiction to buying cheap books...) However, people give me books, and I get books from the library, and then there are all those books available for free online. So my reading pace really does not match my book acquisition pace at all. I probably have at least 10 unread books in my dorm room (although to be fair, some of them are for class!), and then 20 or 30 more in my room back at home.

"Quot libris, quam breve tempore."

At least I can say I've read all 66 books in the Bible! as if that were relevant. I delude myself.

*I got distracted wondering what the origin of that expression is, and the OED informed me that the verb meaning 'To stop, check; to dam up (a stream, or the like)' shares a root with the verb "stammer." Cool!

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