My unread books list is down to 124 (from 143 at the start of the year). I have been a good deal more resolute about this than last year, and have actually cleared 27 of the 143 I had on my unread list on 31 December (as well as reading another 79 books that I picked up during the course of the year, and one re-read). Meanwhile there are a mere nine books acquired so far this year which I haven’t read (Alias Vol. 3: The Underneath, by Brian Michael Bendis; So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future, ed. Nalo Hopkinson; The “Star Trek”: The Next Generation Companion, by Larry Nemecek; Rethinking Europe’s Future, by David P. Calleo; The provinces of the Roman Empire, from Caesar to Diocletian, by Theodor Mommsen; Fatal Attraction, by Paticia Fara; Pussey! by Dan Clowes; Tales of Human Waste, by Warren Ellis; and Science, Culture, and Modern State Formation, by Patrick Carroll.) I have been successful in imposing a bit more discipline on my reading habits.
This is mainly by using LibraryThing as a guide. I always keep in mind – in fact you’ll find it on my Livejournal profile – a) the book added to my LibraryThing catalogue longest ago (currently Alexander McCall Smith’s In the Company of Cheerful LadiesQuidditch Through the Ages, by J.K. Rowling); c) the longest-ago-added of the books on my LibraryThing catalogue which only I own (currently Science Fiction and Postmodern Fiction: A Genre Study by Barbara Puschmann-Nalenz, which I fear may be a bit of a struggle); and d) if I can be bothered to work it out, the book on my unread list most often tagged as unread by other people (currently The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas). In a house where I have read 96% of the books on the shelves, it makes it easier for my eye to fall on one that I haven’t read rather than one that I have, minimises my feeling that I somehow haven’t got any books to read, and means that I am actually utilising the literary resources I have invested in (ie reading the books I have bought).
I came close to reading as many books in May as there are days in the month – had read 28 by the end of the day on the 28th – and contemplated reading a few very short ones just to make up the numbers. But that would be silly. (I managed 27 last November, which included the ten Ian Marter novels, none of which is over 150 pages.) I’ve generally been reading more this year because of my new habit of commuting by train, and last month featured some particularly long waits in airports and also several days of feeling ill in bed. I will probably read fewer books in June.