So, I spend a lot of time with bookish types. Today alone, I had three separate friends comment that they:
- Had more than 100 books in their TBR pile
- Were no longer allowing themselves to bring books into their home
- Would never get through their TBR books
BABLE = Books Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy
The photograph above is my apartment. Most walls are lined with bookshelves. Books fill every inch of space, often two deep, and are stacked above the top shelf and sort of wedged in against the ceiling. (I'm hoping the wedging will save me in an earthquake.) There are 26 piles of books on the floor in front of the bookshelves waiting to be shelved. There are a couple hundred cookbooks above the kitchen cabinets that can be accessed by step stool. Non-fiction is stacked above the armoire and, again, wedged against the ceiling. Overflow is stacked on the floor beside. I have stacks of books in piles waiting to be given away through a variety of channels, and I give them away by the dozens--because you guys have seen Mailbox Monday. There are new books arriving daily. They just come at this point. I buy a handful, but mostly they just show up. Thank goodness many of them are no longer physical books!
Did I mention that I live in a small, urban studio apartment? But it's not all bad... For starters, BOOKS! It's awesome; it's like living in a bookstore. Very much like living in a bookstore, in that that I don't always know what's on the shelves. I have been known to read an intriguing book review and think to myself, I need to read that book. Then the first thing I do is check the shelves. There have been several occasions when I've found the very book I seeked. Also, no matter the mood I'm in or the subject I seek, I've got just the right book on hand. Plus, when you finally get around to reading a book that's been on the TBR shelf for, uh, decades, well that's a great feeling!
I truthfully don't know how many unread books I have in my apartment. Certainly it's more than 1,000. So, we return to the concept of BABLE. On average, I read between 50 and 100 books a year. This year I'll read more for the first time in recorded memory. Perhaps I'll be able to do 100+ every year moving forward. Still, I'm clearly flirting with BABLE. I am approaching an event horizon. (Per Wikipedia: In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman's terms it is defined as "the point of no return" i.e. the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible.)
If this is my worst problem, I can live with it. I dream of one day living in an apartment with a spare room--a library. For now, I'll just keep reading.
What about you? Where are you on the BABLE continuum?