Friday, 18 June 2010


By Richard Jay Parker

Because I'm spending so much of my time perfecting book 2 I've been neglecting my reading which means that my summer book pile is now taller than I am. I'm determined to reduce it but this brings me to a subject that I've discussed with lots of other writers. Most of us agree that there are now so many books on our shelves that we will never finish them in this lifetime.

It's our own fault. We buy books by our favourite authors, books by new authors we're interested in, books by writers we meet on Twitter, books we feel we should be interested in, books we've had recommended or handed to us with an imperative recommendation and random books that we just can't resist plucking out of the bargain bin or the second hand shelf. It's these irresistible little gems that mean that our books are now being stored horizontally rather than vertically and form literary stalagmites in every room. That doesn't even take into account the books we'd like to read again - and there are certainly plenty of those.

Some writers and readers I know get genuinely depressed about this. That when they calculate how long they take to read a book and how long their life expectancy is there's still not enough time to read the books they already own let alone any new ones they might accumulate in the future.

The truth is nobody would stand in a library, look round and say 'I'll never get through all these.' A lot of us are lucky to have our own personal libraries but that doesn't mean we have to read them all. If there's something we really want to read then we'll read it. The rest are great to have in reserve.

So for my late summer reading I'm going to go for a mixture. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue - hell yes if I'm in the mood for something like that. It's usually the wild card that turns out to be the most enjoyable.

I wonder what criteria other readers use to make their summer selections?


  1. No method to reading. I just grab a stack read through the synopsis find one that is appealing the most at that moment and read it. Then start process over. Helps that I can read a book in a day or two, so I get through them quickly and get to read more books.

  2. Mo Foster/ Loud women19 June 2010 at 03:55

    Omygawd lost 1st one. I take ages to read a book so take book buying seriously - also I am often skint. I usually take something worthy with me, jettison it early in my holiday and am reduced to scant English language books in street markets, In Turin recently I bought 'Last exit to Brooklyn' a dubious pleasure that I remember championing last time around. My tastes change though some books remain my friends.

  3. This sounds very familiar. My home library has about 4,000 books, many still to be read. I agree, I'll never get to read them all, but it's nice to be able to choose according to mood or whatever, since most bookstores won't stock many of them beyond a few weeks on their shelves. I've averaged a book a week for the last two years.