Weekly Geeks – Shiny Book Syndrome

The Weekly Geeks’ topic this week is from Tara SG (25 Hour Books). She writes:

In case you don’t know me, I like to make up medical sounding names for my book obsessions. For example: P.A.B.D.. I’d now like to introduce Shiny Book Syndrome. This is usually accompanied by a book hording problem yet to be named.

So what is Shiny Book Syndrome? It is when a person only wants to read their newest book and leave piles of poor unread books on their shelves to collect dust.

What can you do to alleviate the symptoms?

My first suggestion would be to make a list of all the books you own. I use GoogleDocs. I start by creating a form and then can organize the spreadsheet to see what I have and if I’ve read it yet or not. (For more info on how to do this, go here).

My immediate reaction to this topic was that yes I have Shiny Book Syndrome, but when I looked at the list of books I’ve recently finished I realised that although I may think of reading my newest acquisition, I don’t actually do it.

I am tempted to read new books as soon as possible, and sometimes give in but mostly I wait until I’ve at least finished the books I’m currently reading. By that time the urge to read that newest book has faded, only to be replaced by the next book/s.

At the end of last year I joined Emily’s Attacking the TBR Tome Challenge and have been making quite a few inroads into my unread books (I’ve read 18 of them since December!) and I try to balance my reading – reading some from the TBR shelves, then some of the new books and slot in reading library books somewhere in between. Other challenges may help, if I can slot in some of the TBR books, but often they don’t, so these days I’ve backed off from some challenges.

Borrowing books from the library is one  reason I don’t get round to reading my own books, because I’ll often read a library book in preference merely because it’s due back and I’ve reached the renewal limit.

Most of my books are catalogued in Library Thing, unread books tagged TBR. It’s very useful as I can quickly see all the books I’ve yet to read, but that doesn’t make me pick one up and read it. Why is it that once I’ve owned books for a while they no longer have the same attraction they had when I bought them? There are always more books to attract me – that’s it – I keep on finding more books I want to read.

But, it’s not really a problem, because I read as the mood or interest in a book takes me. It would be a problem if I was left with no books to read as I would feel deprived and irritable – that would be much worse than too many.

7 thoughts on “Weekly Geeks – Shiny Book Syndrome”

  1. Margaret – You’re absolutely right; having no books to read is much more of a problem than having too many books. I use our local libraries a lot, so like you, I often read in the order in which a book is due back. That helps organize my reading.

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  2. I agree with you and Margaret completely about having no books — but I don’t believe that I’ll ever run out of books to read. My fear is that my eyes will give out before my books do, but then I guess I’ll go to recorded books. I think that this continued desire (of mine) is more related to wanting to get my entire life organized, rather than my books to be read, the order in which they should be read, etc. Maybe if I let that whole concern go, I would find myself with more time for reading! Annie

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  3. I understand Shiny Book Syndrome all too well! I have a book habit that has got way out of control – I buy books far faster than I read them which has led to a collection of unread books so large that I am afraid Junior Son was right when he said that I could read constantly for the next ten years and I still wouldn’t have read everything on my shelves!
    I made a vow to stop buying books and have stuck to it for a couple of weeks so far so all I have to do now is get the library request habit under control and I will be ready to start on the backlog!
    Question is where do I start?

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  4. Perhaps putting my TBR books onto Library Thing would encourage me more than having them all lined up, crying querulously to me, in the shelves just inside the front door. I see them all on my way out of the house every time I go out of the front door. It would be great to see those shelves diminish.

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  5. Ah the bane of the avid reader’s existence – too many books piling up and the feeling that you’ll never get them all read. Sometimes that can actually take some of the fun out of reading. I’ve just stopped worrying about it; I read whatever book on my shelves catches my fancy when I’m ready to start a new one. I only read one book at a time and the only time I read something because I need to is when I have an ARC and publication time is near.

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  6. I have shiny book syndrome in the sense that I love to BUY new books, but then they often languish on my shelves. This is to the point where my husband nags me everytime I want to buy new books, reminding me that I have many purchased books at home that I haven’t even touched yet.

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