Thinking Out Loud is my version of a discussion post and/or a place to just get things out of my head and off my chest. I have no plans for it to be a weekly feature, but more of a space that’s here when I have something to say.
CONFESSION: I HAVE BOOK FOMO
We’re all familiar with the concept of FOMO, right? The fear of missing out? That idea of agreeing to do things you’re not really sure you want to do, but you also hate the idea that you might miss out on THE BEST/FUNNIEST/MOST AMAZING THING EVER by not going?
I used to have FOMO when it came to social events. I’d go to every single happy hour, go out every single Friday and Saturday night because the idea of fun things happening without me was too much to take. And yes, I usually had a good time once I was there. In the last few years, I’ve realized I’m too old for that shit (on a regular basis, anyhow) and I became totally ok with missing out on things. I wasn’t even that jealous when I’d see pictures of awesome fun times later. (There are obviously some exceptions to this, but for the most part… nah.) This is why, when I first saw The Oatmeal’s take on FOMO, I was like YESSSSSS. This is so me. (The last panel is below, but you should really click it and look at the whole thing because, in true Oatmeal style, it’s amazing.)
There is, however, one instance in which I have total FOMO. That’s when it comes to books. Book FOMO rears its ugly head frequently. Here are some times it’s particularly vicious:
- When I see books that look interesting on sale on Amazon (or B&N or iTunes or even kobo).
- When new books are added to Edelweiss or NetGalley (especially with those publishers I have auto-approval from).
- When I get an email from BookOutlet. (Their marketing department knows how to speak to me, yo!)
- When my friends are talking about this AWESOME new book they read, even if it really doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy/it isn’t in my preferred genre. (Please note: this is not the same thing as ARC envy. I’m not opening that can of worms.)
- Library book sales. (There are SO MANY around here.)
- Used bookstores. (I cannot be trusted here, especially since developing a crush on historical romance.)
No matter how many times I tell myself I’m going to control my book-buying or ARC requesting, I start to get all “BUT WHAT IF THE BOOK IS REALLY THAT AMAZING?!” I’ve been late to the party when it comes to a lot of fantastic books (The Sea of Tranquility, all things Lisa Kleypas, Penny Reid and Kristen Ashley, historical romance as a genre, and so many more) so I’ve been a little sensitive to that and I think it’s led me to go more into “BUY ALL THE BOOKS” mode when the opportunity presents itself.
If it’s on sale, I’m going to buy it because it sounds good and why pay full price when you can get it at a discount? If I see it on Edelweiss or NetGalley and the cover draws me in and it sounds like something I might even POSSIBLY enjoy (and especially if my friends have been talking about it), I’m gonna download it.
But, I still can’t “READ ALL THE BOOKS” as much as I want to because a) there aren’t that many hours in the day and b) adulting, so I wind up in the mess I’m currently in – drowning in ARCs and unread print copies. (Seriously, it’s a good thing I live alone because there’s not room for anyone else and their possessions in here with all these books.) More often than not it also leads to a total lack of decisiveness when it comes to deciding what to read next.
I recently took some time (er, a few days worth) to catalog the unread print books in my apartment. I’m actually almost embarrassed to admit how many there are. In my defense, a lot of these were either purchased at library sales or used bookstores – or gifted from friends – but there are way too many. (Yes, there might be such a thing as TOO MANY books.)
NOT counting print ARCs or finished copies from the publisher/author, I have 259 unread books in my apartment. I created a Goodreads shelf. It’s out of control. (I’m out of control.) I haven’t figured out just how many unread print ARCs or finished copies from the publisher I have, but I think if I separated those out I might have a panic attack. So, I’m not gonna do that. I also created a new Goodreads shelf for unread ebooks I own, but I’m not falling into that rabbit hole just yet. I’ve just added new books I’ve purchased, so it’s at a fairly reasonable 51 books – even though I know there are hundreds more out there in the cloud. (Oh, Amazon sales and freebies.) And let’s not even talk about my audiobook collection.
I know my book FOMOness will never change. However, I can do a better job of actually READING those books I buy and that’s one of my biggest goals for 2016. These books appealed to me at one point or I never would’ve picked them up. (Unless, of course, the hype monster got me… but even still, I know my own reading preferences well enough that it’s rare I pick up something I honestly don’t think I’d enjoy just because everyone else is reading it. But it does happen.) ARCs are great. It’s wonderful to get early access to a book you really, really want… but what about those books that are languishing on my shelf, just waiting to be read and loved? I’m going to read more of them this year. Signing up for the Rock My TBR Challenge helped. I actually read eight books from my TBR in January alone. Hopefully I’ll be able to read at least that many each month for the rest of the year. Tomorrow I’m introducing a new weekly feature, inspired by another awesome blogger, to spotlight some of those older titles from my shelves. I hope that will pique my interest in them again and inspire me to read even more of them.
The struggle is real.
Do you suffer from book FOMO?
Please tell me I’m not alone.
Leave your thoughts in the comments!