The strangest thing happened to me last weekend. I went into a bookstore and not only was I NOT overcome with book lust, I wanted to flee the scene. I was overwhelmed and fatigued by all the choices. I had to take a few minutes for a mental adjustment, and was only able to resume browsing when I reminded myself Christmas was coming, and I could look for books as gifts for other people instead of for myself. That helped, and saved me from the shame of leaving the store empty-handed.
I mostly blame book blogging for this experience. Thoughts of the stacks of TBR books all around my house have rarely held me back from adding to them during a bookstore visit, but this time they did. Despite being miles away, the yet-unread ARCs that I brought back from BEA last spring nudged and nagged at me. The review deadlines that I always seem to be running behind lately loomed on a giant calendar in my mind’s eye. I just couldn’t bring myself to add to it all.
But to be honest, some of the blame probably could be shared with the bookstore itself, which was of the unremarkable chain variety and shall remain nameless for our mutual protection. I suspect any reservations my TBR shelves and review responsibilities were causing could have been easily overcome if I’d been in search of–or attracted to–a PARTICULAR book, but I had no agenda when I went in, and without one, the browsing just didn’t work for me.
It was a strange and awkward experience I would prefer not to repeat, but I’d love to know if it’s happened to anyone else. Have you ever left a bookstore without buying anything because it was all just too much?
I’m hoping to get a little just-for-fun reading in during the holidays, but we’ll have to see how the review-required reading moves along (and that’s another post, if I can make some time for writing as well as reading!). I’m also thinking about what might make my 2011 Books of the Year list (which may not end up posted till the beginning of 2012). What are your plans for these last few weeks of this reading year?