Jessica Day George

Monday, September 14, 2009

S.A.B.L.E.

I have a leetle problem. A problem called S.A.B.L.E., or Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. This term was coined (to the best of my knowledge) by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot. It refers to having more yarn stashed in your house than you can reasonably knit in your lifetime. Now, I am a knitter, and I do have a hoard-- excuse me, STASH-- of yarn in my basement. But that's not the stash that's gotten out of control. If I bought no more yarn for a year, I could probably knit up what I've got down there and be fine. No, I have a different kind of stash.

It's books.

Two kinds of books.

The ones written by other people, and the ones in my head waiting to be written by me. This second stash bothers me with a sort of gentle nagging in the back of my head. I came up with a book idea just last night, for instance. I'll write it down in a minute, and that's great, but when will I actually get to write that book? I have over twenty books waiting to be finished. Over twenty. And no time to work on any of them, it seems like. I fully expect to die and leave behind a rich legacy of unpublished genius. Whoever they hire to ghostwrite these little darlings had better be good. . .

But anyway.

What's really staring me in the face right now is the other stash. The books by other people. I own a lot of books. I mean, a LOT of books. Occasionally I try to count them, or catalogue them, but I never make it all the way through. Yep, that's a lot of books, I think, I' rather read one of them than keep counting. . . and I wander off with a book in hand. I receive books as presents, I buy them for myself, I pick up things at library sales, I get advanced reader copies from friends and publishers. And now I've reached the point where, if I never add another book to the shelf, never go to the library, and never reread a book, I could go for YEARS on just the books in my house. But wait! How could I contemplate not getting books for my birthday and Christmas? I shudder at the thought! Think of all the new shiny books coming out this year! And the year after! Who knows what riches lie in store? And I'm currently hooked on the M.C. Beaton Hamish MacBeth mysteries, and the House of Night series, which I've been getting from the library! I can't stop reading those! Right this minute my love-worn copy of The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams is sitting at my elbow, because I decided to go for some comfort reading on our vacation last week and reread the Greatest Fantasy Series Ever, and I'm not even done with the first book yet.

So if we add in all the books on my Amazon.com Wish List, all the books I've been hankering to reread, upcoming books . . . well, friends, we've got S.A.B.L.E. On the one hand, it's comforting to know that I will never be without a good book. On the other hand . . . WHAT IF I DIE BEFORE SANDERSON FINISHES THE WHEEL OF TIME?!

13 comments:

Cara said...

That would be a tragedy if no one will get toe enjoy those ideas of yours on paper! Readers have it so hard. Seriously. There is so much good stuff out there, and we KNOW we will never be able to read it all.

cfish77 said...

I can totally relate! (To the books by other people part anyway.) At least those of us with S.A.B.L.E. won't ever lack something to read! There was an interesting column in the Ogden Standard-Examiner recently talking about this same subject.

Lawral the Librarian said...

I have the same problem! I have it both with books to read and yarn. If I could figure out a way to knit and read at the same time, I'd be set.

I keep trying to go on a book-acquiring diet (no new purchased books and no new library checkouts, I can't be responsible for what other people buy me from my wishlist as gifts), but then something new comes out and all my favorite blogwriters rave about it and I must read it. Forget the 10 or so must reads sitting on my bedside table waiting for me in addition to all of the other unread books on my shelves. It's a rough life. :)

Julie Wright said...

What if Sanderson dies before he finishes the wheel of time? I went through a shelf purging the other day at my house. There is a bookshelf in pretty much every room in my house. I thought how smart it would be to organize them and send the cast offs to the DI. I ended up casting off only two books. I just have no resolve and I love my books. So I guess I'm keeping them and buying more shelves.

Aria said...

I'm just starting that collection. I have arounf 200 books now and about 20 I haven't read. There are ten in the month of october that are coming out. I'm a super fast reader. I can read a 500 page book in a day if it's really good and if the glare I turn on people who interupt me is truly frightening.

About a year ago my mother gave me a blank journal that had been in a gift basket. I love journals even though I never write. And suddenly I had a brilliant idea. I wrote down the titles and authors of everybook I wanna read, and cross them off when I've found it (some are quite old) I call it my Book Book. I actually lost it a week ago and cried for like an hour until my boyfriend called and told me it was in his car!

I hope to have the huge collection (and have read it too) by the time I die!

Meredith said...

my sister and I used to joke that Robert Jordan would die before he finished the Wheel of Time, and we'd never find out what happened! And then he did die, and we both felt horribly guilty.

I don't have the same book problem as you, but I keep trying to make deals with myself--"If you read one of the books you own, you can check more out from the library! Doesn't that sound good? And wouldn't it be nice to have actually read all the books you own? Wouldn't it?!?!" It doesn't really work that well, though. I keep seeing more at the library that I really want to read, and the books I own get neglected again.

Anonymous said...

I love this post but most of all your closing line.
Lars

Danyelle Ferguson said...

LOL! I certainly hope you'll still be around when Sanderson finishes Wheel of Time. I needs lots more books with Jessica Day George on the spine for my bookshelf!

Wren said...

This is the readers' and writers' and yarners' (I'm a crocheter myself) plague. With 100 books I have not read in my house, 30 I want to get from the library, 15 that are coming out in the next few months, an average of reading only 7 each month and buying about four each month...unless there are sales....
My problem sounds just like yours. SABLE.
(and yes, our favorites we return to just as often as a new book)
Solution: Duplicate yourself for a while so you can write, read, sleep, and knit all at the same time. Woohoo!

Mckenzie said...

Oh my gosh that is so funny!!! I wish I had that problem!!! when I'm not reading one of your books I have promblems finding good books to read. Do you have any books that you suggest for me to read.

Anonymous said...

NOOo!!! write more books before you die! I love your books!

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I think I'll read some of those books. They must be pretty cool!

Anonymous said...

WRITE MORE BOOKS BEFORE YOU DIE!!!