Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alleviating the symptoms of shiny book syndrome, or SBS

Weekly Geeks this week tackles ways in which a person might alleviate the symptoms of Shiny Book Syndrome, in which

"a person only wants to read their newest book and leave piles of poor unread books on their shelves to collect dust."
I must say that I have suffered greatly from SBS over the years and thus I literally have rooms filled with old paperbacks and hardcover books. I've tried everything, including  not buying books until I've read 10 I already own (that never works, because I have been known to cheat), reading 5 brand new ones, then 5 the next year down, etc. etc., but that doesn't work either. As a last-ditch attempt, I even tried guilting myself into reading the not so glossy-covered books, but guilt works better on me if someone else does it to me.  So finally, after stacks beginning to grow on the floor of my office between myself and my computer, 2 years ago I hit on a great way to get through my books without leaving the old ones behind -- I began to give myself mini-challenges each month.

I ultimately found, where I have been working constantly on getting my library organized because frankly, I still don't know what I have on my shelves.  This is an ongoing project -- and so far, I have managed to compile my own "librarius domesticus" in five parts. You can click here: example to see one of those lists. Of course, I often get behind trying to keep up with adding books, but they'll all get there, eventually.  The second part of my attempt at beating SBS is to create my own little mini-challenges each month -- if you look at my "books finished in 2010" page at Listology, you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.   After deciding on a mini-challenge topic each month, I then go to my online library, look through the books, and purposefully choose some older ones from yesteryear to throw into the mix. This system works SO well that I'm reading stuff I didn't even know I owned AND the Shiny Books at the same time! 

I also participate in a few reading challenges hosted by other bloggers, and I can't resist reading an entire shortlist if there's a book award I'm interested in (like right now, I've just finished all of the International Dagger Award shortlist books). The next two months are pretty much all Shiny Books, because I'm reading the Booker Prize longlist, but I'm already pulling out a few older ones to read in between.

This is my own tried and true method of not glomming on to the brand new, gorgeous books that a) I can't resist buying at my local bookstore, or b) come in the mail weekly.  I tell you, this works! And each month when I'm finished with my own little mini-challenge, I give at least 1/2 of those books away. Of course I just buy more, but now I know how to overcome Shiny Book Syndrome, so I'm finally under control.


  1. I too suffer from a mild case of Shiny Book Syndrome -- do you think we can qualify for medical leave :-)

    I like your idea of compiling lists so that you can at least see what you have -- I might borrow that one. I have a to-read list on goodreads but it is nowhere close to being organized.

    Very interesting post!

  2. Maybe health insurance will cover us someday -- it's a syndrome, right? Thanks for your comment!

  3. @bookquoter: Oops! I rejected your comment totally in error -- can you repose? Still learning how to use my IPhone!

  4. Haha, that's technology!!

    I was just thanking you for naming my disease!!!

  5. @bookquoter: You're welcome, but I wish I could take credit. That disease was catalogued over at Weekly Geeks. I'm just passing it along.

    (that didn't sound good, did it?)

    @Amanda: Gluttony is a negative word. I like to think of myself as a collector. LOL

    and thank you for the award!


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