Ah, the backlog of books I’ve been itching to read. Those wonderful tomes with fantastic premises that I haven’t gotten to, the ones that stare at me from the shelf as I put them off for anime or video games or woodworking. How exactly do you choose which book comes next? What book do you choose when you’ve had fifteen you want to read next, definitely next, because they’re from your favorite author or are the next in your favorite series or this book was the one you’ve been waiting to release all year.
The answer? Poorly. I choose poorly.
I don’t mean to say that I make terrible choices in my reading habits. I don’t tend to pick up many books I don’t like. DNFing a book isn’t something I normally do, or something I normally even consider doing. The long and short of it is that I simply can’t decide what to read. There’s so many. I want to read all of them!
I’ll pull a short stack of books of a shelf all at once. A fantasy novel, a sci-fi novel, a few novellas, definitely a couple of manga volumes, a light novel, and three or four books from the library are divided between my desk and my nightstand. A few are on my kindle or my kobo. One or two are audiobooks. That’s what I read next. All seven or eight or nine of them all at once.
The ‘currently reading’ tab on Goodreads looks as if I’ve forgotten to mark a few novels as finished, not something that could possibly be a real list of real books I was actually currently reading. And yet, it’s there. As of this moment I’m reading several novels.
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherine M. Valente
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri
A Bride’s Story Vol 1 by Kaoru Mori
Occultic;Nine Vol 1 by Chiyomaru Shikura
Infinite Dendogram Vol 1 by Sakon Kaidou
The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by (and read by) Anthony Bourdain
Seeing it all listed out makes me question myself. Do I need to read everything all at once? No, probably not. It’s more of a desperate attempt to read as many books as possibly can before my inevitable demise. If I read a half dozen books all at once, surely I’ll get through the faster. Right?
No, but I’ll do my damnedest anyway.
I’ll never get through all my books. The books added to the list of definitely want to read and probably want to read and friends/family want me to read will always grow, even as I slowly wade through the sea of fiction I already have waiting. I will never get through everything. And, honestly? That makes me happy. There will always be more books, more universes to explore, more magic to encounter, more tyrant kings to topple. An adventure is always waiting. And that, my friends, is comforting.