When My Eyes are Bigger Than My Stomach

Do you:

  • Ever have moments when you walk into the library and you want everything you see?*
  • Pick up book after book, taking them home though you know it might be awhile before you’re able to get to read them?
  • Look at those books longingly as they linger unread on your shelves?
  • Guiltily return your stack of books to the library unread and sometimes even late?

*Of course, this situation also applies to bookstores.

If you answered yes to two or more questions, then you have a case of your eyes being bigger than your reading stomach.

I have a case of this right now. There are so many books currently being published that sound amazing. I’ve been checking out stacks of books from the library, though the only way I will get to them is if I took a few weeks off from everything to just read.

For me, one of the side effects from this bookish condition is guilt. My bookshelves are stuffed with unread books and instead of trying to read what I own, I’m constantly picking up books that blogging friends have raved about. I often find new-to-me authors that way but my shelves are collecting dust.

While I think there’s no cure for having such a huge reading appetite, I’ll probably cut back on what I check out from the library for now. It would be nice to read some of the books I’ve own for a year or so.

What do you do when your reading eyes are bigger than your stomach? Do you just go with it or try to cut back on what you check out from the library or accept from publishers?

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33 thoughts on “When My Eyes are Bigger Than My Stomach

  1. This is exactly what is happening to me right now. There are so many books that I want to read that I can’t seem to sit down and deal with any of them. And then more and more books just keep coming into the house, which makes me feel even more overwhelmed. I think I need to take a month and just say no to every single book pitch I get, not check out any library books, and not buy any new books. I think that month of focus may be really helpful. But who knows if I can even make that happen :)

  2. One of my resolutions this year was to cut back, at least for the first quarter of the year. It led to a two-month unhappy reading slump. So, I’m just going to go with the tendency. My TBR queue is more like a sprawling ever-growing amoeba, and I think I’m okay with that. I am trying to be more picky with ARCs. Many of the ones I requested last year weren’t good fits for me and could have been avoided with a teeny bit more critical thinking.

  3. This is definitely happening to me right now, too. It seems like we’re in that spring explosion of books and it’s hard to keep up! It’s gotten pretty overwhelming, I definitely have a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. I’m really, really trying to digest as much as I can and close my eyes for the months ahead.

  4. Yes, I can definitely relate! I keep telling myself I will stop accepting review copies until I read some of my own books, but then I’m offered a book that sounds so good, and I end up saying yes. That is more my problem than the library, but it’s the same thing.

  5. This problem is made both better and worse by having access to a university library where books can be checked out for 6 months and renewed indefinitely. I do try to keep it under check though because I find that if I check a book out and don’t read it, it creates some sort of negative association and I’m less likely to want to read it later.

  6. Yes, naturally. I don’t feel guilty about it, though. I just return the books I don’t read and live to check out another day.

  7. My strategy:

    1.) I put 4 books on my bedside table. I’m only allowed to read books from the bedside table. After I finish one of those books I get to go “book shopping”.

    2.) My “book store” is under my bed! All the books I haven’t read go under my bed in big plastic bins. I actually say, “Yay! The book store” when I open a bin. Since I can’t see what I have to read on a daily basis I’m always surprised by what’s there and the pile is so diverse I’m always in the mood for something.

    3.) I’m continuing this until there are no new books in my house. Library, bookstore, and giveaways are all forbidden. The key is to keep the bedside 4 diverse – something funny, sad, quick, slow.

  8. I cannot visit the library without leaving with a huge pile of books – no matter what I go in for. It’s their fault for making the “New” shelf right across from the check out area where I can’t help but glance … look through .. the titles.

  9. I’m always overwhelmed by just how much bigger than my reader stomach are my reader eyes. I have a cycle – get totally overwhelmed by unread books, decide to cut back on acquisitions, get kinda down that I’m not getting any sparkly new books, book binge, and repeat. There are just too many good books. How’s a girl supposed to resist?

  10. I have this problem fiercely. My to-read shelves are obnoxious, and the only way I could read all of the books I own is if I did nothing else for about a year. But damned if I don’t just love books. :)

  11. I work in a library too — like Laurie. What has helped me is not to write about it, and what I mean by that is not to mention on the blog what books I’ve taken out and not read. That way, no one makes me feel guilty about what I might have missed. I also have been learning not to feel guilty when I take a pile back unread…and it’s happening a lot less, about once a month now, where it used to happen every month.

  12. Oh always! Not in terms of books from publishers but my library haul, especially since we go every week, for the kids’ sake (or so I claim!). What helps a little is that I only get to put ten books on hold!! Ten! And with two kids it’s a little hard to browse…

    It’s been fun reading everyone’s comments! And knowing how greedy we all are :p

  13. I did a lot of this this year and had to pay a lot of fines. :( So I had to go back to my library website and request from there – then take any of those hold books home only if I have time to read them.

  14. My God is this ever happening to me right now. I know that it’s partly because I’ve finally gotten access to an academic library again, so a lot of the reading time that used to go to regular books is now going to researchy books (like, fun research, but still). So I end up with piles and piles of books that I desperately want to read, and there’s so many of them I can’t prioritize. I waited two months for my hold on The Martian to arrive at the library, and a week later, I haven’t even touched it. There are so many good books to be read in this world!

    (It’s a good problem to have, of course. Better than the alternative.)

  15. This happens to me all the time, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I won’t read all the books I get from the library. By checking them out, I figure I’m increasing the circulation for the kinds of books I like to read, thereby sending the message that the library should buy those kinds of books.

    It does help, too, that my library is in walking distance of my house, but not a super-short walk. I try to walk there when I can, which limits the number of books I can carry home.

  16. I have this problem also. IT is my library fault that they have a 75 check out limit. LOL. I have stopped feeling guilty for taking back books unread. If I really want to read them I can always check them out again.

  17. I just realized that I have a HUGE stack of books from the library right now (hidden under my bed)! I really need to read those and then move on to the books on my shelves. I have way too many to choose from and I really don’t need the late fees I tend to accrue for those hidden library books!

  18. I constantly do this! And then I make it worse by putting even more books on hold. LOL! It is an addiction :) I try to always remind myself though that library books are free so it is okay if they go back unread. Yet I still feel guilty sometimes…I have no good answers ;)

  19. Oh, this is happening to me right now! And has been probably since the holiday season. My library system lets you renew books 15 times if no one else is requesting them. I have had some books for months… Hopefully now that all of my requests are in, I can go back to my own shelves soon…

  20. I’ve definitely cut back on what I’m requesting from publishers. I start to feel guilty asking for titles when I’m so far behind on reviews.

  21. First off there are worse addictions. I had to come to terms with that realization. Then I used every ounce of willpower I had to only read books on my bookshelf. Of course, that does not stop me from getting books from paperbackswap.com. But those were books on my bookshelf so I had to read them. I never buy books, that helped. I moved and could not get a library card because I didn’t have the proper paperwork for a year. That helped a lot. Seeing books disappear from my shelves became liberating. Having shelves stuffed with unread books always felt burdensome. I don’t mind having “read” books around. Eventually, I was able to read a chapter or two and realize “I do not want to read this book” and tons of books left my house. Its refreshing to me to see only one box of unread books and know some of those books are non-fiction that I want to use only for reference. I feel like after 2 years of serious concentration on my shelves, I can now visit the library guilt-free and read New Books.

    Try it. Its an awesome feeling.

    • That is amazing! I want that feeling. Right now, the majority of my books are unread. I want less unread books and more read ones. Then I know whether they’re worth keeping around or not.

      • It takes so much willpower. You can do it. Moving will help cause you wont want to move all those books of books again. My move from my house to an apartment is what kickstarted my campaign. I also swore that if a book came into my house, it was going to be read that year.

  22. I think I can do it. I’m tired of looking at so many unread books taking up space. If a book comes into my house this year and isn’t read by December 31st, I’m going to donate it instead of keep it.

    Thanks, Bree. I need a kick in my butt. :-)

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