I’ve decided to try to broaden the focus of this blog out a bit from just the usual reviews. To start with, I’m going to join in with Weekly Geeks, a themed posting challenge for book bloggers. This week’s theme is ‘Shiny Book Syndrome’ – or, as Tara puts it on the site, ‘when a person only wants to read their newest book and leave piles of poor unread books on their shelves to collect dust’. How, she asks, do you keep this at bay?
Well… I know all about this feeling; I’ve been buying books faster than I can read them for upwards of twelve years. It started in the late ‘90s, when, as a teenager, I found a cheap copy of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy in a book sale – and suddenly I was introduced to huge numbers of authors of whom I’d never heard, but now wanted to read. Later the same year, I started reading SFX magazine, whose book pages were my first proper source of news about new releases. A year or so after that, I joined the British Fantasy Society, and became aware of the small press writers associated with that organisation…
And I still have books from that period which I haven’t got around to reading yet.
Of course, the problem has grown over the years, as I come across new books (new to me, that is; even a yellowed second-hand book that’s falling to pieces can be ‘shiny’) and think, ‘Ooh, I’d like to read that’. I’ve managed to fill an entire bookcase in my flat with unread books.
Which is not to mention the books piled in the wardrobe.
Which is not to mention the boxes of books in the lounge.
Which is not to mention all the books which are still in my parents’ house.
You get the picture.
One of the stranger things which has happened over the years with regard to my growing book collection is that my reading tastes have evolved, to the point where I don’t actually want to read some of my unread books, because I’m no longer interested in them. One day, I ought to go through and weed them out, but… well, y’know – there’s always another book to read instead.
How do I keep Shiny Book Syndrome away? I don’t, really. I guess I just trust that the right tinme to read a given book will come and, if it doesn’t, then perhaps it wasn’t worth reading anyway.
Besides, without Shiny Book Syndrome, there couldn’t be those serendipitous moments when you come across a book you’d forgotten you had and think, ‘Yes, that’s just what I want to read next’.