Book Polygamist Marriage Difficulties; or My Affair with Graphic Novels

My polygamist relationship with books is in a rut. This has happened before and we have gotten through it. My loyal spouses have forgiven dalliances with a series of flashy, superficial harlots (mostly from the realms of TV and portable gaming, Pokemon being a reoccurring tryst) as they know that I will eventually grow bored and come crawling back, but my recent indiscretions hit a bit close to home. While the same five books have remained at my side since last year, or very early January, my eye has been wandering and my tastes have taken a graphic turn…graphic novels that is. Since finishing Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger on the 4th of January, I have enjoyed seventeen graphic novel or comic mistresses and until recently my traditional books have been barely touched.

It’s not their fault of course. In my less proud moments I may have blamed my infidelity on the size of both The Sending by Isobelle Carmody and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, but that’s pretty hypocritical considering I’m “plus-size” myself. I’ve also found myself judging two of the others – The Living Dead by Various and Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody – for almost the opposite failing as they’re anthologies of short fiction, a genre I am notoriously bad at neglecting. And lastly my treatment of one of my beloveds, Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, is bordering on abuse as not only have I been cruelly ignoring it, but it has also been rolling around in my handbag for a while, receiving bent corners, scuffed pages and a sad curling of the cover design.

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And what have I been doing whilst my steadfast books have been collecting dust or taking endless trips in a bottomless pit of whatever-the-hell-women-chuck-in-their-handbags (am I right gents?)? Parading past an almost endless array of beautiful, glamorous, flawless graphic novels which smugly sit atop the pile of books, likely taunting them while I caress their glossy pages.

While I don’t want to end my graphic novel affair, guilt and a longing for pages covered in text has drawn me back to my loyal novels. Guards! Guards! has been lovingly extracted from the receptacle I call “The Red TARDIS” to rest once more atop the pile in safety, and I have once again turned my attention onto it’s Discworld tale of dragons, magic and incompetent policing. Metro Winds and The Living Dead have both been revisited, and with renewed fervour for Isobelle Carmody’s short story game, the former is almost complete. I am yet to embrace The Sending and Brisingr once more, but methinks a mini-break over Easter will rekindle our romance.

While I did feel bad about my book snubbing, I have to say a quick word about the graphic novels that have distracted me. During my somewhat boring and highly budgeted Christmas/New Years break, and then into the first months of the work year where I faced a complete change in location, responsibilities and staffing around me, graphic novels were there for me with their exciting visuals, quickly engaging stories and a healthy dash of humor. If I didn’t have them I would probably not have read at all, which in my mind is a worse reading rut, so for that they deserve some credit.

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As a further step toward renewed marital bliss I’m also planning to embark on my first challenge of 2014. At the moment I’m still working out reasonable goals and the like, but I will say that it will involves my two large tomes (The Sending and Brisingr) as well as at least one book of short stories (The Living Dead on its lonesome probably as Metro Winds is one short story from the end and will likely be finished before the end of the week) and future candidates that are under 200 pages. I hope to finalise how the challenge will go and post about it next week, before I have a short break over Easter 🙂

I hope my little polygamist confession struck a cord with some of my Bookbaggers. While I can’t imagine sticking to only one book at a time, sometimes my reading habits cause lulls as well as peak periods. As a community I think book-lovers can drift over into judgemental territory on occasion, proclaiming someone “not a true book-lover” if they don’t read in a certain way; or only read certain genres; or enjoy other formats such as film, television and gaming; or just go through a time where they’re not reading. I don’t think it’s my place to judge them back, but in my mind the fantastic world of books would be more welcoming if we all excepted that we’re different and that even if you take the good part of a year to finish one book; or choose to only read romance novels; or abandon that best-seller for a bit to binge-watch Game of Thrones; or take a break from reading altogether to recharge your waning enthusiasm – we’re still readers and that’s just fantastic 🙂

On that note, I’m going old school again:

happy reading! (…or not – i’m not judging :p)
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Eeny, meeny, miny… Nerd

Before I write a post about the two new books I’m starting I have a little confession to make regarding how I choose new books to read.

Some of my close friends and family will know what I do….to some extent but still probably don’t know how nerdy the process has become since starting my Library and Information services studies.

I am an equal opportunity reader – I like to leave it up to chance which books I will read next, and what better method of choosing by chance then the timeless Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. If you’ve never heard of the children’s counting game this Wikipedia article is quite extensive. I use the following version of the rhyme:

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
catch a tiger by its toe,
if he hollers let him go,
eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

But after doing that for a little while, you can easily determine which book will get “moe” so I started using the “boy scout you’re out” system of elimination. If you’re also not familiar with “boy scout” it goes like this:

Boy scout
you’re out
of this game.

And this meant that I could slowly eliminate books and get down to one. However, once I was down to two, I found I always ended up with the second book and since I chose what order to lay them out in, this system wasn’t left to chance so much anymore. After starting my course I started to order the books alphabetically by author, but still I always knew the outcome. And so I started this rather complicated, but very efficient and defiantly nerdy system:

  1. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe and boy scout, with the books laid out alphabetically by author
  2. same process after one book has been eliminated, but the books are laid out alphabetically by title
  3. same again but laid out alphabetically by publisher
  4. same again but laid out by date published, from earliest date to latest
  5. same but laid out alphabetically by place of publication
  6. same but laid out by amount of pages, smallest to largest
  7. same but laid out by last number of ISBN, smallest to largest

If multiple books have the same publisher, date etc. then they are ordered alphabetically by title. And of course the amount of “rounds” depends on how many books in the pile I’m choosing from – so far 7 rounds has been the maximum.

Now, I’m sure a lot of you are now thinking “you freak!” or wondering how I can be bothered doing all that just to choose what book to read next, but I really love doing it, It allows for an element of surprise in my choices and means I don’t just pick a book willy nilly but often find a real gem that i wouldn’t have normally picked. It’s weird i know, but just like keeping a book journal, and having different piles of books, and even writing this blog, it’s a nice little ritual that makes my hobby of reading more exciting 🙂

My name is Jessie… and I’m a Bookaholic.

I thought that little confession would be a fitting place to start as this little addiction is what caused me to be a book polygamist.
Now, a few of you may be asking “How can you be a book polygamist? Surely you don’t MARRY books? …You sick freak”. Hey now! Name-calling isn’t a great start to this blogger/reader relationship! You should be ashamed of yourself! But to answer your question, no,  I don’t marry books (that would be weird) but i do read 4-5 at a time (which many people i.e. my friends and family, find weird anyway – at least I don’t marry em guys!).
The reason being a bookaholic has led me to a life of book polygamy is that i just can’t stop buying and borrowing books, and if i didn’t read multiple at once I’d have died in a book-alanche like one of those crazy ladies that collect newspapers. Also I’ve been reading more than one book at a time for so many years that i find it quite odd and boring if i only limit myself to one (even two or three just doesn’t feel right :S ).
Even with my book philandering, i still have multiple “to read” piles. Below is a picture of the top shelf of my bookshelf which is devoted entirely to books I’ve bought but have yet to read.

And yes, they are double stacked

And those aren’t even the ones in the running to be read in the near future. For ones i want to read next or soon i have two piles on my bedside table (one of my own books and one of library books) and two on my shelves (one of books borrowed from my friend Sarah and one of books borrowed from my little brother).

The one on the left is usually larger, but I’m due for a trip to the Library 🙂

On the left is Sarah’s books, on the right is my little bro’s

So, as you can see i have a virtual Harem of  books to choose from and I hope you enjoy me rambling on about them 🙂
Catch me next time when I’ll talk about the 5 I’m reading now.

P.S. Sorry for the (lack of) quality of the photos. They’re taken with my phone as I am without a camera at the moment