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The OCD Person’s Book Tag

chronicles of an obsessive bookblogger

The OCD Person’s Book Tag

I have had a couple of fun book tags cross my radar over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I’d do the one that looked the most insightful. A lot of these tags sound the same, but I really love the questions from this one – they are totally relevant to the type of questions I’ve been asking myself lately. It was meant to be a Gif tag, but since I never liked the way those look in blog posts, I’m taking my own spin on it (the boring one). :-)


You have a million unread books on your shelf. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

tackling the TBRI used to use a shortlist, where I pulled out twenty or so titles that interested me then play the eeny meeny game for ten minutes until I was down to just one. Now, I’ve started a new system called Tackling the TBR which I absolutely LOVE. It involves identifying my top priority titles, compiling them onto my TBR Tackler Shelf, and then picking from that throughout the month as the mood strikes me. It’s a system that guarantees that I read the best books first!

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

I used to be committed to finishing any book I started no matter how much I wasn’t enjoying it. Nowadays, I realize with frightening clarity that I may not have a chance to make my way through all of the books I want to read (it would take me 40 years alone to read all of their unread books currently in my house), so if I’m not enjoying something, I take five minutes to spot-read to the end and then put it down. Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying! Also, I discovered a DNF Q&A by Nikki over at ThereWereBooksInvolved (who kindly let me borrow the feature) which was the perfect solution to my dilemma on how to discuss these books fairly.

The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

I’ve discovered during many failed readathons that I cannot possibly read any more than I already do. On one hand this is good because it means I’m maximizing my time, on the other hand I can’t simply push to get through books any faster. In November 2013 I noticed my goal of reading 100 books was 15 books behind schedule and climbing. I tried to pick up shorter books for a couple of weeks to catch up, but realized how stupid it was to push myself to read things I’m wasn’t in the mood for just to fix a number on a website. I adjusted my goal to 80 books and called it a day. :-)

The covers of a series you love do not match. How do you cope?

THIS is the worst thing ever – why would you do that? I can kind of understand why some books are available in paperback and others in hardcover (even though it’s still really annoying) but to change the style of the covering halfway through the series means there’s nothing I can do other than buy a second copy to fix it. I don’t cope. I cry. I avoid looking too long at those mismatch titles and cringe whenever my gaze lingers on them too long. It stresses me out. Hank Green has a really awesome book rant video that touches on this issue… I love it. Below are just a couple of examples of the titles that are ruining my shelves:

A sequel of a book you love just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?

This problem is the reason why I have not finished quite a few series that I was really liking. It’s often those authors who took more than five years to get a next book published (JoAnn Bertin, Elizabeth Haydon, Jennifer Roberson, E.E. Knight, I’m talking to all of you), and so I’m stuck with the conundrum of reading the entire series over again (who has time?) or picking it up anyway and risking being totally lost. I have pretty good recall, but it really annoys me to not remember tiny details or side characters because I feel like I’m missing elements of the big picture. If it’s because I’ve put a series down for too long, I can’t really complain about that, but when it circumstances revolving around the author of the publisher that really hurts my heart.

You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I don’t go out in public unless I need more books… or food.

Everyone and their mothers love a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over their shared feelings?

I know this sounds weird, but if no one agrees with me, I’ll bond with myself. I’ll write a really thoughtful review detailing exactly why the really popular book didn’t work for me and then I’ll sit there and reread it 1000 times, agreeing with myself with every pass. “Yes, that’s precisely why I didn’t like it – well said! I conveyed that point exactly like I meant to – awesome!” And on it goes until it gets too far down in my feed for me to find. Every once in a while someone who follows my blog will agree with me and the world stops as I bounce with joy. Here are a couple of the titles that just didn’t work for me. Don’t yell at me.

You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people no when they ask?

Anyone who has ever lent out a book knows that, if you even get it back at all, chances are it’s going to be trashed. I’ve only lent out a handful of books in my life, and every time they come back like they’ve been run over by a car (and in one case, my book actually was run over by a car... thanks a lot BJ). One of the biggest fights I ever got in to with my best friend as a kid was when I lent her one of my Redwall books with specific instructions not to crack the spine. When it came back to me with a single, solitary crack right down the middle, I was livid. I can’t remember ever being as furious as I was at that moment, (and for the record, she was pretty mad at me for being mad over something so trivial). Looking back, I admit it was a total overreaction, but even now my blood pressure rises whenever I see that same mocking copy of Mossflower on my shelf, tarnished forever. Nowadays I’ve taken a chill pill – I totally crack the spines on my paperbacks (in exactly 50 page increments), so it shouldn’t still be a big deal, but it’s the principle of the matter, you know?

As for telling people no, I try to be polite, but I think the look pure horror on my face offends most of them anyway. My mom, in particular, knows how anal I can get about my books… I outright refused to lend her anything ever again after she viciously cracked the spines on a few of my paperbacks. Thank goodness we share a nook account now – I haven’t had a book casualty in several years. Love you, mom. ;-)

Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

I have reading ADD in the sense that, no matter how good the book is that I’m reading, I’m always eyeballing my shelves wishing I was reading those books too. I have never been in a reading slump, but that might be because I often have more than a few books going at once. If I get bored, I just rotate. At any given time, I have a physical book, and audiobook, and ARC, and the book on my phone for waiting rooms and whatnot going at once.

After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

10845984_10202966163624334_503165865379896020_nI have hundreds of books that I bought over ten years ago still sitting unread on my shelves. Since I’ve been more careful with what new books I’m adding to my collection, I don’t have very many unread books from the last couple of years (maybe 20 or so?). I would say the average wait time is about six months, even for books I’m dying to read. I just have so many! If it’s a book I know I want to read but it’s not a high priority, it will sit there for years.

There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

When I was a bookseller for those 11 years, I bought EVERYTHING, which is why my collection is ridiculous. Now though, I’m looking at all of those impulse purchases I made throughout the years (we are talking hundreds and hundreds of books) and thinking “man, I really don’t even want to read half of these now… what do I do with them?” Even worse, I spent a pretty penny on entire series only to have picked up the first book and totally hated it. The bottom line is, I’m sick of looking at books on my shelves that I don’t even like or want to read, but I can’t get rid of them because I spent money on them and I’m weird like that. Nowadays, the authors I know I love get purchased every time. The ones I’m not totally sure about get checked out from the library first and then purchased if I end up liking them. That way, eventually my bookshelf will consist of only the best books. That is, if I can figure out what to do with all the ones I’ve already invested in…

Also, I started a 1500 for 1 challenge a few years back that has been working great for me. It entails that I have to read 1500 pages before I let myself buy another book. It used to be 4 for 1 (meaning 4 books read for every 1 purchased) but all that did was encourage me to read nothing but young adult. This new method is more proportionate to effort.


Tag!!! You’re it if you want to play along. :) Feel free to share in the comments if you do, as I’d love to read your answers to these OCD questions!

by Niki Hawkes

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