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[Comments] (5) 99 Bottles Of Literature On The Wall: I have a lot of books I haven't read. It got so bad I had to buy a bookcase just to hold them. For the past few years the number has hovered around 150. At the end of last year, when I had 130, I got serious about getting that number down.

I put an embargo on buying new books. I gave up on about 15 books, Bookmooching them or giving them to charity. And so far this year I've read 42 books--once I finish the two I'm working on, I'll have read as many books as I read in all of 2008. People keep giving me and loaning me books, of course, but last night I reached a milestone: I have fewer than 100 unread books. They fit on a mere three shelves of the bookcase.

What's a good way to ease back into buying new books? I could just adopt a one-out one-in rule, but I don't want to stay at 100 forever: I'd like to keep trending downward. I could do two-out one-in, or adopt some more complicated rule, such as "If I have 10n books, I can buy 10-n books."

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Posted by Jarno Virtanen at Sun Aug 02 2009 01:07

Maybe you just need to stop worrying about it? Of course, that's easier said than done, but I don't see the problem in owning many unread books. I can understand that there's the feeling of "having too many unread books" especially if they are books that you've told someone else that you are going read.

Posted by Jarno Virtanen at Sun Aug 02 2009 01:08

... but the problem seems to be feeling, not the fact that you have those unread books.

[Apparently I forgot to finish the sentence.]

Posted by Leonard at Sun Aug 02 2009 08:04

There are two other problems. 1) I might be moving soon, and getting rid of a lot of books before it happens is a way to make the eventual move easier. I don't want to move books that I don't intend to keep--it's bad inventory management.

2) There are about 250 books on my wishlist, books that I really want to read. Any given book on that wishlist I could buy now, but if I bought any large fraction of them I'd have no space in my house to put them. Shortening my queue is a way of making space for other books.

You could argue that both these problems are really aspects of the way I feel about having N+M unread books instead of N, not problems with the books themselves, but my attitude towards the books as physical objects is an important aspect of my relationship with them.

Posted by Holly at Mon Aug 03 2009 06:28

Two-in-one-out sounds sensible. Or maybe set a maximum and reduce it by 5 every month, and you can only buy books when you're under that maximum?

Posted by Jarno Virtanen at Mon Aug 03 2009 13:23

OK, that makes more sense. :-)


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