Saturday, April 04, 2009

Is There a Support Group for People Who Have a Book Buying Problem?

If you haven’t heard of the Fill in The Gaps project yet, here’s the basic gist:

Our beloved Moonie first posted the idea, which she stole from someone else at her place... If you want to read her list and rules, it’s on her project fill in the gaps post.

Basically, each participant comes up with a list of 100 books that they haven’t yet read. Your criteria might be using classics you’ve always wanted to get to... or your own ‘to be read’ pile along with some recommendations by others. We’re giving ourselves a five year deadline (a little more, really) – New Year’s 2015. That’s only 20 books a year. This way, we actually read all those books we’ve been meaning to read, simply by fitting them in between our regular reading - filling in the gaps.

The awesome Emily Cross took up the cause and put together a blog for those of us participating - Filling in the Gaps – The 100 Project. If you’re interested in making your own list, Emily’s information is up at the blog, you can email her to get an invite to join us (insert evil, mwa-ha-ha).

My list can be found here... and all of the participants’ lists can be found by clicking on their names in the right hand sidebar.

When Moonie first posted about this, I thought, “Easy cheesy – I’ve got a ton of books lying around that I’ve always meant to get to...” Okay, seriously, out of the 100, I own well more than half of them. They’re in stacks, and double stacked on bookshelves, and in boxes and closets... and... I could go on.

I started by checking out my friends’ lists at Goodreads and marking ‘to read’ all the ones that I noticed on their lists that I’ve heard about or wanted to read and never got to... then I expanded my list to include classics I knew I wanted to read that hadn’t made it onto their lists yet and books just out or soon to be released by writers I know. Then I went, from the stacks in my living room, tv room, and bedroom... and even my daughter’s bedroom (because yes, I will steal books from my children... can you say addict?) Finally, I ended my journey, at two in the morning, in my crawlspace. I have three large boxes of books down there... or that’s what I thought.

See, I only have so much book space and my insane need to own all interesting looking books I wander across surpassed my allotted space for them years ago. It’s one reason I’ve been trying desperately to stay out of book stores. I can’t buy just what I came in for. It’s not possible. It’s like sending an alcoholic into an open bar and telling him to drink water, it doesn’t work.

So I started putting books that, either I-don’t-want-to-part-with-because-I-liked-them-so-much-but-there’s-no-shelf-space-for-them, and ones I haven’t read yet but will eventually into boxes in the crawlspace. I meander through these boxes and pull out a gem a few times a year. Then those books wind up in my stacks until my husband forces me to re-box or donate some of them. All the while I’m magically accumulating more books – hey, some of them were used.

So, what did I find down in the crawlspace? A fourth box. I didn’t pack that box. I didn’t even know about that box. What was in that box? Every single flippin book was brand new and the spine hadn’t even been cracked (not brand new, I bought them brand new, judging by the fact that my just released copy of Sushi for Beginners was in there – which I still haven’t read- that box was packed and hidden at least five years ago) I know what happened. Husband type person went all willy nilly and packed up every book in his way one day figuring I had so many of them I’d never even notice. And look how much money I waste on things I don’t need... Okay, technically he was right. I’m sure I looked around for some of those books, but I didn’t know he’d hidden a whole flippin box of them... so yeah, technically he was right.... prick.

At the finish of my list, I actually had about thirty extras I couldn’t include... which just gives me something to fill in the gaps in between the gap books. How about you guys? Care to find an outlet for your book buying addiction?


Jennifer said...

Merry, what a great idea! I loved looking at your list. So...where are you going to start? :)

Travis Erwin said...

I desperately need to get back in the reading groove. Writing too as far as that goes.

Travis Erwin said...

Okay my word verification for the last post was Cledria. I was jsut thinking how much that sounded like a venereal disease when I hit publish my comment.

And the word verification this time? ... spermy

Freaky I say.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Jennifer,

I know, it's pretty cool, isn't it? It should be a lot of fun to see how everyone does, and we can posts reviews of what we've read, should be great.

I've already started The Book Thief and I'm loving it (it took me a few days to get my list together, but I started the reading already).

I think the next one I'll try is No Matter How Much You Promise to Cook or Pay the Rent You Blew it Cause Bill Bailey Ain’t Never Coming Home Again – Edgardo Vega Yunque because, really, can you beat that title?

Think you might like to join?

Hi Travis,

Okay, I swear I didn't put my word verification up to hitting you with sexual ennuendos :-)

My reading always goes down when I'm in the throes of heavy writing... but then, great reading makes me itch to write. Weird.

Sarah said...

Merry, such a good list!

For the last few years, I'd been working full time and going to school in the evenings. I didn't read much. Now that I only work, I've had so much more time for reading! Your list hasn't made it easy to slow down any time soon.

silken said...

hm, will look over your lists. may join, not sure yet. part of my problem is that I think I want to read a book, say a classic, then, when I start it, I don't like it and won't finish it....I have gotten kind of bad about that. so I'll w/ a non-committal "maybe".

you would love my sister's place, lined w/ bookshelves!!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Sarah,

That's a pretty full schedule - I can see why you didn't get much reading in. When I was in college, I had a full schedule with fiction writing coursework that had some pretty high pagecounts. I didn't even work at the time and I remember not having any time for reading outside of what was assigned.

Hi Silken,

I have to go over and visit Shelly's blog, I've been very remiss in visiting lately. I remember seeing pictures of the shelves when she first had work done at her place.

I started doing the same thing - not finishing books that I can't get into... I'm going to try to wade through the ones on this list anyway. No guarantee I'll do that with the rest of my reading.

Angela Williams Duea said...

I haven't heard of Goodreads. Now I'm just going to get into trouble. I'm trying to purge my bookshelves these days, too.

I just heard of a charity in Chicagoland that takes donated books, resells them, and uses the proceeds to help with literacy efforts in the community. It's called Open Books:

moonrat said...


i have SO many books that could potentially be shared with others.

Josephine Damian said...

Having pets and going to college meant I could not afford to buy a ton of books anymore (first step to the cure).

Being sucked in by fraudulent reviews and buying books based on fraudulent reviews (second step to the cure).

Wanting to move to a smaller house in a year and wanting to get rid of a lot of the books I have (gotta read 'em first) (third step to the cure).

It's nothing but library books for me now, and I'm determined that every other book I read will be from my TBR pile so I can decide if I want to keep it (and re-read it), read it once, then donate it, or read it till I determine it's not worth reading (and dump it on the library).

So, STOP buying new books and check them out of the lib. and make every other book you read a TBR pile book til your TBR is nevermore.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Angela,

I rarely participate at goodreads because it is such a time-suck, but it's kind of cool to see what your friends are reading and have read and what they rate the books.

Thanks for the link, I'll definitely check them out! Usually I just give boxes of used books to the library, but maybe I can split it up the next time.

Hey Moonie,

Yeah, I'm a book horder... seriously, there should be a support group for us :-)

Hi Josie,

I am trying to stay away from bookstores, but I still like to buy books from new authors and authors I know, because I like to support them. So I have a number on my list, like Erica's soon to be released Magickeepers, and Stuart's The Ghosts of Belfast... but I'm going to use the library for a large portion of my 100 list that I don't already own.

Sarah said...

Right now, I have very little money for buying books. I hate that because there are authors I'd like to support. Michelle (one of us Slushbusters) made the point that you could also help authors by asking your local library to buy their books. It makes me feel as if I'm helping some way.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Hey Merry,
Can you email me at I lost your email address somewhere along the way.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

At the moment I have perhaps 30 unread books languishing in my dusty house.

Sheesh. I need to get reading.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Sarah,

Despite my obvious book buying problem, I totally get what you're saying. I really can't afford the habit anymore either - asking the library to order those books sounds like a great solution!

Hi SS@S,

Only 30? I think you're slacking :-)

Family Fun & Faith said...

Hi Merry, Shelly told me about this post and suggested I come take a look. It seems like a fun opportunity. I will have to go take a look. I expect I will post a list of my own.
Thanks for sharing!

(I thought of you a few days ago when I joined my first ever fantasy baseball league. I figured you'd get a kick out of the fact that I drafted Carlos Zambrano to my pitching staff!)

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi FF&F!

Should be a really fun blog, and all the lists are exciting. I find at least a handful of books I wish I'd included on mine while browsing other peoples' lists.

So far so good, with Big Z, but he's probably not the most predictable pitcher for fantasy leagues... good luck, though... if he does well for you he'll do well for me :-)