Monday, July 24, 2006

Book Guilt

I started this blog back in October, right before I got pregnant. I signed up with the name bookish because, well, I am. However, it seems that the second that pregnancy test came back positive, all my book-reading abilities flew right out the window.

These days, I can't concentrate on anything to save my life. I have hundreds and hundreds of books and probably 50 of them are books that are waiting to be read. Some I'll probably never get to (The Tao of Physics? Probably not gonna happen.) but some I really want to read (I'm looking at two PG Wodehouse books, Six Wives by David Starkey and Last Train To Paradise, all begging to be opened). And what am I reading? The Shell Seekers by Rosemund Pilcher. The fucking Shell Seekers. Which I have read, no lie, probably 15 times already. It's a nice book, very comfortable, like sinking into a feather bed, but still. What next? Re-read Little Women for the eleventy-third time? This is ridiculous.

I know that being pregnant makes me lose what little concentration I have. Plus, there's that whole annoying exhaustion thing. But I'm starting to get a little disappointed in myself. I have huge amounts of book guilt - does anyone else suffer from this or am I a total lunatic? Books that I haven't read yet, that just sit there on the shelf. I can hear them. They say, "Oh, that's right. Read that Maeve Binchy again. That Jennifer Weiner, like you haven't read her books enough times. We'll just sit here. Mouldering. Don't mind us." I tried separating them into different book cases, to shut them up, but it hasn't help. Now, instead of one big section of waiting-to-be-reads, they're scattered all over the house, waiting to snag my guilty conscience as I pass them over for that battered copy of Maia or the well-thumbed Autobiography Of Henry VIII. (Both are excellent, though. I highly recommend them.)

I don't want to start reading drivel. I like my books, even the ones I've read many times. They're like old friends. But I want to make new friends. I NEED to make new friends, so my mind doesn't turn into complete mush once the new baby gets here, as is highly likely. So what do I do? Stop reading so many blogs? But I like the blogs I read, I enjoy them, I get information or support or a laugh from them, and that's important, too. They do, it has to be said, severely cut into my reading time. Maybe I need to ration my blog-reading time. Only do it for an hour a day. But then how will I remember which ones I haven't read yet? There's that whole seive-for-a-brain problem again.

I just don't know. I do think I'll shut down the computer now, though, and go finish my book. Even if I have read it before.


Jess said...

Bloglines has helped me cut down on the long computer times (It flags those among your list to show which have new entries) but I'm not sure, hon - maybe think of all the reading you can do while CJ nurses? You might be expecting too much from yourself - you're in the home stretch of a very tiring pregnancy - could be you'll soon be back to an even keel.

Andrea said...

I totally have book guilt. I have hundreds of books, and about 50 or so to read. Well, maybe 30. I keep buying more. There's the classics that were never assigned to me in school that I want to catch up on, like Pride and Prejudice (I KNOW!) and then there are the new authors I've discovered that I can't wait to see if I like. I haven't read The Joy Luck Club yet (too heavy for me as a teenaer when it first came out) and I want to read Gone With the Wind. But I find that I'm making writing friends with the blogs too. They're also writers, and best yet, they respond back. I can make comments and I know they'll read it. That's just as cool. Plus, the blogs are like continuous books.

Also, bloglines. Saves me a TON of time.

graymama said...

I am also a bloglines gal. It is fabulous!

I joined a book club to help me stay focused. I need a deadline! I have a pile of books that beckon to me. Reading before bed has helped me to make a nice dent in that pile. I have noticed that I am much more picky with books now because of my limited reading time. If I reach page 100 and I am not riveted, the book lovingly goes in the donation box.

You could always use my bathroom excuse to get more reading time. I tell Hubby I have to go #2, even though I don’t. It gives me at least 15 minutes of quiet reading time without getting any flack about it.

If not a mother... said...

another bloglines girl right here.

and I thought I'd read 40 books in 2006, but if I'm still working on #12 right now...

Somehow, my narcissistic side believes that my post about the books I've read must have made you jealous. ;)

motherbumper said...

If you saw the pile of books that I have by my nursing chair that I've intended to read since Bumper's birth... it would make you feel a whole lot better. Trust me.

I can't even get through the abandoned US Weekly's in the laundry room anymore. Sigh

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I don't think I read one book during my entire pregnancy. I couldn't concentration long enough to commit to one. However, People magazines... Those I could concentrate on. I think it was the pretty pictures.

LJ said...

i thought i was the only one who dealt with the guilt of not reading enough. i read lots online but just not enough paper stuff. finally i went to the library today and took out a few books waiting for a lovely package from someone who's sending me a series of books that i'm just loving! I read a book in 6 days last week of course my boy was gone those 6 days.
you could keep a book journal of books you'd like to read and put it off until you are right and ready to read them.