Monday, October 24, 2011

Tales of the Unread

Post by Jenny

Among the most frequently-offered advice for aspiring writers is simply to read. From the oft-quoted Stephen King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Nowhere do I take this advice more to heart than at my local library. I love browsing the stacks and knowing I can check out anything that strikes my fancy. But that often means I bring home too many books, and then I end up taking them back without reading them.

In the spirit of the Halloween season, here are the undead reasons my library books go unread:

The Mummy’s Curse: Preparing a mummy required hundreds of yards of linen, especially if each finger and toe was individually wrapped (which makes me think of really unappetizing Slim Jims). When I’m feeling mummified—too wrapped up in other things, too wound up, too unwound, or so busy I think I’m coming unraveled—I fall behind in my reading.

The Vampire’s Curse: Dracula had to manage his time well in order to bite the requisite number of necks and make it back to his crypt before the sun came up. I often don’t do so well with deadlines and have had to return many books when the due dates came around, even if I wasn’t finished reading. (I don’t think my friendly librarians have the power to turn me into a pile of dusty bones, but I’m not willing to risk it.)

The Phantom’s Curse: I love ghost stories and other creepy tales. During the day. At night, it’s a different situation entirely. When a scary book gets into my head and either keeps me from sleeping or gives me fretful dreams, I have to give up on it. This happens so often that I should know better, but I don’t.

The Zombie’s Curse: Disheveled, shambling, and with a bigger appetite for organ meats than even the Brits, zombies are more popular than ever. Too bad they can’t appreciate it, what with having their cognitive powers compromised by death and/or powerful voodoo toxins. Likewise, when a book I’m reading is so lowbrow, highbrow, convoluted, or slow that it gives me a similar numbness in my brain, back to the library it goes.

What’s the best book you’ve left unread?


Kerrie said...

That is hard to answer since it was left unread. I too have many books that are in a holding pattern waiting to be read. The problem is new ones are being added to this group making it harder and harder to keep up.

Jenny said...

I guess I should have asked "what's the best book you didn't (for whatever reason) finish?" Or maybe I'm the only one who has this problem :-)

Kay Theodoratus said...

If you're talking about my to-read pile, it's about three feet tall. [Believe it or not, that's an improvement from last year at this time.]

Patricia Stoltey said...

What Kerrie and Kay said.

This post speaks to me, because this is exactly what I do. I'll even check a pile of books out of the library right after I've bought half a dozen new ones at the bookstore. I renew books to their limit, and still don't read them. I don't want to mix up my addiction with the vampire, zombie, mummy thing...that's too creepy.

Dean K Miller said...

Having just picked up more than a dozen books at the Friends of Loveland Library sale on Sunday, I'll have to re-evaluate the answer to that question. Might be something written by someone here...

Jenny said...

Kay, at least it's getting smaller :-)

Pat, I'm a serial renewer, too.

Dean, it's probably a good thing I missed our library book sale this time around.

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