Books Magazine

Bookish Pet Peeve #7: Buying Books I Don’t Read

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

Today’s bookish pet peeve is about me. I am my own pet peeve.

But let me first clarify. Reading through the Time list has immensely helped me with this problem because the only books I buy right now are books on the Time list.

So I’m very purposeful, rarely experiencing one of those bookstore binges in which I buy 10 books, only to read 2 of them before the next bookstore binge.

You know how it goes, right?

We’ve all done it. Readers like us, we mean well. We have the best of intentions. Of course we’re going to read Martha Stewart’s biography, War and Peace, and Gardening Techniques in Northern Ohio—of course we’ll read them. At least that’s what we convince themselves when we buy all three at the used bookstore.

But Spring passes, and you’re not as interested in gardening. Your two-week obsession with Martha Stewart thankfully ends—as does your interest in her biography. And War and Peace? Have you seen that thing? What were you thinking?

So there those three books sit on your bookcase—with dozens of other unread books. Many of which have, sadly, never been opened since that magical serendipitous moment at the bookstore years ago.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

We’re like a glutton in the buffet line, grabbing six biscuits but only eating two. Is there a cure? Can we save ourselves from this overestimation of our reading capabilities?

Why can’t we just read the books we buy before we head off to buy more?

What is it with this addiction?

***

Previous Bookish Pet Peeves:

#6: Speed Reading

#5: The Book Borrower

#4: The One Upper

#3: The Book Snob

#2: The Nosey Over-The-Shoulder Reader

#1: Bookstore Cell Phone Blabbermouth


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