The Evolution of My Wishlist
Before LibraryThing, book blogs, and PaperBackSwap entered my life, I didn’t really have a book wishlist. Oh if I had gotten into a series I’d keep my eye open for the release of the next one or if a friend recommended a book to me I’d put it on hold in the library, but that was about it. Back then I’d generally go browse the library or a bookstore and just grab whatever looked interesting and that was that. My reading was much more hit or miss back then. I’d periodically find a book I really enjoyed, but most of the time it was average or “yuck, this sucks, but I don’t have anything else to read right now, so there you go.” This meant that, believe it or not, I’d been an avid reader for years, but didn’t really have a firm grasp on what type of books I enjoy. I’d read anything I could get my hands on just for the sake of reading, because that’s how it was when I was a kid. We were poor, and so I had to make do with whatever books I could get my hands on. This mentality had firmly carried itself over into my adulthood.
Then I started recording what I read on LibraryThing, blogging my own reviews, and discovered book blogs. I created a wishlist in LibraryThing and started adding pretty much any book that sounded even mildly entertaining to it. I then added them to my PaperBackSwap wishlist until I hit the limit (which is in the hundreds). I couldn’t believe how many books I wanted to read! I then had the phenomenon of a tbr pile of books I own, not books I’d checked out from the library. I was sitting looking at them this week, and it struck me. There are as many books in my tbr pile as I’ve read so far this year, and I could think of at least a few on my wishlist that I wanted to read more than a few of the ones in my tbr pile. Then something someone pointed out to me a couple of months ago rang through my brain. They pointed out that reading is my hobby, and I shouldn’t feel bad for spending money or time on something I enjoy so much. Well, why have I been spending time and money on books that I don’t want to read as much as other ones? Why have I felt obligated to? Because I might like it? Reading is my hobby; it’s not my job. It’s not homework. Why have I felt this obligation to branch out into types of books I don’t tend to like just because others have liked them? I’m not saying I shouldn’t ever branch out. That’d get dull. But if you saw my tbr pile and my wishlist, you’d realize that I was branching out about 50% of the time. That’s a bit too much in my opinion. 20 to 25% is more like it.
I can’t do anything about the books I already have. I acquired them, so I’m going to read them, but I could do something about my wishlist. So I went into my PaperBackSwap wishlist and ruthlessly went through, eliminating books that I’d tossed on there without much thought. What’s left is books I genuinely want to read, and yes, a couple of them are branching out of my norm. They stayed because they sounded genuinely intriguing, not because they sounded mildly interesting. I can only read so many books a year. Why spend time on 0nes that don’t grip me? That don’t affect my perception of the world? Life’s too short. I should enjoy every second of it I get to spend reading for fun.