The New York Public Library’s Most Active Patron*

currently readingMy co-worker dubbed me so, this past week, when I walked to the library in the pouring rain because I had books due and books to pick up. Looking back at all of the books I’ve read this year, this has been one of my best reading years in a long time and it’s only April. I think it is because I’m getting rid of some old bad habits, namely buying books and letting them sit on my shelf for years and years.

What has been happening is I will buy a book and then want to treasure it. You see, I paid money for that book, so I have to make it worthwhile. So I put off reading it. Because if I buy a book and read it right away… somewhere in my mind that’s akin to buying a bag of chips and eating it all in one sitting. Logically that doesn’t even really make sense, but there it is. I’ve realized that the books sit and languish on the shelf and then I don’t read them and I forget why I ever wanted to in the first place.

So I’ve been reading books as soon as I buy them. Or I’ve been getting from the library instead and reading those right away. The longer I have a book out from the library, the less likely it is that I’ll read it. I obviously do want to read the books on my shelves, but only when I want to. I’m not going to force myself to read them, but I’m also going to be more careful about the books I buy. Is this a book I want to read right now? If not, then I’ll wait and put it on my wish list. It’s living in the moment when it comes to what I want to read.

It’s admittedly not a reading style that lends itself to tours or review copies, so I imagine those will be even fewer and farther between, though I don’t really accept many review copies now, it will truly only be the ones that are screaming: READ ME NOW.

Sometimes, though, there are too many books at once that are screaming the same thing. I’ve been feeling almost overwhelmed by the amount of books that just sound too good to pass up. I’m currently listening to The Great Gatsby, which I got from Audible, read by Tim Robbins. It has just gotten very intense and I will probably finish it tomorrow on my subway ride. I do really love it, even though I didn’t think I would at first. I started Indiscretion by Charles Dubow, a book I received to review, but that is also what my co-worker and I are reading for our book club-of-two. From the library I have The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord, which Iris reviewed and sounds so thought-provoking and interesting. Though the US cover is hideous compared to the UK cover! Also A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, which I do need to read soon, because I’m sure someone else has requested it. Thank you to Vasilly for making that one sound irresistible. If I could get most of those read this week so I can start reading A Clash of Kings by the pool this weekend in Florida, I’ll be a happy camper. Nothing screams pool-side reading like a battle for Westeros.

*Not a statistically accurate fact.


7 thoughts on “The New York Public Library’s Most Active Patron*

  1. Love this post! Seems like a very sensible way to approach things. Like you, I find that the longer I have a book out from the library, the less likely I am to ever start it. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop me from renewing it to its limit with false hopes though.

    Btw, love your footnote. 🙂

  2. Reading books as soon as I get them is pretty much the only way I’m going to read them too. Why is that? It’s good that you found a system that works for you. We all need that. I hope you read A Tale for the Time Being soon. I found myself rereading my favorite passages from it yesterday. Enjoy your week.

  3. I need to get BACK to going to the library. I was doing well with it for awhile but since I moved to the northshore I haven’t registered with the library up here yet :/ Need to do that!

  4. What a fun post! Celebrate your support of the library. I really do love your idea of wanting to not squander a book purchase by… uh READING IT! too funny. I find that I am succumbing to getting the audio when I own a book and just seem to put it off. Ok, it’s not statistically a trend yet, but it HAS happened twice for me so far.

  5. I switched to this reading method last year (or maybe the year before? I no longer remember), and I LOVE it. You’re right – it cuts down on the number of review copies, but who cares? It made me so much happier as a reader and also really opened me up to reading a much greater breadth of books than ever before. So great!

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