Too many books, too little time

Like everyone else, in January I got sucked into Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix. I didn’t finish the series – I got halfway through before I realized that all the show made me want to do was go through all my stuff and throw half of it away.

Well we’re just about halfway through February and I am ashamed to say that I still have that feeling and I’ve done nothing about it. I mean, I’ve talked about it a lot, but all my stuff is still here, waiting to jump out at you from hidden household depths.

I did recently go through all of my books though. I got rid of a lot when we put up some new shelving. But now I have space to spare and I can’t just ignore that can I? Even though I keep telling myself that I will not BUY anymore books (just yesterday I made a vow that I would wait until after my birthday next month to buy any new books), I keep finding myself in line at the bookstore with new books in hand.

My bookshelves might have room to spare but my TBR cupboard does not. I’ve recently added the following to its buckling shelves:

Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig: I love Matt Haig, have done for years. I think there’s some real power in his words, especially his Reasons to Stay Alive. This is his follow up to that one, about how to find ways to live in the present when the world is asking us to live at warp speed.

The Come Up by Angie Thomas. Remember how much I loved The Hate U Give? Thomas’ second novel, about a girl who dreams of being a rapper when her world just sees her as a hoodlum, sounds like it’s going to be just as good. I’ve been waiting for this to come out for ages.

The Woo Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons and My Crazy Chinese Family by Lindsay Wong. This one is one of the picks for the Canada Reads debates next month. I’ve actually already started to read this one and it is bananas. Wong is my age and grew up in the same neck of the woods and yet, our childhoods and families could not be more different. This is a dark one.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. I loved An American Marriage a lot. Before that book blew up, I had never heard of Jones. Imagine my delight to find that she actually has a few other books I get to read! Silver Sparrow is about the daughter of a bigamist, finding out about his other family and what that means for her own life.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory. I really enjoyed Guillory’s The Wedding Date. I thought it was fun, funny, sexy and clever. I’m in the mood for more of that and since the author of the same has something else out, it seemed like the perfect fit. Nikole and her boyfriend have been dating for five months when they end up at a Dodgers game with a bunch of his friends. He proposes on the big screen. Nikole is blindsided and says no…

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge. As much as I love reading about aristocracy, I’m also finding myself more and more curious about those people who ran the fancy estates, the castles and the townhouses. This book is so very on brand for me!

The Mistresses of Clivedon: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power, and Intrigue in an English Stately Home by Natalie Livingstone. I mean, come on. Scandal, power and intrigue in an English country estate? Centered around women? I didn’t stand a chance trying to resist this one.

I’d like to tell you that after I hit publish on this, I spent naptime reading. But I have to finish this week’s episode of The Bachelor so…you fall behind one week, it becomes really hard to catch up!


The Tsundoku Chronicles: Moving Edition

My husband and I are in the process of hopefully moving. We’ve been in our place for nearly six years and it feels like it’s time for a change. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that we’re partially motivated by the needs of our German Shepherd who seems to be craving personal outdoor space like he never did before.  But you know, when your dog is a family member, you accommodate.

You’d think that, with the looming spectre of packing up all my books and moving them, I’d be a little more hesitant to buy more books, but there, you’d be wrong.

See, I had a birthday not that long ago. And when I have a birthday I get gift cards to buy books and I’m incapable of saving them for very long.

Also, spring is a ridiculously great time for new titles AND discounted book as stores gear up for summer titles.

Here then, a reckoning of some of the books I have lying around the house that I haven’t read.

The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie. This is the second in a promised trilogy. The first looked at a group of sisters who were all the mistresses of Louis XV and this one features the next group, including the Marquise de Pompadour. I made the mistake of loaning this to my sister and a friend and now both are waiting for me to read the second one so they can read it too. The third one will be out at the end of the year.

Ritual by Mo Hayder. This is the 3rd in the Jack Caffrey series which is proving to be seriously messed up. There was some open-endedness with the end of the second book and I’m looking forward to finding out what happened but I also need to be in the right headspace. Luckily, I borrowed this from a friend (along with The Nightmare by Lars Keplar and The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, so good) so if I read it soon, I can return it and not have to pack it.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousefzai. I started reading the Foreward in the bookstore and became completely invested, so I bought it. I have yet to read it.

The Illegal by Lawrence Hill. I meant to read this before Canada Reads started but obviously didn’t get to it. I even leant it to a friend so she could finish it and return the Speed Read to the library. There’s something preventing me from reading this even though, by all account it’s wonderful. And I always love Hill’s books.

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan. This book has won all the awards, including the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Nonfiction, and the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction. I bought it when it first came out in hardcover (it’s now available in paperback) and I still haven’t read it! By all accounts, Stalin adored his daughter and I so want to read about this other side of a monster who was responsible for the deaths and disappearances of millions of people.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. I loved The Humans and I love Matt Haig on twitter. He’s been so open about his own struggles with mental illness and I admire him so much for being such a tireless advocate for those sharing his struggle. He wrote this book for himself but it seems like anyone that reads it gets so much out of it. I have wanted to read this for as long as it’s been available and I still haven’t.

Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman. Seems like there’s a non-fiction theme going on doesn’t it? It took me a long time to think about the woman behind Jane Eyre. When I read Syrie James’ book about the Brontes I became interested in them as women for the first time. I was so excited about this biography and it sits on the shelf, gathering dust!

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. This is my book club book and I always have to time the reading of our picks properly, so I don’t forget the details before we meet. Our date’s been set for Cinco de Mayo so I do really need to read this soon.

She’s Not There by Joy Fielding. This is one of those books that I know I will devour in an afternoon under the right conditions. Why have I not dipped into it yet?

The Lost Prince by Selden Edwards. So I bought this book (discounted) months and months ago and actually started reading it once. Then I realized that it was the second in a series and you really did need to read the first to understand what the hell was going on. I have yet to find the first book.

Did I mention that I went to the library last week??

I’m the worst.


Tsundoku: A New Word I Learned For An Ongoing Problem I Have

I learned a new word on Instagram yesterday (who says social media isn’t educational?) that definitely applies to me: Tsundoku.

Tsundoku is the buying of books and not reading them. It is letting them pile up unread, on shelves and floors and nightstands.

I’ve been noticing this getting out of control all over my apartment recently. My rediscovered love of the library only seems to be exacerbating it.

I currently have unread books in all of these places.

It’s not because I don’t want to read them. It’s the opposite; I very much want to read all of these books so I collect them, intending to read them all and then Life is all You don’t have time to read all these books! You have to go to work/see people/do chores/plan a wedding.

Which is complete bullsh*t Life! I really just want to spend all my time sitting around (and I guess sometimes walking on a treadmill with a book, you know, for my heart), reading, with a cup of tea close at hand. Bonus points for a fire and/or a blanket.

Seriously though, I have piles of books all over my house. On my nightstand I have Ian Rankin’s Knots and Crosses, the first in the Inspector Rebus series; Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman, which should be book #2 in the series but I’ve been tricked before; The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel which I intend to read before seeing the movie so it’s probably a good thing the release date got pushed into the new year; a biography of Ingrid Bergman that was also liberated from my father-in-law to be’s collection; and a book about Charlotte Bronte, but like a fictional diary style version. The pile of books on my nightstand is so high, every night when I go to sleep and put my current read on top, I am unable to reach the top and my book is either perched precariously or it tumbles to the ground and wakes up my other half.

And the dog, who is convinced that someone is now trying to kill us and therefore needs comforting. My 90lb German Shepherd. Needs comforting because of loud noises.

In a pile on the floor in front of my book shelves (to distinguish between books that are mine and books that are borrowed) I have another Kate Atkinson book (I’m in the middle of another of hers right now, One Good Turn, and I have a sinking feeling it may be my last attempt at Atkinson crime fiction) as well as my haul from the library. My library haul this time includes: Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger; Marcus from Umbria which, no joke has been on my list for about 2 years ever since Jen Lancaster recommended it on her blog; The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach which I think will be the first time I’ve ever read a book about sports; And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, possibly her most famous work; and Kim Izzo’s My Life in Black and White.

Those two massive piles don’t even take into account all of my own books I have yet to read: War and Peace (I think I’ve made the decision that it needs to be read again from the beginning), Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals; the Steve Jobs biography; The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton; and From Splendour to Revolution, covering the dying days of Russia’s monarchy.

I need to get my tsundoku under control! Good thing I have an extended Christmas break coming up to make a dent in some of these piles.

Any books stick out for you that I absolutely have to read next?