Confession: I Buy More Books Than I Am Able to Read

stephen-king-11-22-63-book-coverBy: Isabelle Resnick

If high school economics taught me anything – and let me tell you, it has never been easy for me to absorb anything from a class that involves numbers – it is that a deficit occurs when one spends more money than they earn.

In a real economy, continued and unpaid deficits contribute to an overall debt, e.g. the United States national debt at $20.6 trillion and counting.

In my life, I can say I have only had a few encounters with personal deficits. A few overdraft charges from a company that rhymes with Smells Largo when I spend too much money on food and shoes are among them. The biggest personal deficit I am responsible for, however, is neither measured in dollar signs, nor is it something I wanted to admit to myself until recently when I gave in and bought the Stephen King novel, 11/22/63 last summer.

Now ask me: “Isabelle, did you read 11/22/63? Finish the first chapter, even?”

I will ignore that question and instead ask you, dear reader, would you purchase yet another book (one that is approximately the size of all the Harry Potters combined), when you have bookshelves in three locations filled with novels, biographies, and anthologies you have yet to touch? Is my books-to-read ratio of 100:30 not the mark of a very specific kind of shopaholic?

My first excuse is that the adaptation of 11/22/63 on Hulu was a fantastic miniseries that I could not get enough of. I watched it three times over, and I was more interested in the love story of my two principal characters than whether the protagonist could stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on that particular date. That wasn’t a spoiler, by the way – it’s the whole premise of the book.

In other words, I needed more. It’s why I picked up Silver Linings Playbook and Gone Girl after obsessing over their respective film adaptations. I read Silver Linings Playbook. Gone Girl is sitting on a shelf somewhere in South Florida.

Reading the book version is, 9 times out of 10, more satisfying than the screen versions. I think that in buying 11/22/63, I was hoping to get more out of a show whose eight episodes I had exhausted.

And another thing, I cannot think of why the miniseries, starring James Franco and Sarah Gadon, did not receive more acclaim or attention. Was it because it was produced by and featured on Hulu, the distant and not-as-interesting cousin of Netflix and Amazon Prime?

This brings me to my next point: as much as I want to read all the books in my collection, the boxes and boxes of them, my entertainment landscape has become completely saturated by the Golden Age of Television, the Gilded Age of Podcasting, and my obsession with going to the movies by myself. That is another confession entirely.

In other words, there is too much good content out there that I have not yet absorbed with all my senses, and I am only one person!

Speaking of which, the amount of reading I have to do as a journalism student strongly limits my ability to read for pleasure. If I am reading “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote, won’t I mix up characters and plotlines with my third re-read of the “Hunger Games”? And don’t even get me started on the personal psychological hypotheses of why I choose to reread, re-watch, or re-listen to content over starting something new.

I want to promise that I will read 11/22/63 and at least another third of the books in my collection by the end of 2018, but I will be honest with you and myself and say that New Year’s resolutions have never worked for me, so why start now?

Let’s hope that dream of a library in one of my future homes comes true, because goodness knows I’ll need the storage space.


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