Lydia Davis' The End of the Story was, for me, an outlier.
I can remember how I got it: my mother-in-law gave our daughter a gift certificate to the bookstore in the mall. By '95 R. already preferred the large chain bookstores for both purchases and ideas for books to get from the library and found slim pickings at the mall. By '95 we had internet access to the library and typically had four library cards maxed out with holds. You might say we were roiling in books.
I swapped cash for my daughter's gift certificate and bought The End of the Story for myself. I didn't know a thing about Davis but it looked good.
It still looks good and it can still trigger a pang or two, but I've mostly forgiven myself for its continued status as a tbr. It's all the other as-yet-unread hardbacks, the ones I've managed to accumulate seemingly en masse over the past few years, that trigger a case of guilt. I love owning books, I can't imagine why I would ever want to stop buying them, but I do wish I could limit my urge to obtain the just-published ones to those I will read immediately. Books I would prefer to own in hardback even after the slimmer more shelf-friendly copies are out in paperback can be picked up for a fraction of the cost if I'd just wait awhile. Why can't I wait awhile to purchase when I'll be waiting awhile to read them once they're on my shelves? That is the question.
My book greed is two-pronged. It wasn't until I found book forums and email lists and blogs that I knew much more about what was being published than what showed up on the weekly book page in the local paper. And it wasn't until we'd paid off the mortage that I began buying more than a few books for myself each year. I'd felt circumscribed for most of my life, why not stockpile now while I have the chance?
So far this year I've bought about 25 more books than I've read and about half of what I've read has come from the library. My tbr's keep increasing and I'm having to resort to doubleshelving and stacking. It took me two days to locate Dubliners. It actually was on the shelf where it was supposed to be, but with the stacks turned sideways, it was easy to overlook.
Sometimes I think I need to return all the library items I have checked out, cancel my holds, and read all my favorite book bloggers with my hands over my eyes. I should concentrate on getting through what I already own instead of agonizing over which books I should get next.
Because, yes, I'm ordering books tonight. Hardbacks.
I have a coupon.