The Reading Blahs

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are supposed to be book-filled and hot — the perfect combination to get you to lounge and work on reducing that pile of books on the nightstand.

I've had a combination of things come along and reduce the nightstand pile without a word being read: putting a house on the market and the reading blahs.

The house on the market was my own fault: if one wants to sell a house, one must make it seem spacious and inviting — not insufficient for one's book collection.  With mere days to make a home a showpiece, my husband David and I grabbed belongings off shelves, counters and from inside closets, jammed them into boxes and put them in someone else's space.

I was told to reduce my library by 50 percent.

(Yes, I gasped, too.)

I think I managed 35 percent before I had to surrender.  Actually, David did most of the "heavy lifting" of books, and they went into boxes with no rhyme or reason.  Poetry mixed with biography mixed with fiction and travel.  That was the jumble in the overstuffed library, anyway, so it wasn't a stretch to mangle the packing order of my tomes.

So, when the assault of the books ended, I looked around and found a hodgepodge of reading material.  Alas, much of what is on the shelves was what has been read already. The juicy new purchases are in sturdy boxes under the Christmas decorations and camping gear, stacked behind the wheelchair and pink scale.

That brings me to the reading blahs.  I planned to read a whole stack of books to see the incredible authors at Fall for the Book this autumn.  Unfortunately, so many people find these authors irresistible as well, and the rest are double-booked against other authors in my must-see list.  Further sorting of my stack leaves me depressed and listless.  What else will I choose, only to have it snatched from my hands?

The only thing that will pull me out of the reading funk may be a last resort, a book I wanted to save for the cooler days of autumn.  However, Ariana Franklin may have to be called up earlier than anticipated.  Throw in a few thrillers and re-read The Strain for the upcoming sequel, and we might be able to ride out this slump.

Now, all of this has to be carefully orchestrated: new books in the culled library are the wrong move (though finding a pristine copy of The Graveyard Book at Yesterday's Rose was irresistible).  However, I'm willing to start putting books in my neighbor's houses, giving them the ones they would enjoy.  (These good friends already are housing my electronics, jewelry and off-season clothing.)

How do you get out of your reading slump?  Is there hope?  Share your stories (and tips) and let's get through this together!