I have a lot of them. I have a lot that I have read, but also a lot that are waiting, or got started but weren’t right for the time and ended up passed over in lieu of something more immediately relevant.
I purge books fairly regularly. It’s hard to let go of some that I’ve been waiting to read for, oh, 10 years, but it gets easier with time and the realities of life. I have subcollections: for awhile I really got into mid-70s psychology and self-help books, so have some nice little paperbacks by Eugene Gendline (Focusing), Leo Buscaglia, and others. Meaning: I don’t remember who else I have.
I have a small handful of old textbooks, which I tend to purge quite ruthlessly: reading a biology textbook from 1988 (*ahem*, Laine) just isn’t going to cut it anymore, with the major advances in biotechnology and genetics, microbiology, taxonomic reclassification, and so on. But my texts on evolution and ecological statistics are still handy references and go-to guides. I mean, they would be, if I ever opened them up. My statistics text was hard enough to crack when I had an exam looming; now, it’s sweet dreaming to imagine I would be able to motivate myself to do more than flip through it and reminisce about the halcyon days when I new my Lotka-Volterra from my Eulerian series. Whatever. See? Clearly, review is needed.
I have a lot of business books, because I get really caught up in waves of entrepreneurism, although truth be told I’ve never really gotten much off the ground. That hasn’t stopped me from trying, anyway, or at least, talking about it: wannapreneur, I guess, would be the best descriptor for me. Reality hurts. But at least I have great books should I ever want to read them and dig myself out of the holes I find myself in.
I have books like The Irritable Heart, about health problems that veterans from Iraq faced, and the difficulties they had (and have) getting those problems recognized, diagnosed, and treated. It’s a book I’ve had for several years, although can’t remember where I picked it up – vaguely I recall a yard sale on Denman Island in April 2013 – and I keep wanting to read it, but the gloominess and lack of immediate relevancy to my life always put something else in my hands.
Currently, though, my reading is highly relevant: still on Charles Massy’s Call of the Reed Warbler and Fred Provenza’s Nourishment. I’d have a hard time finding two books I’d be more excited to be reading about right now; although admittedly, alas, I haven’t read more than a page or two in either one for at least a couple of weeks. Life with baby (and 91 year old toddler). I’ll get there.
Someday I’ll get to them. Some of them, I may never read more than a chapter or two, for a particular project or to answer a specific question. I guess I’m fine with that. We can’t assimilate everything. The best we can do is put ourselves in the line of fire where that knowledge might be demanded, and then read like hell to get caught up in time to do the right thing. That’s the best I’ve got.