Weekly Geeks: Shiny Book Syndrome

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’.


  1. With every post I read on this weeks theme I smile a bit more…

    Your book hoarding sounds very familiar and yet I still keep buying..

    You have however mentioned a really good point about genres that I have probably outgrown or just got bored with – I still have unread books lying around the house…

    I really do need to make an effort and weed them out.. but when?…

    Welcome to Weekly Geeks – it’s a great place to be and hopefully you’ll meet an even greater bunch of bloggers..

    Happy weekly geeks..


  2. David Hebblethwaite

    22nd July 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Hi, and thanks for your comment! People who buy books will buy more books, that’s the way I look at it. And reading books is much more fun than sorting them out…

  3. Welcome to the weekly geeks.
    Oh yes, I also know the problem of unread books that I’m no longer interested in. I usually swap them to make room for something else.

  4. David Hebblethwaite

    23rd July 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Rikki, thanks for visiting. Swapping is an excellent idea, and I might well do it, if I could actually find all the books I’d swap… 🙂

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