Quandarification

I’m still in a state of ‘quandarification’. (Is there such a word? Well, there is now!) At the start of the year, when the word pandemic was something most of us associated with ancient history, I made a resolution to reduce book acquisition in the noble pursuit of tsundoku reduction.

Anybody afflicted by tsundoku will know that bittersweet feeling of guilt and pleasure with accumulations of unread books, but in a bid to support local business during lockdown I broke my resolve at the end of March.

Now, halfway through this crazy year, I think it may as good an opportunity as any for a quick bookwise review, and to also check on that quandarification.

According to Goodreads I’ve already read 39 books out of the sixty I thought I might manage throughout the whole of 2020. Of course some titles are shorter than others, but I’m reasonably pleased with the balance of classics versus modern, female versus male authors, adult versus YA, novels versus novellas, short story collections and non-fiction, rereads versus new reads.

What I’m less pleased about is the lack of real diversity and the limited range of nationalities and cultures represented, something I’m struggling to remedy, especially in view of Black Lives Matter. I have yet to review some Chinua Achebe essays I read last year, am still part way through Adeline Yen Mah’s Chinese Cinderella, have let Marjorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses slip down my TBR pile, and have so far only finished the introduction to N K Jemisin’s collection How Long ’til Black Future Month? I’m hoping that so publicly indicating this gaping hole in my literary consumption will spur me into action instead of falling back into lazy comfort reading. (Not that I can term Middlemarch a lazy read!)

Mention of George Eliot takes me to my picks for Cathy of 746books.com‘s Ten Books of Summer challenge. I see that of the ten I’ve listed I’ve only started one title — the Eliot — and we’re already one third of the way through the three-month event! I’ll be lucky to get through all ten, and even four or five of these blockbusters may prove a summit too far . . . but we’ll see!

And now I return to my quandaries. I’ve already started accumulating books again from various sources — the local indie, Waterstone’s, even (thanks to a Father’s Day voucher) Amazon — faster than I’m consuming them. That’s a cause for concern though not yet alarm (no ceiling has so far caved in with the weight of books above it) as I’m running out of years in which to read them…

So, advice please. I’ve attached a poll to elicit your answers to my big quandary.

Disclaimer: I’ll be really interested in your response but I reserve the right to ignore your recommendations.

In fact, I probably will…

23 thoughts on “Quandarification

  1. “Tsundoku” – what a great word! I have a significant tsundoku problem with books. I bought loads during the beginning of the lockdown as I was worried that the supply would stop for a few months and I wanted to be able to read. So now I have a double pile and they are tall enough to worry my cat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it great! Though too easy to mix up with sudoku. I had the reverse problem to you, no need to stock up on books pre-lockdown but now… Still, hope your cat is impressed even if s/he’s wary! (Just promise him/her there’ll be no dog-ears on the pages. 🙂)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Random question but what did you think of the Mary Westmacott book? I really love Agatha Christie but find it very hard to tear myself away from Poirot although I’ve managed some Miss Marples and other non-serial characters this year. I know these are a little bit different to her usual stuff too but I can’t help thinking crime is what she does best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not random at all, Nicola. I actually found this novel quite riveting as a character study of a deluded individual. No crime to solve, but like any decent literary novel we’re given lots of background material to make our judgements only to see a protagonist or some such floundering with the same details.

      I actually thought his a more satisfying read than the handful of crime novels I’ve so far read of Christie’s (https://wp.me/s2oNj1-absent) but then most crime fiction tends to leave me cold, sorry! That’s not to say I don’t occasionally like to pit my wits against the queen herself, but it’s nearly always a losing battle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some of her crime books are better than others but if you’re not into the genre then it is a lost battle. There’s no point trying to force yourself to like things just because others do or you think you should. It’s funny because the more Christie steers away from crime in her novels, the less I like them hence why I’m a bit apprehensive about the Mary Westmacott books. My TBR pile is huge at the minute though so I’d better not add another one to it 😁. Having said that I do want to read one soon.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the genre now and again — I’ve the first Gervase Fen to reread, a Le Carre and Nagaio Marsh’s Overture to Death (which I’m promised is music-related) at hand waiting — but I like to space them out. I’ve not read any other Westmacott novels but if this was her favourite you may do worse than try this one.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Quandrification sounds very well 😄 can’t help you with it, though – I’m afraid the only advice I can give you is ‘do what makes you more happy (and those around you)’

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Haha, I felt very rude telling you to “get a life” but since I never succeed in book acquisition bans I’d never inflict one on someone else. Book lined walls provide great insulation anyway, not to mention their decorative quality… 😉

    Like

  5. I vote for supporting independent bookstores by buying more books! (It’s easy for me to say this, because my local store has been selling gift certificates too. I invested in future reading and didn’t actually bring any more books in….yet.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My problem is keeping up with the reading of the new ones I accumulate, Jean! But, yes, actual bookshops (and libraries) are a bit of an endangered species — though I suspect with the pandemic many are increasing the mail order side in a way which will impact on the way they run their businesses in future.

      Liked by 1 person

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