Goalwar Fail
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  • Posted:
  • July 22, 2011

Argh, I’m dejected and mopey. I think it’s safe to say that I have abandoned all hope of completing my reading goal this year. It’s the end of July, I had fifty books to read. I’m only at thirteen. Don’t get me wrong, thirteen old books done or gone is better than what I would have done, but I feel like I’ve failed.

However, that’s the great thing about making bets with yourself, no one knows you have failed but you! Squee! Well, in this case me and all of you readers who I am admitting this too. I failed. I’m not completing my goalwar this year.

(Every time I hear someone admit they’ve failed I think of the scene in Bright Star where Mr. Brown admits he failed John Keats after Keats died… and then I get choked up and want to cry. Such a beautiful scene.)

Anywho….

It’s mostly my fault. I’m the idiot who put twenty books on the list that are all 600+ page epic fantasies, books which I have no interest of reading more than one at a time at the moment; hence why they are still sitting on my shelf after all these years. What kind of idiot assigns themselves big thick books to read knowing that they will all take a good deal longer than a month to complete? This idiot? Who has two thumbs and is an idiot? This girl. This girl is an idiot.

I blame Harper Collins too… and Random House, and Penguin and Macmillan… but mostly Harper Collins. Earlier this year my fine pub rep over at the old HC (I love how gangsta that sounds) came into my work with not one, not two, but three boxes of new HC young adult stock in Advanced Copies. Three… three whole boxes just for me. Even whittling it down to half was quite a lot, and I am still staring at the stack trying to will myself to read by glaring and osmosis as a result.

Now, some of you ask me where I get my books from. It’s a little known secret (very little known if you pay attention) that I work in a bookstore in Michigan. I run the Science Fiction/Fantasy, manga, and the YA/Children’s sections, which are my primary reading interests. As an independent store we are not at the whims of overlords telling us how to run our store. We instead have publishers who are constantly courting us with paperback pre-copies of their books called ARCs (advanced reader copies) in order to get us to sell their books. As a bookseller I have access to help myself to the bounty and take whatever I want for my own perusal. I have to turn in reviews in exchange, and on some level this blog counts for those. Since I have been doing more free promotional work for publishers, and I handsell their books in the store, I have been reaping the benefits of my hard work. I currently have over 1300 books in my flat… 1360 to be precise (if goodreads doesn’t lie). 1000 of those remain unread… 400 of those are ARCs… the rest are books I have collected (and loved) over the years that I can’t bring myself to part with or insist that I will read at some point in my life.

…now you see why I do so many giveaways… makes sense now, doesn’t it?

I have recently been put on “the complete list” of ARCs for Harper Collins. What this means I am not entirely sure, but I think it means I will very soon be showered in books. (ah! Covered in books!) I think it means I will be receiving a complete line of ARCs every season, whether just YA or Adult I have no idea. They said COMPLETE. Yay! And in tandem, ARGH! (I’m kinda scared, and thrilled!) It sounds glorious and it is… if I had 3 more brains, 6 more sets of eyes, 3 more pairs of arms, and all the time in the world to be yet more anti-social than I already am… yes… it’s glorious. And a lot of work.

I whinge, but it really is the best “job” ever… though only the bookstore part is a “job”, not his part… someone needs to start paying me money for the blog, I believe.

I am not saying it doesn’t have it’s perks… nor am I asking pubs to cut off their supplies (please! Please keep sending me more books!!!) but I admit it is hard to keep up. I read a lot. I read all of the time. I read on the drive to work at stop lights, while I am standing up simmering dinner, while I am waiting in line for the post office, while I am taking my daily walk. I read ever spare second I get and some weeks, like this week, I burn out. This is why I have been blogging more non-book entries and no reviews… I’ve fizzled for the week. I need to reset and recharge. My average reading output is 150 books a year… that’s one every 2 and a half days. I don’t think there is anyway possible I can physically read anymore than that and stay sane. It’s impossible. I love it, but I know my limit.

This is why I thought reading 50 older books would be a piece of cake but it’s not. This is partially due to the fact that I gave myself a very minimal breadth for these books to capture my attention before veering. “If it doesn’t do it for me in a few chapters I’m done.” My usual limit is 75 pages, many of the books of the goalwar that I “read” this year were only barely that… and I can’t just skim a chapter or two on the remaining 35 books… it’s unfair. Some of them could be fairly brilliant… but I have too many “new” books to read. le sigh. At some point I think I need to have a booksale.

So yeah… I’m declaring it in July… there’s no way I’m finishing… there’s no effing way. I’ll probably read 150 books, true, but having given myself a specific list to finish is silly and I realize that now. Harper Collins aside, being showered in books aside, this goal was lofty and big-headed, and I can’t possibly complete it. Even if I achieve half of them I’ll feel like I’ve failed. I’ve always been way more of a die-hard pessimist/cynic/realist for my own good. It’s sad but true, I’m not finishing.

Sigh.

– BP

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