I grew up without a book pile beside my bed. Not because I didn’t have enough books. Not because I didn’t have a bookshelf. I grew up without a book pile beside my bed because I used to read one book at a time. I used to read a book starting with the first page and continue reading in consecutive order until the last page. When finished, I would close the book and either return it to the library, or to my bookshelf in my room, filed alphabetically. Simple.
I wouldn’t start a new book until I finished the current book I was reading. This may have been due to assigned readings for school. I had to know how it ended for the exam or term paper I was assigned. Therefore, I needed to complete the book. Yes, I may have purchased Cliff’s Notes at some point, but I have always enjoyed reading and I relished in the satisfaction of having completed a book. What a great feeling of accomplishment when turning the last page!
Somewhere along the line I began two-timing my books. I don’t count university time because in addition to my assigned readings for Art History and English, I always had a fiction or biography on the go. So there was a lot of two-timing going on then.
I could safely say my haphazard book reading began when I moved to Germany. Perhaps haphazard is too strong a word because I did CARE about my book reading. Only, adopting from the German model of directness, I became more demanding in my book wants and needs.
The book pile began with the current fiction title “on the read” on the top of my nightstand. This became accompanied with the current German fiction title I was reading. Two books. Then, accepting that as I was living in a foreign country, and needed to keep abreast with current affairs in my home country, I added a nonfiction English book to my pile.
At the time, Amazon proved to be the only place I could purchase a wide variety of English titles. This was before Amazon Prime free shipping for members, so I NEEDED to order enough books to qualify for free shipping. Hence the birth of the book pile. I admit that even with the advent of Amazon Prime free shipping, I continued (and still continue) to order more books than I can read at one sitting (which is obviously one, as my eyes look in the same direction. Can anyone read two books or multiples at one time and comphrehend them? Would be interesting to research).
My pile extended into the two shelves inside my nightstand, next to my handcreams and sunglasses collection (I have no idea why I keep my sunglasses there). These shelves became quickly full and the pile then began on the floor in front of the nightstand, next to my side of the bed.
I now have a priority system:
On the Nightstand – current books I’m reading, one in English, one in German
On the Floor – waiting in the wings books – next up to read (changes weekly)
In the Nightstand – hoping to get to in the next months (Note: books flow between “On the Floor” and “In the Nightstand” on a weekly basis)
Downstairs Bookshelf – hoping to get to this year
Upstairs Bookshelf – books I’ve read and are in my Hall of Fame to keep (Marie Kondo Method – a totally different blog entry to write), as well as books I hope to get to in this lifetime
Then I purchased an electronic reading device. Don’t start on me about my electronic reading. I know, I know. I felt the same way too. I need to feel the book in my hands, I need to turn the page, I like to flip back to sections. This is all true. I still feel the same way about certain books (like cookbooks, exercise books, golf books, or anything written by the Dalai Lama). However, the device does not add to my pile on the nightstand, in the nightstand, or on the floor beside my bed. What ends up happening is that I now have a book pile in the Kindle. Which is not a pile, but rather a running grid of the pictures of the book covers which I can scroll through with a flick of my finger.
In addition, it lists the percentage of each book I’ve read. This could be a gleeful, proud moment of accomplishment. You can see exactly how many books you’ve read to 100 percent. Perhaps this was the original intent of the Kindle manufacturers, to make readers feel proud of their reading. I however, feel ashamed and disappointed. My entire library consists of books I’ve read only 11, 15, 27 percent. The books sit there waiting on my virutal bookshelf. Which let’s face it, is just a another pile beside on the nightstand, in the nightstand, or on the floor beside my bed. Only I’m not stubbing my big toe on it’s virtuality every night.