TBR

The Books We Buy for the Readers We Wish We Were

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Hello lovelies! How are you? I was creeping on a friend’s bookshelf the other day and I noticed he had a lot of interesting books on European history. When I mentioned that to him he leaned in, like he was about to tell me a secret, and confessed “I haven’t actually read any of those yet, but I’m totally going to!” It made me laugh, cause I’ve been on the opposite end of that conversation so many times. I have tons of unread books on my shelf (we’re talking several hundred here) and most of those I simply haven’t gotten to yet. But others are part of a more distinct pattern. They’re the books I buy for the reader I wish I was.

Maybe you do this too. Maybe you have a stack of new cookbooks, but never try any of the recipes. Maybe you collect the classics, but only read contemporaries. Maybe you keep buying contemporaries, even though you only reach for SFF.  Maybe you’re a reasonable person and only buy books you know you’ll read. Who knows. But since I find this wishful book buying interesting and enjoy exposing myself on the internet, I took a look at my shelf and found some books I’ve bought for the reader I wish I was.

MEMOIRS BY WOMEN IN ROCK

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I blame Patti Smith and growing up in record stores for this. I have an intense nostalgic affection for the record store at the mall, where I used to hang out and listen to Pearl Jam as a kid. Now whenever I stop buy, I have to take a look at their book section (which is 80% non fiction about music and 20% classic SF by old, white men) I usually end up buying another memoir by a female rockstar, thinking it’s going to be the next Just Kids. The problem is that I never actually read these books, so even if they are the next Just Kids – it’s not like I’m gonna know about it. What’s worse is that even as I’m writing this, I’m thinking that it’d be cool if they had something about Stevie Nicks next time. I blame Taylor Jenkins Reid and Daisy Jones for that.

SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS

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Listen, I love short stories. No really, I do. Some of my favorite books of all time, like all of Kelly Link’s books and The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night are short story collections. It’s just that I’ve developed this unfortunate habit of telling myself that I’m going to read one story a day, which usually works super well for about 1 day. Since most short story collections actually have more than one story in them, I’ve got a lot of unread collections on my shelf. I’ve been reading this one anthology (hint: it’s in my goodreads sidebar thingy) since March last year and I still got 4 stories left. I’m really trying.

SEQUELS

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Y’all knew this was coming, right? Cause if you were thinking that my little problem with reading sequels means that I have the good sense not to buy sequels, you’d be wrong. Clearly there’s a version of me that actually wants to finish series, too bad she only shows up at the bookstore. I honestly don’t know how many unread sequels I have on my shelves right now (and I don’t want to), but I’d guess it’s around 30. I’ve actually finished a series this month though and I’m currently reading the last book in another – so progress is being made guys, just not very quickly.

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Do you every buy books for the reader you wish you were? 

 

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73 thoughts on “The Books We Buy for the Readers We Wish We Were

  1. I love this post! There are so many books I add to my TBR on Goodreads that I never get around to reading. Especially nonfiction! And I’m so with you about sequels… I never seem to be able to read a whole series

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  2. What a great post! Yes, I totally buy books for the reader that I “wish” I was. I trick myself into thinking I am that reader… haha. I have all these series that I need to read. I end up buying the whole series and telling myself, I’ll start reading them when I have them all. This way, when I love it, I don’t have to stop. I can just binge read the whole series. This does not happen very often. I should really read the ones that I have and are finished. 😀

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    1. Thank you so much! 😊 Oooh, buying the whole series before you start? That’s a bold move! I try to buy one at a time, but I still don’t finish any series, so maybe your way’s better! I just bought all the sequels to Grave Mercy though, so maybe that means I’ll get trough them all quicker?

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      1. Yes, I’m crazy! Haha. Although, I always buy them on super sale or second hand- like half price books. I figure, it will force me to continue a series. Ohh, I have the first book in that series! Hopefully, you like it and will want to continue.

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      2. That makes sense! I’ve bought some box sets when they’ve been on sale, and I now that I think about it I actually HAVE finished those series cause I felt like I had to. So your way wins, haha! I’m reading book 2 right now and I’m loving it 😊

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  3. OMG MAKE ROOM ON THE BANDWAGON! Right now I do it with the library. When I was working… I did it all the time… especially with nonfiction books. And they were topics I was generally passionate about but when I read after work… I did not want to pick up a nonfiction book for the most part and just never got to them. Then I felt like I didnt care about the world but would keep buying them anyway. Lol

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  4. I have so many nonfiction books that sound interesting and I’m telling myself to read, but the truth is that I’m really bad with nonfiction. Does a 600-page book about attitudes towards death and dying sound cool? VERY. Am I going to read more of it than the one chapter required for this seminar? Probably not…

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  5. what a great post—this is too funny! admittedly, i’ve done the same thing too. sometimes it’s hyped books i *know* i’m not gonna like (i bought crooked kingdom despite not finishing six of crows on the off chance i might pick up the series again *blushes*), sometimes it’s contemporaries that i know i’m probably never gonna read buy, hey, why not try genre diversification and at least they’re pretty? (this is a terrible rationale—do NOT follow my lead on this one), sometimes it’s adult fiction despite the fact that i’ve only enjoyed ONE adult series in my entire life (sorry night circus, mistborn, a darker shade of magic but you ain’t it, sis), and sometimes it’s classics which i would never in a million years touch but they make me look “intellectual” and they’re gorgeous editions (say hi, a little princess)! so that’s all to say i guess we all have some skeletons in the closet and more than a few books on the shelves (that we’re not gonna read) 😂😂😂

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    1. Thank you so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I relate so much to every word of this comment. I just bought The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali because “I should read more contemporaries, and it’s so pretty” and I have way too many books on my shelf that I only bought because of the hype. I’m thankfully getting better at buying books that I want to read, instead of the books everyone’s talking about at the moment though (I still haven’t bought King of Scars) Thanks for sharing the skeletons on your shelf! 😂😂

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  6. I do this too with adult historical fiction. I have a whole stack of historical fiction that I just … haven’t read, but I wish I could read. Classics also get this treatment to, though there are some that I actually did get around to! … only because I had to read them for school.

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    1. I’m glad you can relate 😊 I try to read books from all genres, but I’m so bad at reading historical fiction. I think I’ve read like, two, the last couple of years. Haha, required reading’s good for something!

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      1. I can do YA historical fiction fine, but some adult is just so dense, ugh. I tried reading Phillippa Gregory’s novels and couldn’t get into them at all.

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      2. I have a few! The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is amazing. Stacey Lee writes about Chinese people in nineteenth and twentieth century America. And I Darken by Kiersten White is technically alternate history, but it’s so true to history except for Vlad the Impaler being a girl. Stalking Jack the Ripper and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue are really good too!

        … and that’s a lot sorry haha 😅

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  7. I have a lot of classics on my shelf that I thought were what I’m supposed to read to be considered a reader. turns out classics are boring and not my cup of tea. Now I just buy books I know I’ll definitely read.

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  8. If you listen closely you can hear me swooning through the interweb, because you’ve come up with yet another amazing topic. 😛 ❤ And I FEEL you on short stories! I do love the ones I actually read, but there's definitely that factor of "Since this is super short I can always read it later." And I now have 2 shelves of unread nonfiction books (mostly historical) and they only keep growing!

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  9. This resonated with me so much! When I read your title I thought “yup, that’s it!!”. I tried to read more literary fiction last year and put tons of books on my TBR which I never got to, because in the end I wasn’t that interested and the literary fiction works I actually got around to reading were 2 or 3 stars, so I gave up and cleaned my TBR!
    Another thing I did was participate in book clubs to read different things (for example an around-the-world book club) but I hated all the books. I’m slowly making my way back to my favorite genres and really enjoying it!

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    1. I’m so glad you can relate! I’ve tried to branch out, only to end up with lots of unread books on my TBR too. Especially if I’m trying to get into a genre I feel like I “should” be reading more of. Good for you, cleaning out your TBR and finding your genres 😊 Happy reading!

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  10. I’m the same with memoirs by women in rock. I actually own Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl mainly because I love Carrie Brownstein and Sleater-Kinney but it’s a shame I haven’t actually read it yet. Plus I really need to read Patti Smith’s books. A Stevie Nicks memoir would be so amazing. ✨✨

    Such a great post! 😀

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    1. I haven’t actually even listened to Sleater-Kinney (I have a theory that buying books about bands I already love might be smarter), I just love music and badass women. I’ll put some on and see if it inspires me to pick up her book! If Stevie Nicks ever writes a memoir I swear on the stars and the moon I WILL READ IT SO FAST! Thank you ❤️

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  11. I definitely do this… There are a lot of history books in my library that I never read, that I keep saying I will read, but…honestly… I’m not positive I will really read them. I wish I did, but I probably won’t xD.

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  12. This is a really interesting post!

    I don’t actually think I do this as I’m very much ‘I like what I like and will buy what I like.’ But that’s after years of reading and buying stuff that I felt like I *should.* I’m now old (not really) but I’m glad I’ve reached a point in life where I own my tastes.

    I think sadly I’m coming to a realisation that there’s certain books that I’m ‘outgrowing’ and I’m still clinging on to them or I’m reading them with too critical an eye which isn’t fair because I’m buying them hoping they’ll do what I want and that grouchy when (inevitably) they don’t.

    Quite often if there’s some out of character books on my shelf it’s because they’ve been gifted to me because that’s what *others* think I should read and then I’m telling myself I’ll get round to it!

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    1. Thank you! The weird thing is that I know my taste very well too, I know exactly what works for me and what doesn’t. And yet I keep buying these very specific books I never read.

      I’m in a similar space right now, I feel like I’ve outgrown some types of books. But I keep buying them, cause I haven’t found anything else to fill that space with, if that makes sense. Or maybe I’m just hoping I’ll fall back in love with those genres!

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      1. I feel like I may be outgrowing YA fantasy and want I actually want now is adult fantasy or adult retellings. Not that I haven’t enjoyed (and don’t still enjoy) YA fantasy but I don’t know now if I genuinely don’t like some of the ones I’ve read because they’re the wrong ones or because I’m wanting something else! It could also be a phase I guess!

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      2. It can be hard to tell if you’re growing out of a genre or just reading the wrong ones. I definitley go through phases with genres, but I usually come back to the ones I love sooner or later. I have my issues with YA fantasy, but I don’t think I’ll ever quit reading it. Cause when it’s good, it’s so good!

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  13. I feel you on following up with sequels. I try not to pick up a new series until all the books have been published for this very reason, because if it’s not a finished series, I tend to read and forget what happened before the next installment comes out, and then I’m less likely to pick up the next one!

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  14. This post speaks to my heart LOL I am a book hoarder and am so guilty of buying stuff that I think I’ll eventually read and it sits on my shelf many years later – sad and unread. I do this constantly. I’m also super guilty of buying full sets of series right off the bat, without even reading the first book LOL I have soooo many series on my shelves. I’ve been getting better about actually finishing series I start but I really should knock off buying sets without knowing if I like it at all. I blame Bookoutlet!

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    1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! The amount of unread books on my shelf is wild. I could never buy a whole series before reading the first book though, I get commitment issues even thinking about that! I’d feel like they were sitting there judging me and my book hoarding, series-quitting ways 😂

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  15. I do this all the time! I have all these weird little niche interests that pop up, and I’m like, “yes of course I need an 800-page tome on Gettysburg I’m DEFINITELY going to read that soon.” Or never. I do it mostly with nonfiction. I’ve got a Queen Elizabeth I bio sitting on my shelf that’s been there for probably a decade or longer. And so many music books, too! Mine are usually punk rock histories, though. But ugh, this is the worst habit ever, and you’re not alone in it!

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    1. Yes, that’s exactly what I do! My husband’s always asking me why I can’t just google things like everyone else, but that’s just not the same. I almost bought Drugs are Nice: A Post-Punk Memoir yesterday and I have to Mary Queen of Scots bios on my shelf – so I feel you!

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  16. I have so many books that I’ve bought since becoming a blogger, books that I would never have known about or tried in the past. I am genuinely interested in them but at the same time, it’s hard to push myself to read them 😅

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  17. OMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT! I thought I was the only person who did this to be honest. Maybe I will make my own post about the reader I wish I was as well :]

    This was such a great idea, I am really glad you posted it :]

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  18. I feel like I do this all the time! But the only example I can think of is re-reading classics. I loved Wuthering Heights and Tale of Two Cities in High School so as an adult I bought a copy with the intent to reread it. But, if we are being honest, I probably never will 😂😂

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  19. I can totally see where TJR and Daisy Jones could put one in the mood for a Stevie Nicks read! I love her stuff…

    And yes totally this. I always think I WANT to read so-and-so kinda books, but it sometimes takes me forever to try them (if I ever do)!

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