Posted by: Mish | May 14, 2009

Big Book Belly

I tend to acquire books faster than I can read them, but it’s not all my fault. My downfall is used bookstores, where I’m more likely to come away with a stack of books that have either been on “the list” or just looked good. What can I say, but that I like squirreling books away for later. I’ve gotten better about not giving into temptation too frequently by fighting the force and not entering the shoppes.

As I said, I’m not 100% to blame for my stockpile. Part of that lies on my friends. Last year for my birthday, knowing how much I like Mercedes Lackey a friend gave me the Snow Queen. I was deep in Valdemar around that time and had the Moon in the Mirror by P.R. Frost in the queue. As they are wont to do, other books fell in line. Last month, a friend handed me the Compass Rose by Ursula Le Guin with the question of had I read it. Actually, she’s a big reason for a lot of the books that end up in my hands. Shortly after, she asked if I thought a friend of ours would be interested in Vilhjálmur Stefánsson’s My Life with the Eskimo. Luckily for me, he’s busy with other reading and such so I can finish what started as “just a glance”. It’s better than it looked.

Luckily, I have an insatiable appetite and will get to the books on my shelves at one point or another. I know I’m not the only one with a big book belly so as asked by Booking Through Thursday:

btt2Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

Thanks to Vega for this meme:

1. Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack?

Rarely since I do the majority of my reading before turning out the light. On occasion, I’ll spend a couple hours reading over lunch at a Chinese restaurant.

2. Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I tab pages with torn bookmarks, napkins, or anything handy. I’m more likely to highlight and write in academic books than recreational, but the notion isn’t horrifying.

3. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Any one of my many bookmarks and that thought of dog-earring is horrifying.

4. Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

A little of this, a little of that.

5. Hardcopy or audiobooks?

I never got into audiobooks. I like reading books and listening to music.

6. Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I can pause at any point, but prefer reading to a chapter’s end if possible. There are plenty of books out there that don’t make the latter feasible.

7. If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? Write it down to look it up later?

I can usually figure out the meaning from context, but if I can’t and it drives me nuts, I’ll look it up. The last time I did so was for “palimpsest”, which Catherynne M. Valente doesn’t really define until the end of Palimpsest.

8. What are you currently reading?

A little of this, a little of that. For sci-fi and fantasy I’m reading two anthologies, Ravens in the Library and Ursula Le Guin’s the Compass Rose. There’s also My Life with the Eskimo by Vilhjálmur Stefánsson, which is an account of his time in the Arctic circa 1917. Adding to the mix is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, Tao Te Ching, and the Bible- Shamanism, Taoism/Buddhism, and Judeo-Christianity.

9. What is the last book you bought?

Ursula Le Guin’s the Lathe of Heaven in the beginning of March from my favourite used bookstore. The last new book purchased was Palimpsest during its release gala on Ash Wednesday. What a memorably fun night

10. Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can read more than one at a time?

See #8. I can’t remember the last time I read just one book, preferring something for different moods and mentalities. The Compass Rose is difficult to comprehend if one is brain-tired.

11. Do you like re-reading books?

I have a hard enough time getting to those I haven’t yet read. Once in a rare while I’ll re-read something, like Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, which I loved in my youth and wanted to revisit as an adult. I’m looking forward to doing a read-along for Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, which I last read in ’95. This time I’m foregoing translation and reading it in French.



  1. I believe every book has its moment with an individual reader, and that is why I have to keep buying them in case I have a whim for that particular book.

    Proud to be a glutton, but I try not to buy. I grab the ones that I’m most desperate to read and leave the rest on a list.

  2. Hey there 🙂
    Thanks for visiting my blog today and leaving your comments. Always a pleasure to have new people come by…

    One of the things I miss the most from Brussels (where I used to live) is my fav used bookstore (so I sympathize completely).

    Oh and I loved your squirrel simile..:lol:

  3. Matt, exactly so. If I bought every book on my list I’d be sleeping on top of them.

    Imogenc, thanks for returning the favour. Brussels, home to some of the best chocolate and waffles I’ve ever had. I’m suddenly hungry.

  4. I have to drive away quickly from discount stores when I see them while on vacation or I’ll come home with another pile! 🙂

  5. Hahaha. When traveling a friend makes sure she has extra space to bring back the stack o’books she inevitably returns with. I figure if they can’t fit, ship ’em- though I haven’t had to do that yet.

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