My bookshelves are filled with books that I have not read. I regard this as a blessing, not a failing.
There are the many books that I have asked for as gifts or gone out and bought for myself because they sounded intriguing or entertaining.
- The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)
- And the Mountains Echoed (Khaled Hosseini)
- The Narrow Road to the Deep South (Richard Flanagan)
- Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel)
- The Golden Notebook (Doris Lessing)
- All the King’s Men (Robert Penn Warren)
My TBR pile which contains the books that I have set aside as definitely wanting to read currently has 32 books on it.
Then there are the books that my children have bought for themselves which look enticing. I would love to find the time to discover what lies between the covers of:
- I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith)
- The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)
- The Earthsea Quartet (Ursula Le Quin)
- His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman)
- The Bartimaeus Trilogy (Jonathon Stroud)
- Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson)
- The Star Dancer Tetralogy (Beth Webb)
These are just the titles that I noticed on a quick glance through the shelves in our library. There are many other treasures lurking in bedrooms amidst the detritus of teenage life. I would never ask my children to tidy away the book towers by their beds.
As a book blogger I only ever ask for titles that I would hope to enjoy. Quite apart from the time it takes to read the book, a positive review is much more satisfying to write.
Once I have received my ever welcome book post I feel committed to opening myself up to whatever each author has to offer and subsequently writing down my thoughts for the benefit of potential readers. My books to review pile currently contains eight titles, about a months worth of reading at my normal rate.
My husband questions why I consider buying more books, why I continue to ask for new titles from publishers when my unread book collection is so large. Bibliophiles will understand.
The books that I purchase tend to be well known and popular. They have often achieved critical acclaim and I am curious to discover why. I hope that I will enjoy them, and I do intend to read each and every one of them, but if readers only buy already established books then how are new authors who produce works that deserve equal recognition ever to become known?
It is not as if I expect my reviews to make a singular difference. They are, however, a very small part of a wider movement which exists to spread the word of the choices available.
And I get so much out of this too. I get to read authors I may not otherwise find. I get to tell everyone I know that a book exists which I think they would enjoy. I feel such delight when I recommend a book to a friend and they come back to tell me that they were as blown away by it as I was.
I find it hard not to buy more books. I have read only two in the past few months which I did not acquire specifically to review:
- The Humans (Matt Haig)
- Slaughterhouse 5 (Kurt Vonnegut)
Both were worthy of all the praise and recommendations that they have received but so many lesser known works are worthy of attention too.
I read for pleasure. There is something rather special about discovering a new book and shouting about its wonders to all who will take note on publication. There is something rather special about gifting previously unknown books to others that I am convinced they will enjoy.
I salute the authors of all the wonderful books. I thank them for providing pleasure for so many.