Thoughts: My book buying habits are different to my reading habits.

I rearranged my physical TBR shelf today. It felt more like an extended play of tetris than anything else to be fair because I own so so many unread books currently and I do want to keep the books I have read separated from the books I still need to read and I don’t want to give up more shelves than absolutely necessary for unread books. I have talked about my thoughts on owning books before but I still have some more thoughts today.

I have now arranged my unread books according to genres and I realized something: I own way too many unread fiction and literary fiction books when taking into account what I actually read. Looking back at what I read this year this becomes painfully obvious:

I read 71 books so far; of these books 29 books can be vaguely classified as speculative fiction or fantasy (and I am lumping together everything here that is not set in our current world or is set in the future), 19 books are nonfiction, nine were short stories, and only 10 were fiction, literary fiction, or thrillers. But around half of my unread books are fiction. And these are all books I really want to read! (Except for Days Without End; I am not seeing myself reading that one ever. I read a few pages and there is no way I will ever get through that book but so far I cannot get myself to do something about that book on my shelves. But that is another story.) But still, even though I want to read those books I somehow never reach for them.

Oh, also, all except for one of the fiction books I have read this year were NetGalley arcs. That means I have read not a single one of the books on my shelves in this genre this year. (The book I read that I bought myself is There There by Tommy Orange [which you should absolutely rush to read] and that one I pre-ordered and immediately read upon arrival.)

So, what does that mean going forward? I am currently trying to only buy a book once I have read one book of the same genre off my shelves. Let’s see how that goes. I am also not going to buy any fiction novels for the rest of the year. Because I have SUCH great books already.

Here’s a sneak peak of the brilliant books I own but haven’t read:

Have you read any of these books? I think these are all books I would love, so do tell me which I should prioritize.

17 thoughts on “Thoughts: My book buying habits are different to my reading habits.

    1. I have heard only good things about these books and there is just no excuse as to why I have not read them already. I bought both of them when they were longlisted for the Man Booker last year.

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  1. Home Fire, When I Hit You and Lincoln in the Bardo are all great books. I also have Reservoir 13 on my TBR but something is putting me off reading it. Maybe the style? Anyway I feel your pain playing Tetris with unread books!

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    1. I am SO sure I will love Reservoir 13 – I have such a thing for stories told from different perspectives in a short story like manner. I really have no excuse for not reading it already.

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  2. Lincoln in the Bardo, The Magic Toyshop, Reservoir 13, Human Acts, When I Hit You, Home Fire and The Book of Joan are all extraordinary books. My personal favourites from that bunch would be Reservoir 13 and The Book of Joan, but I don’t think any of them will let you down.

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  3. HUMAN ACTS. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on that. But obviously I’d also recommend When I Hit You and Home Fire. And I’m actually surprised that you’ve only read 10 literary fiction books this year, it feels like a lot more than that!

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    1. I am not surprised you are voting for Human Acts. I am thinking I should read at least one translated book this month, so I might actually do this.
      Also, I think it feels like I read more literary fiction than I did because those were te books you also read. Plus, quite a few of the short story collections were in fact general fiction but I don’t really think they count.

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    1. I think it is because my reading is so erratic and when I feel like reading a genre I feel like reading ALL the books in that genre. Plus, last year I attempted the Man Booker longlist, so I bought a few books I might not otherwise have.
      Also, I get approved on NetGalley for literary fiction a lot more than for fantasy, so I am not as likely to reach for a book on my shelves (I usually try to read a fantasy/ science fiction book, a short story collection, one non-fiction book, and one literary fiction at any moment).

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      1. Ah that makes a LOT of sense; I tend to read in huge genre spurts too. Hence my current dilemma of ‘too much fantasy’

        I don’t request a lot of literary fiction because I read it sparingly but I can see why the approval rate would be higher for those as I am sure less people are requesting litfic than sff. Kudos on reading multiples, I have tried and keep failing!

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