Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Addicts Unite

Lucy in 2009

LUCY BURDETTE: I confess that I am greedily, unredeemably addicted to books. I can’t wait to enter each new world created by an author, visit places I’ve been (or haven’t,) and root for my new friends, the characters. I might own more books than I can finish in a lifetime, but hmmm, what if none of them were books I wanted to read at that moment? I have suffered a bookless panic twice--both times abroad. The first time, I carried a stack of books in my luggage that I judged would last me more than a week. But I got sick and spent more time reading than I'd expected. And we were in Barcelona, so the selection of English books in bookstores was quite limited. Ack! Ack! A ten-hour flight home with nothing to read? Impossible! The second time my new Kindle failed--on the first day of the trip. I had to read whatever anyone else in the group had finished...

So I can’t help buying books at every store I visit. Over the last two weeks of December, I hit the Key West Island bookstore and Books and Books in Key West, RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison CT, and the Strand bookstore in New York City (twice, because I was afraid I might've missed something the first time through—it was very crowded, you understand, and that made it hard to browse.) 

This bookish greediness might help explain why I have volunteered five times to judge the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award contest for best mystery of the year: twice in the best novel category, once in young adult, once in best TV series (OK those were DVDs not books,) and this year in the middle grade mystery fiction category. One of the bonuses of serving as a judge is that you receive your own copy of every book submitted. (In the first photo, you can see part of the loot I collected during my 2009 best novel tenure--we had to whittle the winners down from over 500 books.) 

Here’s part of my current TBR stash—I didn’t buy all of them, some were Christmas presents, and that was followed by a big birthday (they’re all big at this point…) The six on the top right I tore through and loved right after the MWA reading was concluded. 

Inquiring minds must know, what’s on your pile? I have a niggling feeling most of you share my addiction…And how do you choose what's next? AND PS, SEND ME A PHOTO OF YOUR TBR PILE AND I'LL TRY TO POST AS MANY AS I CAN ON SATURDAY!! raisleib at gmail dot com

And PPS, don't forget to come back tomorrow for our JRW book discussion of Bel Canto!


  1. Lucy, getting copies of all those books sounds like a perfect reason to be a judge!

    There is no shortage of books to read around our house. Sometimes choosing the next book is easy. We have a group of book-sharers at Church and if it’s my turn to read one of the group’s books, then that’s what I read so that I can pass it along to the next person [or return it to the library]. If I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a book from Goodreads or LibraryThing, that book pops to the top of the to-be-read pile because I have an obligation to read it in a timely manner.
    Any Jungle Red book automatically is put on the top of the pile; after that, it’s whatever captures my fancy at the moment.
    I never read more than one book at a time, but, depending on my schedule, I often read two or three books in a day because there are still so many books left to read . . . .

  2. I have books piled all over the place, two deep on bookshelves. I still have bunk beds set up in my room from when I was sharing it with a roommate, but the upper bunk is full of books now, both to read soon and those I've read and have no place to store. It's a huge problem.

    What I read next? Books that I've agreed to review jump to the front of the line, obviously. Next are books by favorite authors that are just out. Or books in a series I'm trying to catch up on. I am trying very hard to mix up publishers and mix in some books not published this year with the new releases I'm also trying to read. It's a juggling act, and I don't always succeed at it, but I am never at a loss for what to read next.

  3. As I mentioned before, I have over 10,000 mystery books, with about half of these UNREAD.
    But of course, I get more books every week, and certainly visit a new bookstore when I am travelling.

    LUCY: I would also panic if I did not have any books to read for a prolonged period of time!

    Library books or eARC to review have to be read by a certain date. When I am travelling, I try to read a bunch of mystery books set in the region/city before I go. So I have collected 3 books by different Icelandic authors to read for my February trip to Iceland. And I have a bunch of books set in Hawaii as well as the Lefty nominees to read before Left Coast Crime in March.

    And occasionally I am able to tackle my massive TBR pile by just choosing one that I have been wanting to read, but have not had time to get to.

    Happy reading everyone!

  4. I KNEW I was in perfect company! Joan, your book addiction is so orderly:)

    Mark, love the image of the top bunk filled with books!

    Grace, I love reading about the place I'm going too. And very envious of your Iceland adventure!

    And all this gives me an idea--how about emailing me a photo of your TBR piles and I will post as many as I can on Saturday? raisleib at gmail.com

    Don't straighten up too much!!

  5. Yes, stacks and stacks of actual books, and some 250-300 e-books to be read.

    How to choose? Who knows! I have zero self-discipline when it comes to reading, anyway. "Just one more chapter" is the story of my life, as it must be for most of us who read voraciously. And my Nook collection grows in crazy ways. Book Bub tempts me daily with deals on novels, new and old, from free to $2.99. And the easy and immediate availability of purchasing new titles has many times allowed me to read an entire series, simply by clicking on the next book when I finish an especially good read. Housework, be damned! There are books to read!

    When I first saw our house, 32 years ago, the most exciting part of it was built-in bookshelves in more than half the rooms, including one entire wall of shelves in the family room. Even the laundry and the basement have built-ins! We've filled them up many times over, and added more shelves in the rooms that didn't already have them. This house was made for a bookworm, and a bookworm found it.

    1. "Just one more chapter" is a perfect motto! And Karen, I totally feel your pain about book bub. I try not to click on things unless I really truly think I will read them…

  6. I would be embarrassed to send it..but I will!

    ANd Joan, thank you!

    Yes,I still have the TBR stack photos from when we did this before..SO great to see! Wonder if anyone's will be the same??

    And I am about to donate my judging pile..I will keep a few of course... :-)

    1. Oh Hank, I hope we didn't do this to recently, but the poor brain is fried. I gave away most of my MWA stash because we'd already read them!

  7. Lucy: Funny, I just took photos of my TBR hardbacks and paperbacks to document the start of 2017. Photos sent!

  8. I just finished and advance copy of Debs's GARDEN OF LAMENTATIONS (it's fantastic!) Before that I polished off Rhys's brilliant IN FARLEIGH FIELD. And I'm about to start Ingrid's DUPLICITY. It's an especially fertile time for the Reds and I'm so proud to count myself as one! Then I'm going to read HIDDEN FIGURES (Margot Shetterly) before I see the movie.

    My sweet husband gave me a Kindle for Christmas, but I haven't gotten around yet to actually loading any books on it (or turning it on)... planning to use it on our family vaca to Puerto Rico coming up in March.

    1. Hallie, do you sign up for bookbub. Before you know it you'll have all kinds of great stuff on that Kindle.

  9. I don't think I need to say that I have more books than I can possibly ever read - and yet, I have never left a bookstore without at least making one purchase.

    I'm finishing up Sara Bladel's excellent The Lost Woman. Before that I read the most recent book in Ragnar Jonnason's Dark Iceland series - Rupture and Gregg Hurwitz's The Nowhere Man. Reviews of all of these will appear on the blog soon.

    And of course, I revisited Bel Canto as part of the Jungle Red bookclub.

    1. I need need need the next in the dark Iceland series. Did you like it as well as the first one? And see you tomorrow!

  10. I, too, am a confessed book addict. I thank my parents for instilling a love of reading in me and my sister when we were little. This grew into an appreciation of the written word and an enduring love of reading. This is why I became a writer. I love creating my own stories. I

    I always have to have a book to read. When I was in school, I read whatever was assigned for English class but I was always reading a book on my own on the side. Now, I read on the subway on the way to and from work. I can well understand you panicking when you didn't have a book to read. Sometimes I ration out my reading on the train to make sure I have enough to read in the morning and on the way home from work. Otherwise, I can't imagine what I would do? Also, vacations without a book is completely unimaginable for me.

  11. Me too Daniella! So interesting about the rationing. Sometimes I do that at night so I can savor the end of something the next day, and have the strength to choose the next world:)

  12. Lucy,

    Rupture if the 4th in the Dark Iceland series - and I think that it is my favorite after the first one.

    If you have only read the first one, do note that the series has been translated out of order and I believe that the correct order should be SNOWBLIND, BLACK OUT, NIGHTBLIND, RUPTURE.

    It bothered me a bit when I read BLACK OUT after NIGHTBLIND. Not a major thing, but enough for me to wish I had read them in order. Without a doubt, this is my favorite new traditional mystery series in years!

  13. Kristopher: Good to hear you speak so highly of the Dark Iceland series. I got my copy of SNOWBLIND before Christmas to read for February, and will have to hunt down the next ones to add to my overwhelming TBR piles.

  14. Yesterday, as my husband was buying yet two more pairs of khaki pants, I joked that he'd never met a pair of khakis he didn't like. He retorted, "Like you don't buy books every time you have the chance."


    I've had to become very selective in what I buy, though. Because I have a small house and although we have many bookshelves, they are full. And no place for more. I buy and keep treasured authors. Brand new authors get purchased on ebook, especially if there is a sale (Kristopher has alerted me to several). And unless I have a passionate attachment to a book, after I read it, it gets given away. I just can't keep them all any more.

    What comes next completely depends on my mindset. Right now I'm in the mood for something thrilling. Mary Higgins Clark to the rescue.

  15. Mary Sutton, I laughed out loud at your husband's response!

  16. My TBR is rather terrifying mostly because the Hub is a reader, too, and between the two of us there are always books coming into the house but not going back out. It's ridiculous! Also, we spend more time thinking about what books we're going to pack for vacation than clothes or anything else. Lists are made, discussions are had, really, it's a whole process. LOL. Great post, Lucy!

  17. Fangirl in RochesterJanuary 17, 2017 at 10:44 AM

    I traveled to Rome for a week with what were then the entire works of Henning Mankell in my luggage, planning to read a toss. Well, sure. I read the first one and knew these were far to good to leave in a hotel room, so I brought them all back home. Discovering Mankell and seeing the white smoke go up from the Sistine Chapel were equally amazing about that trip.

    I came straight home and bought the first Kindle, was practically a hand crank model. Amazon had 90,000 e books at that time, and I thought that would last me if they never converted another to the binary system.

    Since I've gone nowhere without a Kindle and a spare, considering I have the app on my phone and every computer I ever met.

    So I have no TBR stack to photograph. In fact, I buy a book, read it, and file it. Most of my reading is done in bed, between 8 p.m. and midnight. Unless it is a particularly scholarly tome, I read about 400 pages a day. so I get through a book with dispatch.

    I like to feel, my darlings, that I am your raison d'etre. However I suspect you all would continue to write regardless. I do hope, though, that I've bought you a few meals now and then.

  18. My TBR pile has expanded to a TBR bookcase. Meanwhile, taking care of a dog on the mend, etc. has left me struggling to finish my Christmas book - Nathaniel Philbrick's WHY READ MOBY DICK? It's embarrassing, because unlike Melville's work, this volume is only 144 pages long. 144 SMALL pages.

  19. I have library books stacked on a rocking chair. Those take precedence. Then I have a TBR pile on the arm of the couch. Then I have more in a tote bag up in the bedroom. Then I have a pile stacked on a bookcase in said bedroom. Then I have the 300+ on my Nook thanks to Bookbub. And so it goes!

  20. Just saw a wonderful T-shirt: "If it's books, it's not hoarding"

  21. I think I'm in the minority in that I rarely hang on to books after I've finished them. There's a small select group that I've kept over the years, and obviously, anything that is signed. Most of my books get passed on to one of my sisters or the library. However, I do have a fairly good-sized stack of reference books about writing (just added Hallie's newest to the collection!), investigation techniques, forensics, and the like.

    Currently on my TBR stack:

    finishing BURNING BRIGHT by Nick Petrie
    finishing THE OLD MAN by Thomas Perry
    DARK CORNERS by Ruth Rendell
    THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO by Anthony Marra
    THE FAR EMPTY by J. Todd Scott
    NEVER LET YOU GO by Chevy Stevens (ARC)
    EVICTED by Matthew Desmond

  22. What is the dark Iceland series?

    Ingrid, I am off to find Nick Petrie because of you!

    And Jeanie, so right!


    The series is set in and around Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind.

    Original publication order of the series in Iceland:

    Fölsk nóta (2009)*
    Snjóblinda (Snowblind) - 2010
    Myrknætti (Blackout) - 2011
    Rof (Rupture) - 2012
    Andköf (Breathless) - 2013
    Náttblinda (Nightblind) - 2014


  24. Roberta, WHICH TBR pile??? There's the double stack on my bedside table, then there's the overflowing shelves in my office, then there's my upstairs desk, and then there are the books in the kitchen... Ouch. Remember a couple of years ago I did a huge book purge? Well, it's time to do it again.

    And that's not counting the all the books I have on Kindle (loving my new Paperwhite!!!) I subscribe to Bookbub and it seems like everyday there's something that looks really good and it's only a $1.99! Or $.99! I'll never read them all. But as long as I have my Kindle I won't be without a book.

    Current reading and TBR? I finished RACING THE DEVIL, the ARC of the new Charles Todd, over the weekend. So good!!! And now of course I'm reading Bel Canto, but I have 200 pages to go and wonder how late I'll be up tonight... (Loving it!)

    Then I have three of Jenn's books and two of Ingrid's and a half a dozen ARCs, and then I really want to get back to Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce books as I'm halfway through the series. And I bought the Deanna Raybourn's first Veronica book, and--I can't think about it anymore...

    Oh, I've got Hallie's writing book, too!

    And a book called Moral Politics by George Lakoff that I really want to read but I suspect it will be in dribs and drabs...

  25. I have two large grocery bags of second tier TBR books. May or may not ever get to them.
    Then there is the pile by my chair in the living room of the most recent acquisitions.
    And the collection in my closet of earlier purchases.
    This does not include my ebooks which number in the thousands.

    If I were to think like the Winchester woman who kept building onto her house (stairs that went nowhere and such) believing she couldn't die as long as she kept building, I should live just about forever!

  26. Fangirl in Rochester--you ARE our reason for writing, thank you! And you brought up a good point for bringing books on vacation--because technically they should be books you don't mind shucking off as you go. Obviously sometimes this backfires!

    Pat D, please send me pic of the books on the rocking chair. And Mark Baker, hope to see one of your books in the upper bunk!

    Debs, any or all of those piles, you choose:)

    Libby, may it be so!

    Jeanie, the slogan is perfect!

  27. Oh, I love seeing this stack of books. And I was soaking them all up, looking for ones I'd read and ones I still need to read....and OMG! I saw my own book there! Thank you, Lucy aka Roberta for the mention!!! THE SURVIVOR'S GUIDE TO FAMILY HAPPINESS looked pretty pleased to be included in that great pile of books. Thank you for including us.

  28. Which TBR pile indeed?! I'll be thinking about this. Do the boxes of books in the basement count? They're mostly reference books but I never know when I might want to, uh, refer to them.

    Mark Baker: Aren't you worried the upper bunk might collapse under the weight of the books? Now you're going to have us all worrying about you!

    Jeanie: I want that tee shirt!

    Deb Romano

  29. I guess I should have said more. Over the last three years, I've slowly shifted from buying books at a rapid pace to easing off to using the library as much as possible. That is, if the library has it, I put in a request and wait for it. Of course that leaves a great many books wanted, and among those I try to decide: I already have unread books by that author, then I read one of those instead. If it's an author I'm current on, and it's a new book, and I really love her/his books, maybe I'll wait, maybe not.

    I have several thousand books about the place, mostly in two rooms (pictures sent) so I've schooled myself be patient and read what's in hand. Still, I've already bought 4 books this year and have another handful on pre-order.

    I try to donate books I'm pretty sure I won't reread, and there are more of those as I go on. Someone is going to have to deal with all these books, it might as well be me.

  30. Lucy/Roberta,

    Love books! Most of the time I love reading, though sometimes I am in the mood for a different genre from my usual interests.

    Awesome that you got to judge books and get books to read :-)

    Will try to take a photo of my TBR piles and email you the photo with my cameraphone.

    Because I live in a place less than 1,000 sq.ft., I kept many books by favorite authors. If I decide to add a new book to my home library, then I have to give away one of my old books. I read a lot of books from the library, unless there is a book that I really, really want that they would not or cannot buy.

    When I moved, I had to weed out many books and I am sorry that I gave away some books in a series that stopped soon after my move! And now I have three copies of the same book because I forget again and again that I already have the book! And books that are autographed by authors are keepers!

    Am currently reading an ebook via goodreads on my smartphone. it's Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. And I am reading a wonderful Jane Austen themed mystery series by Tracy Kiely. I reserved a copy of the new book in a series by Blaize and John Clement. I cannot find this book anywhere in bookstores, though the library has these books/

    ?? for Hallie - is Rhys' IN FARLEIGH FIELD the standalone book that has not been published yet?

    When I visited England and Scotland, I bought many books to read!


  31. Maddee Dawson, of course I had your book in the pile--you are on my "must-buy" list!

    Deb, I hadn't thought of the bunk collapsing. I guess he can move the books to the bottom and sleep up top if it gets out of control LOL

    Got your pix, thanks Richard!

    Diana, you are in for a treat with Rhys's standalone--coming in March!

  32. Most of my tbr pile is on my kindle... However, my husband is a librarian AND I tend to frequent 2 other libraries weekly so yes, things can get out of control although my husband is worse, 50 books out at a time (the limit) and a monthly box of comic books delivered to the house!
    I suppose there are worse vices. 😄

    1. Certainly there are worse vices! But 50 books out at a time is very impressive

  33. My home has been mistaken for a library, and I love it! I purchased a copy of Eugene Field's LOVE AFFAIRS OF A BIBLIOMANIC in homage, "no truer love than that of a man (woman) and his (her) books." I will take a photo for you, with the library's current bounty in the foreground and one of my own shelves of books in the background. During the recent ice storms, I didn't mind being home, in the company of books.
    Kindle books are mostly backup, but do make travel a bit lighter. A friend used to give away the books as she read them on trips, so I've done that a few times since. My late father-in-law used to tear off sections of paperbacks as he read, but that seems sacrilegious -- books deserve respect. Authors do as well, which is why I've been writing reviews of the books I love.
    It's a benign addiction -- A student was once telling me about her uncle who was addicted to crack. She mentioned the astronomical sum his habit was costing him. We paused just a moment, looked at each other and said in unison, "I can buy all the books I want and no one can say a word.”

  34. The weight issue is a serious one. A worker at Powell's Books told me they had looked into expanding their sales area into the parking garage and were told that while it was fine for cars, it couldn't handle the weight of book shelves.

    1. Same issue at our Connecticut town, where some residents wanted the library to be moved to an old school building. It would have cost a sheer fortune to reinforce the floors enough to handle the weight

  35. @ storytellermary : yes, me too with the storm. It's been a week since we could get out of the house! Hopefully today's rain will start The melting, but it looks to freeze again tonight. Sigh.

  36. Given that I currently have 179 books waiting to be read (before the arrival of some other books I have on order), I think it is safe to say that I have To Be Read PILES, not a pile.

  37. Wow! Looks like I missed a great discussion today. Let me just add that my friends and family have long told me that my house is a library, with so many books I've read and can't part with and so many TBRs. My TBR piles are on shelves (permanent and mobile), baskets, tables, and even on a shoe rack. Lucy, I'm going to send you several pictures of a sampling of my TBRs, the ones I'm hoping to get to next and soon.

    Each January I determine what series I'm going to try and catch up on and make a concerted effort to do so during the year. This year the picks are Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge series (I've read the first four), Ann Cleeves' Shetland series (0 read so far), and Peter May's Enzo I've already purchased the first quartet (The Four Seasons Quartet) of the Shetland series--Raven Black, White Nights, Red Bones, and Blue Lightning. Then, I'll be ready for the Four Elements Quartet of this series, with Dead Water and Thin Air to purchase, plus Cold Earth this spring. I love the Ian Rutledge series, and so I am looking forward to continuing it. I've already read Peter May's Lewis Trilogy and some of his stand-alones, so I know I love his writing. I've recently purchased the first two in the Enzo Files, Extraordinary People and The Critic. And, Kristopher and Grace have reminded me that I hope to get to The Dark Iceland series, too.

    I will be finishing my rereading of Bel Canto tonight. After that comes Sara Blaedel's The Killing Forest and I See You by Clare Makintosh. I hope to read Debs' Garden of Lamentations after The Killing Forest.

    I actually make out several lists that I add to all year. My Reading 2017 list is a compilation of new and old, books I hope to read at some point during the year. My New Books 2017 list is a month by month list of new books coming out that I am interested in. I also have my Series Reading list with the books in order for each series.

  38. The flooring guys came to put down new hardwood last month, and I had to move all my furniture to let them work. That meant all the TBR piles from my nightstand, dresser, bathroom, kitchen, and living room got consolidated onto one closet shelf. I'll try to get a picture. It's an eclectic mix of mystery, science fiction, romance, non-fiction, and books on quilts, gardening, and decor. With all of that tidily out of sight and mind, I naturally started looking for something ELSE to read. Lucky me, I have an enabler right down the street. Debs, who has gotten me hooked on many and many a good author, had just started me off on Allen Bradley's Flavia de Luce series, when a whole box of Julia Keller's mysteries arrived from Amazon. Plus, when she was bemoaning all the other stuff she had to read, I swiped (borrowed, I promise!) Deb's copy of Deanna Raybourn's first Veronica Speedwell novel. She'll get it back by the end of next week, for sure, because it's so good I'll make time to read despite my busy work schedule just now. I try not to keep books unless I really, really loved them, and sometimes, when the pile is too high, I don't finish books that just don't grab me. There are too many other wonderful options out there!

  39. Gigi, where would we be without enabling friends???