Thursday, 3 February 2011

Adventures in the Reading pile (an occasional series)…

If you like reading books then you have a reading pile, that’s the long and short of it. Whether it’s just a couple of books from the library or a pile that has spilled off the shelves and swallowed your cat… ‘Reading Pile’ is such a vague term so it all counts.

My reading pile currently sits at maybe, well… I don’t know really know how many books are in it right now. Definitely over a hundred and I’ve got plans to read them all… eventually… one day.
That’s the thing about plans isn’t it? You can have all the good intentions you want but life gets involved, throws its elbows around and before you know it there are books on the pile that you’ve been planning to read for years (I’ve got a few of those)…

What I also find though is that I don’t need life to stop me reading books from the pile, I’m quite capable of doing that for myself (no matter how much I’m looking forward to picking up the book in question). Take this book for example,


‘The Anvil of the World’ has only been on the pile for the last couple of months, a mere whippersnapper when compared to some of the longer term residents, but it’s one that stands out as one of my eagerly anticipated reads. Baker’s sci-fi stuff (what I’ve read of it) was good but her fantasy work was where it’s at as far as I’m concerned. ‘The House of the Stag’ and ‘The Bird of the River’ made for superb reading and were both that special kind of book where you read them and feel like you’re waking up in the world that they are portraying. If you ever find yourself at my place you’ll see these two books on the shelf.

‘The Anvil of the World’ will round off my reading nicely (even though it’s actually the book that begins this loose trilogy) but as much as I want to get into it… I can’t pick it up. You see, Kage Baker passed away around about this time last year and I know that once I’ve read ‘The Anvil of the World’… well, that’s it. No more of Baker’s fantasy for me.

It’s completely irrational but there you go. I may never pick this book up, I might just give myself a metaphorical clip around the ear and start reading tomorrow. In the meantime, ‘The Anvil of the World’ continues to sit on the pile with long term residents such as Glen Cook’s ‘Lord of the Silent Kingdom’ (three years and counting) and Alastair Reynolds’ ‘Terminal World’. Do you have any books like this on your pile? What’s stopping you from picking them up?

8 comments:

JamesY said...

I see (justify?) my collection of unread books as less of an immediate to read now pile and more of an advance reading list for holiday and retirement! While I have (potentially) many years left to collect for the latter, I’d like to slow down work early in life to indulge in more reading.

I don’t have any sentimental attachment to unread books, but I do have a number of long-term residents that are invariably “classics” that I feel I should read, but also includes some contemporary works. Amongst them: books 2 through 6 of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series; Arthur C Clark’s 2001 series; short story anthologies by Ray Bradbury and Ian MacLeod; Greg Bear; Tolkien’s The History of Middle Earth; and a good number of Gollancz’s Fantasy and SF Masterworks series. They are usually trumped in the next to be read stakes by new authors I’m keen to try; the latest offerings from favourite authors, or re-reads or preceding novels in series by favourite authors. For example, I am presently reading Erikson’s Dust of Dreams in anticipation of The Crippled God.

Kage Baker is an author I’ve yet to try. I dare say any acquisitions would be read swiftly rather than languishing unread.

Lasītāja said...

It's easy to understand you. There is a still alive Lithuanian author who just isn't writing anymore. I almost by accident bought a book of his stories, loved them, and now I'm afraid to read another book by him because maybe it's not so good. And, if it is great, I want to save it for... well, for later.

Scott said...

Indeed. To me this sounds like Desmond on LOST. When he was in prison he carried around a ragged, rubber band wrapped copy of a Dickens novel. Not just any Dickens novel, but the only one he had yet to read. He said he was saving it for his last day of life and wouldn't read it till then.

I can understand the want to not finish with Baker's work because she's sadly passed on. That's admirable even. I fully endorse that you may never read it sir.

Ryan said...

Toll The Hounds, Dust of Dreams and The Name of the Wind are all sitting in my pile, waiting to be read, but they are just so damn thick! I know that reading them will take me about a month each, and that is pretty daunting.

Overall, I've managed to deplete my pile down to less than fifteen titles over the past few months, which only means that I need to start building it back up!

noothergods said...

I try to keep my reading pile small. I have two means of doing this, either I read the books, or I decide that I'm probably never going to get around to it and put them away on a shelf somewhere...never to be seen again...unless I run out of books to read and go hunting through my selves...

John Dax said...

I'll never completely finish my 'to read pile.' This is a good thing, however, as I'll always have something to read next.

S.M.D. said...

I'm in a similar boat. Baker was an amazing writer and I'm hesitant to read Anvil or many of her other novels for fear that I'll run out of Baker-y goodness to read...

Droidprogrammer said...

Dust of dreams, has been on my shelf since it was released, I want to read it back to back with the new one, Fahrenheit 451 and Transition (banks) have been sitting on my shelf for a few months, Glen Cook's Darkwar has been a permanent fixture for a long while. But the Grand Daddy of them all is John Marco's The Inhuman series, it has been on my pile for about 4-5 years. I find that more books come out every month, and these seem to get pushed back until I decide I have blown my monthly allotment of money for books. As well people continue to loan me books, those get put to the top of the pile. But mostly I need to be in the right mood for some books, and these will sit until i am of a certain mindset.