Managing the reading pile


I don’t know about you but I am crap at reading.  I find it difficult to concentrate on all those words on the page. I need pictures or lots of white space.  Is that because I’m gen X?  Or is it because there’s so much content to read?  I don’t know. I discarded my “reading pile” many years ago but I do confess to having 3 work related books by my bed, in the vain hope I will want to skim them at night.

Off to Perth tonight to assist some peeps get organised, so I hope perhaps the 4 hour plane trip will settle me with no other choice but to READ. I’m going to give it a crack.

How about you – do you have a reading pile like the one above (it’s no stock library photo, I shot this at a client’s home)?  Or do you chew through items faster than the speed of thought?  Perhaps you’ve converted to the Kindle or ipad.  Do you have lots to read for work or study?  I’d love to know your secrets for managing that!


17 responses to “Managing the reading pile

  1. I love reading, but am pretty slow at it unless I’m on holidays. I bought an e-reader (thinking I would really miss the feel – an smell – of a book) and love it to bits. For holidays, when I might read 2 or 3 books a week, it’s great to pack. And I’m slowly trying to get my favourite books as e-books so I can reduce the clutter in my bookshelf.

    Best thing is still that I carry it with me every day in my handbag – if opportunity arises to read, I’m able to take it (sadly, my bus ride to work is only 15 minutes, not long enough for reading otherwise I’d get much more done!).

  2. Hi Lissanne,

    I love reading, and I do read fairly quickly, however I struggle to give books back, so I end up buying them not using a library. This means we have an entire linen press, 8 200 cm bookcases, 3 100 cm bookcases, and not enough space on shelves. I always have a stack of books on my bedside table.

    (sadly I also have an iPad with iBook and kindle on it. It hasn’t reduced my books too much)

    We are making some major changes in our lives, and I went through my shelves and managed to remove about 20. I am still feeling bad about it.

    I am just a book junkie I guess. My room has had a stack of reading material like the image above. When we bought our house, we ensured we had an extra bedroom to store the books in!

    • Cathie – I share your addiction! I have 8 bookshelves, and about 8 wheelie-boxes full of books, plus piles of books on the two bedside tables. The books in the wheelie boxes and bedside tables are as yet unread! I have to admit it – I’m a bookaholic! However I am improving – I’ve cut down on my buying and these days most of my purchases are from op-shops! I recently bought an e-reader but haven’t had time to use it very much due to working through the “real” books already ensconced. My second bedroom is a storage room for my book boxes, and I think they will keep me going until I drop off the twig! I went through some of my read books and, like you, only got rid of about 20, which I took to the closest op-shop – and what did I do once there? Bought another couple of books! There is no hope for me.

  3. My book collection is bigger than my bookcases can hold, so they are on the floor, or on top of the bookcases. I do try to do a declutter every now and then, and give them to the local bookfair, or charity shops. But there is so much I want to read, and I dont get a lot of opportunity.

    I pick up free newspapers, but if they are not read in a week, I put them in the recycling regardless, or they just pile up. I should do the same with magazines – they are starting to multiply at the moment too, altho again, I try to keep them under control, as once I was faced with getting rid of 8 large cartons of magazines. I was literally given a uteload of them, because someone was moving interstate and thought I would like them. Well, I did like them, but … Read, or at least skimmed, magazines go to people at work and go thru lots of hands after mine, which is kinda nice.

    That pile in the photo looks like it includes folders and “have to read” stuff, not just reading for pleasure.

  4. I love to read but dislike buying fiction books (except for some series and certain authors) because in my mind it promotes clutter and costs money. Having said that I have an excellent public library within walking distance. Thus my ‘to read’ pile is only a couple of books high and rotates roughly every two weeks.

    For those books I have bought and no longer wish to keep I either donate to Lifeline because they have a great Bookfest twice a year (I figure the book will then go to someone who will love it just as much as I did) or ‘release’ them via Bookcrossing so I can read of its adventures until it eventually disappears.

  5. Hello – I have managed to cull my books down a lot. If it is a reference book or book I will re-read I will keep it, other wise I spread the joy and recycle them through charity shops etc.

    A great charity to support with books is the Footpath Library.
    “Our vision is to empower homeless and disadvantaged people through books.”

    “The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library achieves this vision by delivering a regular supply of books to homeless and disadvantaged people living in hostels and on the streets, and through community organizations. Currently we operate in Sydney and Melbourne.”
    Check them out at:

    Books are just “stuff” and we think if we keep them we will be or look smart. They are simply stuff that take up space. Share the love around and donate your books to people who can benefit from them.

    • Wow ( at the risk of starting an argument – trying not to Lissanne, I promise) that last paragraph is such a bizarre generalisation.

      I don’t need books to make me “look” smart, and in fact most people who visit us would never know we had so many books. They bring me absolute pleasure, and some of them have great sentimental meaning. There are the books my father and I shared. He has gone now, but if I feel the need to be close to him, I can just read one of the books, and it is almost instantaneous. Also given these are mostly “pulp” fiction, like John Creasey, Agatha Christie, and J.E. McDonnell’s they don’t make me look like a Rhodes Scholar.

      I also have a lot of my childhood favourites like Enid Blyton as they have great meaning to me.

      Books are much more than just “stuff” to me, and many others. The characters are my friends.

    • There is no way that books are just “stuff”! As CathieC stated, many of them have sentimental meaning and hold irreplaceable memories of times gone by. Quite a lot of my old books are ones I enjoyed sharing with my mother, who introduced me to books in the first place, and discussing books with her was a great pleasure which I sorely miss. Some of the books are old friends who I’ve read and re-read over the years, and whose acquaintance I originally made in my youth! I certainly don’t think that by keeping them I will be or look smart – I’m not that shallow!

  6. I have a house that is filled with books but that’s the way I like it! I always feel that a house has no soul when it’s empty of books. I love to see books piled everywhere and E Readers are never going to provide the lift I get from a room that is filled with books to explore.

  7. Educational research found that the ONLY sure predictor of academic success of a child in a family, irrespective of background, education of the parents, financial status or social position was WHETHER OR NOT THERE WERE BOOKS IN THE HOUSE. One of the many problems of current design and building are that houses are being built without bookshelves built in! If you love books, if your books are part of your soul and your psyche, give yourself unconditional permission to keep them…just invest in some shelving near the bed!

  8. I have managed my pile of books by mostly borrowing from the local library, and I’ve also discovered audio books which I listen to on the way to work. It takes about 30 minutes each way, so that’s 1 hour a day. I get these from the library as well. So many books, so little reading time!!

  9. I have a bad habit of visiting the bookstore with nothing in mind..I love books and I love reading but I find I detest bookstores. Theres a bookstore company in Tokyo called Kinokuniya the 7th floor is for foreign books English and other languages the other six floors are all Japanese I will interject and say one or two floors are full of manga comics do they even count as reading?

  10. I love my piles of books, but as I try to study this year the unread pile is getting a bit out of control. I tried to have a cull 6 months ago, but like others here just couldn’t part with more than a couple
    Have been thinking about getting an e-reader or i-pad to cut down on the pile and make it easier to travel with reading stuff.

  11. Mind you, I have bookshelves everywhere. Last count was 3 or 4 metres of bookcases taller than me, almost all double-shelved, but sorted so that all books on same subject are together, and all novels by same author are together too. (took a bit of doing though)

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