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Bad Habits

November 28, 2011

One of the goals this year, and in fact for the next several years, is ‘within means’. For a died-in-the-wool collector, this is not an easy goal. I can very easily consume five times as much as I can adequately use without even realizing it.

To clarify that, I’m talking about books, movies, music and other creative work, not food, booze, furniture, etc. My collecting is almost entirely about content, though I’ve become a bit of a camera collector of late, as well.

Books are probably my biggest pain point. I (eventually) get around to reading every comic I buy, though sometimes that can be a long wait. Most comics, of course, take less than fifteen minutes to read, so you can buy eight comics a week and not have to commit to any more than two hours of time. If you buy eight novels a week, you better be retired.

I can easily buy several books a week, but I’m a slow reader, so I can rarely get more than 2 read, and that’s pushing it. Add the reading I need to keep up with my job, comics, and that thing called Life, and several books a week turns into a nightmare of unread books piling up on your shelf.

Currently I have over 200 unread books on the shelf.

Yeah. I know. Crazy.

What’s even more crazy is I sold over 200 books this year to get down to that number.

I don’t want to stop reading or collecting books. I just want the numbers to be sane. I also don’t want to feel the pressure of all those unread books sitting on the shelf.

I’ve worked very hard this year to make the habit of reading something healthy and sustainable for myself. I want to pick up a book in a store and not calculate how many months or years before I actually read it, if I in fact buy it.

The goal I’ve set for myself is that every year from now on, the number of unread books goes down, at least by a quarter of what it currently is. Half is the better target, if I can make it. So, by the end of 2012, I should have, at minimum, 150 unread books on the shelf.

This year I’ve read more than 85 books. I usually start the new year with a list of the books I’ve read (here’s 2010 and 2009). You can look through the blog for posts on books in general.

With just over 30 days left, I thought I’d take a sneak peak at what books I’ve read this year by subject. Here’s the breakdown by subject, so far:

  • 12 – Science Fiction
  • 9 – Fantasy
  • 7 – Essays
  • 7 – Poetry
  • 6 – Photography
  • 5 – Politics
  • 4 – Book Arts
  • 4 – Comics
  • 4 – Computers
  • 4 – Literary Criticism
  • 3 – Business
  • 3 – Fiction
  • 3 – Interview
  • 3 – Philosophy
  • 2 – Art
  • 2 – Biography
  • 1 – Architecture
  • 1 – Design
  • 1 – Mystery
  • 1 – Quotations
  • 1 – Religion
  • 1 – Sociology
  • 1 – Sports

A grand total of 85 books in 23 subjects. Granted, I choose how to sort the subjects, so what went into sociology for me may have gone into essays or philosophy for others. As with my other previous posts on what I’ve read, it will come when I get the final tally on January 1st. Still hoping to break 100 this year.

Reading is one of the most enriching activities you can engage in. Books are an historical and cultural treasury that I can’t imagine living without. I’m looking forward to many future adventures between the pages.

Just, within means.

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