“Read a little bit of the books you bought…”

Read a little bit

Read a little bit

Of the books you bought

Those are my too-cute / too-clever / (too-copyright infringing?) new lyrics to Supertramp’s “Give a Little Bit” set theme-wise to reading and the never-ending pile of books one continues to purchase. I don’t eat all of the food in my refrigerator before it goes bad, I don’t , and I don’t read all of the books I purchase. This is wasteful, but I’m getting better. And perhaps I’m not doing as badly as I thought. Some data to back this claim:

My favorite online bookseller is BookCloseouts.com, a website specializing in remaindered and reduced-price books. They’re great about having $5 off $35 orders, effectively wiping out shipping on the $2-5 books, as well as having a decent selection. I’ve picked up a bit of Elmore Leonard’s mid-70s stuff there, as well as fresher novels for my MFA instead of giving the bookstore my money. In fact, a large order came in last night (and I entered most of them into LibraryThing) and going through the books sparked this writing. Here’s a breakdown of my purchases, overall:

I’ve ordered precisely seventy books from BookCloseouts.com since 2003.

Of those seventy, twelve are books I’d already read. That leaves fifty-eight.

Of those fifty-eight, I’ve read twenty-nine. That still leaves another twenty-nine.

That means in the last four years of ordering books, I’ve read 67% of what I ordered, or still need to read 33% of what’s left, if one wishes to look at it that way.

And that’s on top of what I purchase through Amazon (my favorite for new literature), BarnesAndNoble (who somehow convinced me to spend $25 to get discounts, though I use that mostly for their semi-annual DVD sales), and beyond. Perhaps I’m reading more than I thought I was. That said, I can always be reading more. And let’s not fool ourselves – a handful of those books in my “read” pile, many of which are also in my BookCloseouts.com pile, are novels and short story collections for my MFA. Some of the books I own, particularly from BookCloseouts.com, I’m not sure I’ll ever read. The book on film lighting is a wonderful guide, for example, but I purchased it at a different point in my life, when I thought that would come in especially handy. And some books are lost. And some books turned out not to be what I thought they would be, so they sit on the shelf looking smart.

Need an excuse to read? Schedule it like you schedule TV.

Of late, I’ve tried to make thirty to sixty minutes of reading time per day happen. It doesn’t always happen, but scheduling this time instead of television seems a wise choice. And it’s in a television-sized time slot, something I’m used to dealing with. I won’t finish a book in under an hour, so I’ll just pretend it’s like a serialized show. I haven’t found the best time of the day for me to read, yet, nor my favorite place to read, either (I have a serious lack of comfortable chairs in my apartment). Still, the TV-sized pieces of reading are manageable, and if I’m prepared to schedule time to watch “can’t miss” TV, then I’d better be prepared to schedule time to read “can’t miss” literature. In fact, that equation feels backwards, to me.

So what about you? How many of your books have you read? How many are left? I won’t ask if you’re reading, but I will certainly ask when are you reading?


[tags]bookcloseouts.com, reading list, time to read, give a little bit, mfa[/tags]

2 thoughts on ““Read a little bit of the books you bought…””

  1. Scheduling time, that’s a good idea. I also look at my bookshelf and see numerous unread tomes. It’s frustrating! Damn you Book Closeouts! I don’t know the strict percentage that I’ve read, however.

    I tend to read fiction in bed. It’s comfortable, it winds me down and erases the worries from the day. I typically have a non-fiction book that I’m working on in parallel to my fiction reading – something inspirational or computer programming related or in some other sense educational.


Leave a Comment