Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Envy and the TBR hierarchy

Instruments of Darkness: A NovelI was at the library the other day to pick up some holds (more 2011 award winners!), and I got distracted by shiny things in Recent Fiction. The ones I was most attracted to? Under the Poppy and Instruments of Darkness. I was so tempted to check them out.

Thanks for sharing, you're thinking, or maybe even, why are you telling us about adult books you're pining for on your YA lit blog. Because, well, I already own both of these books.

But I don't get to read them yet.

Under the Poppy: a novelThere is a definite hierarchy in my TBR pile. ARCs are usually first, in order of publication date (Instruments of Darkness falls into this category), but YA ARCs have priority. After that is library books, in order of due date and factoring in the likelihood of being able to renew (example, Please Ignore Vera Dietz will get read before Guardian of the Dead even though the latter is due first because I know I won't be able to renew Vera - placing fake holds with the girlfriend's library card (and then removing them, I promise!) helps work out these distinctions). YA books, again, get priority over adult. Middle grade books are usually even higher up on the list, since I read less of them but I love Tween Tuesday.

Bright Young ThingsAfter all of these books with time lines attached, come the poor books that I've actually bought and paid for. The titles that I've snagged on sale or with coupons. Books I've picked up from library book sales. And even the wonderful books whose pub dates I've put in my calendar because I just HAD to HAVE them the day they came out (I'm looking at you Bright Young Things, Leviathan, Beautiful Creatures...).  

No wonder I tend to fail at the "read my own books" types of challenges. My books all sit collecting dust further down in my TBR pile while the books at the top rotate through based on the mail and my own (lack of) self-control at the library.

LeviathanOf course I want to check out books I own from the library. Then I'd be allowed to read them! Which is, of course, a load of crap. Why should the books that I shell out money for never be read? Why do I still spend hundreds of dollars a year on books that I don't allow myself to read? Because I've set myself up with a list of personal blogger obligations.

My blogger responsibilities have to do with both the kind of books I review (my adult TBR pile suffers even more than my YA TBR pile, if that's possible), and what or who is in them. I've started to let challenges dictate rather than guide my reading habits. I'm also distracted by the new and the shiny. Many of the books I own are so last year...or even older. But I still want to read them.

Beautiful CreaturesAll this to say that I'm going to try to pull from my own shelves and piles rather than placing holds at the library on or even rushing out to buy the hot new thing. I'm also going to give myself permission to read a bit more adult literature, even if it means I won't always have something to review here (it also means I'll probably be reviewing more crossover titles). Hopefully I'll be able to shed some light on a few titles that you've forgotten about or missed in the last few years. 

How about you? I know I'm a bit OCD about it, but I hope I'm not alone in creating a set of "rules" for the order in which I read books. Also, any books you're still dying to read languishing in your TBR pile?

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Jenny Girl said...

You are definitely not alone. I know when all my ARC reviews are due, and read around those timelines. I have cut down on the library and new ARCs so I can read from my own duty piles. They are feeling neglected. But I know how it feels when shiny new books scream your name. It's a delicate balance :)
Have a great week.

the epic rat said...

Hear, hear! Shiny new books are the bane of a booklover's existence, and yet there's just something comforting about having pretty books to look at and salivate over :)

I have the same dust-collecting piles of books! I've been trying to "reward" myself with a bought/borrowed book after reading 1 or 2 ARCs. It's been working out so far :)

I review mostly YA, but occasionally I throw in fantasy and romance. I don't think it would be a bad thing to review your adult reads - I think young adults read "adult" books as much as adults read YA! My brother's HS class read The Kite Runner, which I would consider adult and I have yet to read! I would be excited to see what you read in the "adult" genre - I will admit that I get intimidated in that section of the bookstore or library!

Lawral the Librarian said...

Jenny Girl - As long as it's not just me! It's the library that's killing me, right now at least. If I hadn't decided to venture in to pick up a few 2011 award winners, I might have been able to keep my New Year's resolution to read from my TBR piles at least through March...

epic rat - I keep saying that I'll read all these books when I win the lottery. I don't know how I'll manage to get to all of them otherwise! But you're right, they're so pretty!!! I couldn't possibly give up the new and the shiny!