Look At Them All! They’re Mocking Me!

At night after dinner and before the gym, Will and I will put on reruns of Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory while I blog or read and he looks at shoes (he is a Nike whore) and does whatever he does on ESPN.com (seriously I don’t understand how he spends that much time on there..there are only a certain amount of games!). We were watching last night and I wasn’t really paying attention until this clip because that is SO ME!

I’m sure MANY a book blogger could have this same meltdown.

(You can skip to about 1:25 where it actually becomes relevant to my discussion. Favorite line: “Look at them all! They’re mocking me. I haven’t read any of them”  )


I’ve been having this freakout a lot lately. Mostly because tons of big life things have happened in my life and my family’s so I’m like WAIT WAIT WAIT where has time gone?? How is my baby sister going to college next year? How am I almost 30?? TIME OUT PLEASE. Then I feel the need to drop everything and go do ALL OF THE THINGS I want to do.

My freakout comes out the most in two areas:

1. When I think about all the places I’ll never get to see and experience. The people I’ll never meet while exploring. The food I’ll never try. The sunsets and sunrises I’ll never gaze upon from a new vantage point.
2. The books I’ll never read.

Let’s talk about that point number 2 since HEY this blog here talks a lot about books. I seriously stare at my shelves wide eyed sometimes knowing all that I own. Plus calculating the number of new releases coming out this year. AND THEN thinking about all of the amazing books that everyone raves about that I’ve never read and have been out for years or decades or centuries. I could start hyperventilating now.

I mean LOGICALLY I know HEY JAMIE..you can’t read them all. Get over it. There is just no way. And honestly I don’t want to spend my life holed up ONLY reading books. So there’s that. But sometimes I just very overwhelmed about the stories I’ll never read and the characters I’ll never meet and the way my life might be changed in some way by an amazing story. There’s so many good sounding books and I’m sure some will be duds but I want to inhale them all. I feel a little bit of this same book story frenzy Alan experiences whenever I think about it too much. I try to prioritize my reads according to what is personally important to me but even then…I know I’ll never get through even a fraction of what I want to. It’s maddening!

And really I know it is just a much bigger reflection of what I think about LIFE and not having enough time to do all the things I want to do. Reading is just one of those things.  When the crazy part of my brain pipes down I know that I just need to enjoy what I experience in life, not think too much about what I could miss out on and prioritize the hell out of my life — in books and all other things. Make time for the things that mean a lot and interest me. Allow myself to cease doing things I don’t enjoy or make me feel lively anymore (or stop reading books that aren’t grabbing me). Recognize when my priorities and tastes and interests change and be ok with it because that invites NEW things.

Whew, I need to breathe before I have an existential crisis. I will say I think it is helping me, in theory, to not BUY books at this breakneck pace that I do because realistically a lot are just going to sit. It’s really getting me excited (sort of) to cull my books more often and get rid of things that don’t match my tastes anymore!

Do you guys have freakouts like Alan did? Do you feel absolutely overwhelmed by all the books you know you are going to never be able to read? How do you prioritize? Do you cull books that you have bought but over the years haven’t read and your interests just aren’t there anymore? If anything, PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one who thinks about this too much.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Oh this was such a fantastic post. I SO UNDERSTAND. And I’ve actually starting removing books from my proverbial TBR shelf on Goodreads lately because you’re right, it’s unrealistic to think we will ever be able to read all of these in our lifetime and despite how sad and devastating that may be it’s the truth. When I first started blogging I was all into reading the 1001 books to read before you die. I remember I read like 4 or 5 really crappy books off that list in a row before I finally stopped and realized, there are so many better books that I should be spending my precious time reading. I’ve started applying that to all my reads lately… I’m still in the upper 600’s on my TBR and of course there are all the new releases this year but, I suppose it could be worse. 🙂

  2. YOU AREN’T ALONE. This is legit one of my biggest fears. Well actually I have many, of course I do, and both of yours are on my list. But the fact I’ll never read everything on my TBR list hurts my heart. I NEED to read ALL THE BOOKS.

    Yes, like you, logically I know this isn’t possible. BUT I WANT IT TO BE JAMIE.

    And once again, I’ve scared you away.

  3. I have started to go through my shelves once a week and try to get rid of at least one book. It can be a book I read but didn’t love or a book I feel I am no longer interested in. I figure if I want to desperately read it later I can go to the library :). I feel so much better abut all the books I still have and it makes me more excited to read them

  4. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    This is such a great post! I’m sure that we’ve all had similar sentiments… I know I have. I find it especially hard when I see great reviews on my favourite bloggers websites, and then I add more books to my TBR. And then I worry that I’m spending too much time reading blogs and adding to my TBR and not enough time reading. And then I waste another half an hour putting new books on hold at the library, because these are books that my favourite bloggers loved, so I must read them ALL. And then I worry again that I’ve just wasted MORE time finding books to read, and not getting any actual reading done. And then I check Twitter and find out that you’ve posted another book review, so I have to check that out…..and add it to my TBR too. And the whole cycle repeats itself.

    Yup, I’m a freak. But a bookish freak, so that’s okay, right? Right? 🙂

    • oh my gosh, that is SO ME! I am constantly reading goodreads reviews and other blogger reviews and updating my TBR list . . . which result in me not getting any actual reading done! Argh! It IS a vicious cycle.

    • Yes! I stopped reading magazines because I can’t mark them off my reading list. Agh!

  5. I’m so glad other people feel this way. I’m always aware of how little time there is to read all the books I want to, but sometimes I have really terrible panic attacks about it where I want to get way into detail with math and whatnot. Like: I read an average of this many books in this amount of time, multiplied by an estimate of how many more years I’m likely live… et cetera. Sigh. Obviously, like you said, that anxiety/fear stretches into other aspects of life. I usually have to check myself and remember I’m wasting time panicking when I could be doing whatever I’m panicking about not having enough time to do. Did anything I just said make sense? Hah.

  6. You have a great blog! I am now a subscriber. I sometimes think about how I am in my late twenties now and still can’t believe Thirty is around the corner. I should be culling my TBR list, instead I just add more books everyday 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  7. You are not the only one who think about this. I think about that too. A lot. So many books out there and I bet some of them will be my new favorites… But I do not have time to read them all. How to choose and pick the best ones? I do not have solution for this one. Except to become a vampire 😀

  8. I feel this way all the time. And the irony of it is that when I feel overwhelmed by how much there is to read/do/want I wind up coping by not even starting it or trying. I’ll freak out about my TBR pile and go watch an Episode of HIMYM instead. Not exactly productive. Trying to be better at it by not stressing and just DOING.

  9. Oh My God. I have this feeling all of the time! There are soooooo many good books out there, and bad books too, that are calling me, urging me to read them, and sometimes I get sad that I can’t read them all. I’m lucky I have genre’s of books I won’t read, so I don’t really want to read those books, but there are still so many. My biggest issue is series. Especially long ones, because there is all of the books and I think ‘but I just don’t have time’. I’m trying very hard at the moment to only buy books that I know I will read and reread.

  10. New reader here! I’m so glad I found some book blogs to follow. I feel the same way! There are so many amazing books out there. It reminds me of a quote from one of the Game of Thrones books that goes something along the line of “A man who reads lives many lives; a man who does not read lives only one.” (Not an exact quote)

  11. OMG, Jamie. Sometimes I think about how there’s absolutely no way I can read all of the books I want to before I die, and that freaks me out. Especially the thought of all the ones I bought and never read. I could get hit by a bus this afternoon and never get to read another book: Ahhhhh all those books by favorite authors I never got to. If I let this fear drive my life, I would quit blogging and read all of my favorite authors first. But I know this is just me being insane. Obviously, there are other things I want to do before I die, but this ranks pretty high. I can’t die until I read ALL THE THINGS.

  12. hahahaa i can’t handle that clip. IT IS TOOOO MUCH!!! and hit waaaay too close to home! great post and so so true!!

  13. That clip is sooo funny! Great post, Jamie! That’s exactly the way I feel. I honestly try not to think too much about it, otherwise the hundreds (or thousands) of books in my shelves will only depress me more, to think I may never get to some of them.

  14. I completely understand. I put myself on a book-buying ban to start the year, but after a month I found that I had no will power. I’ve spent about $250 on books in the last two months. I haven’t read any of them because I have so many others ahead of it. I’ve been wanting to read The Fault in Our Stars and Gone Girl for the past year, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I could stop buying books now, and still have a enough to last me for the next 10 years. But I’m the type of person that wants everything now. So if I see a shiny new book in a store, 9 times out of 10 I will buy it. It probably doesn’t help that I’m in grad school for book publishing either. I know I’m going to have a huge problem letting go of books when it comes time for me to move.

    There are just soooooooooooooooo many good books out there, and just not enough time in the day to read them. It’s nice to know that other people feel the same way.

  15. I definitely freak out about not being able to read ALL THE THINGS. I don’t freak out about places to see or people to meet because that idea makes me anxious. The books though, I worry about the books. I’m 39 and I’ll never make it and there are more and more books coming out every day. It’s like the I Love Lucy episode with the conveyor belt.

  16. Your dilemma is very similar to mine 🙂
    I will be 30 in a year and my brother is soon graduating from high school. I still haven’t figure out what career I want to choose, and yes, there are TONS of books I am dying to read that I fear I will not get the chance too (my Goodreads To-Read list has over 900 books on it! Yikes!)
    I think the main thing is to take a deep breath and realize that while you may not get to every single book that you want to read, you can at least focus on your most important ones and read those. And 30 isn’t all that bad. You’re still young and you’ve got plenty of living (and reading!) years left 🙂

  17. Oh my gosh, YES. In fact, I think about this TOO often. I recently split my Goodreads TBR into to lists – the classic “to be read,” and then a “to be read i own,” and my goal is to whittle down the second list. I’ve bought SO MANY freaking books in just the last two years. I have a bag in my room that I culled recently that I’m taking to the library, because it’s a few I’ve lost interest in (a series that isn’t good anymore), a few finished copies publishers sent me that I’m not going to read, etc. I just can’t have this huge, intimidating bookshelf crammed full of books I won’t read.

    It goes hand in hand with my goal this year to read more for ME. You’d think it would be easy to stop requesting galleys, and it HAS gotten easier, but there are still so MANY books I want. I’m trying to realize a) I’ll survive if I have to wait for a book to be published, b) some of the galleys are books I already KNOW I’m going to buy anyway, and c) this means I can get to more of those sadface lonely books on my (overflowing) shelves.

    But yes, sometimes when I think about all the books out there, and the books I own that at the time I HAD to read, and haven’t, it’s a bit overwhelming.

  18. I think about this like all the time. It’s like a clock ticking inside my mind and sometimes I just want to read and read but I know I cannot do that. I have to stop, take a deep breath and remind myself that I need to stop to appreciate all the amazing, heart-stopping books I get to read. And re-read.

    I wouldn’t mind doing this only if life didn’t come knocking. But yes, I realize I cannot possibly get to read all the books out there. But every other book I get to read is an accomplishment really. More so if you think about all those people who don’t read.

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

  19. “1. When I think about all the places I’ll never get to see and experience. The people I’ll never meet while exploring. The food I’ll never try. The sunsets and sunrises I’ll never gaze upon from a new vantage point.
    2. The books I’ll never read. ”

    You have legitimately expressed some of the thoughts/ideas that keep me up at night, just by enumerating these two. I am amazed at the wealth of experiences that await me in the world, but at the same time, it drives me crazy that I might not get to experience them all. I know it’s impossible to get to do every single thing that I want or to see all I want to see or to read everything I want to read, and most of the time, I’m okay with that. But there are random days when I’m struck dumb by the monotony of my life, when I start questioning things, where I start worrying about all of this and obsessing over it and making lists and plans and writing down dreams just so I don’t go too crazy.

    In a bookish sense, I often freak out knowing that there are SO many books I want to read, but I just cannot read them all. Prioritizing, for me, often involves putting my favorite, go-to authors first, as well as really focusing on my go-to genres (fantasy + historical romance). I do occasionally insert new books and books of other genres in, but these take precedence over most other books.

    I’ve been really good about not buying books lately, and instead relying on loans from the library and from friends. I think I’ve managed to find the right criteria for which books I buy – which basically boils down to the ones I think I’ll re-read or want to share with my kids one day. I cull books nearly every other month, and I love the nice, fresh feeling I get after doing that.

  20. I couldn’t have said it better myself! This post describes a feeling that you, my dear, are definitely not alone in!! Not in the slightest! Every night I stare at my bookshelves and think the EXACT same things that you said you do. It hurts my heart that there are so many great books that I may never get to read 🙁

  21. Not being able to read all of the books bothers me a lot. I’ve found I read more by *not* planning ahead. Being a mood reader and having the stress of all the books works against me. I do cull. It took me a while to get to that place, but it helps. I recently donated 5 garage bags of books that were mostly unread! But now they aren’t mocking me from the shelves. They were the ones I knew would never make it to the top of the TBR. Hopefully someone else is loving them right now.

  22. Jamie sometimes it’s like you read my mind! I found a card years ago that said “She cried at least once a day, not because she was sad but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short.” I think of that often, it fits me, and your #1.
    I also wonder how I’ll get to all the books I want to. I’ve gone through phases of not buying until I get my TBR book stack down, then I go crazy again (thanks to the free books offered on my Kindle) and my list is out of control again. Following you and a few other blogs have added to my crazy wishlist and TBR stack. Then there’s the books that are so popular, or the non-fiction current events that I feel like I SHOULD read even though they aren’t in my preferred genre. It can be exhausting just thinking about it.
    Here’s to just living each day, the best we can, and enjoying it for what it is. 🙂

  23. As a…39 year old (where the H- did my thirties go?) avid reader, I can totally relate to this post. I finally began going through my books at age 35..only keeping the ones that I loved or authors I loved, and donating the rest (except for my retro Sweet Vally High books..those go nowhere 😉 ) to the local library. I’m an impulse book buyer as well. If it sounds good/looks good I’ll pick it up and add it to my stack. If it is in the stack for longer than two months — I give it away to a family member, friend, or donate. I used to be, “How can I read all these great books?”….now I still want to read as much as I can, but don’t force myself to read something that doesn’t interest me or I’ve lost interest in…those dreaded DNFs….LOL.

  24. My boyfriend often cruelly points this out to me when he spots me reading HP for the billionth time. He has a point, but I think it’s more important to read the things that bring us joy. I may miss out on a TON of books over the course of my life because of the time I’ve spent/will spend rereading HP, LOTR and many more multiple times, but these books are infinitely important to me and only get better the more I read them.

    But I definitely do have a mini-heart attack every time I enter a book store and marvel at the vast number of books waiting for me to read them.

  25. This is a great post! Also, I love that clip. I”ve never seen the show, but I definitely identified with the character.

    I can’t say I ever stress about all the books I’ll never read in my lifetime. I am more stressed about all the books I want to read right now, and that I just don’t have time. I hope that makes sense.

    I do cull books from my TBR list. Especially books that have been there for awhile – ones that were never at the top of my list, but one I was sort of interested in trying.

    It is definitely stressful, though, when I think of all the books that come out each year. I want to read new books, but also backlist items that I just never got to.

  26. Yup! I totally feel the pressure to read all the books I want to read, do all the things I want to do, travel (I’ve never been anywhere), in whatever time I have on this earth. If I stop to think about it, it gives me so much anxiety! But like others have said above, if I could just stop panicking and start doing, I might have less to panic about.

    It’s not pleasant, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone! Reading this post and all the comments has helped calm me somewhat (for now!).

  27. I am laughing so hard. My bff/blogmate & I do this EVERY time we go to the bookstore! I get completely overwhelmed thinking about all the amazing books I can never read. I just know I’m going to miss out on some amazing stories that would probably become a favorite. It’s like missing a chance to fall in love, as cheesy as that sounds.

    And this post is what keeps me coming back to your blog. I love your reviews, but these little peeks into your mind remind me of the common link all us book lovers have. :]

  28. I totally freak out because I want to read ALL the books! And yes, I always think “It’s too late for me!” Great post 🙂

  29. After reading your great post my friends and I have come up with a name for the deadly afflication.
    Imitelistoberphobia or ITP for short = the fear of never finishing your TBR pile.

    The first step of the 12 step proggram is admitting you can’t pronouce the name of the afflication. 🙂

  30. YES! This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I buy quite a few books and sometimes I read them right away and sometimes I don’t. I still use my library a LOT for books, too, so that really doesn’t help. Sometimes I have to have weeks where I just read the books I own to TRY and catch up! Ahhh, but I still love them! That feeling of coming home with a brand new book! A lovely hardcover that will look GORGEOUS on my shelf!

    That being said, I’ve culled my collection twice in the last year and feel like I’m finally keeping books that I’ll actually read. A lot of my old collection was from the used bookstore or garage sales and I don’t think that I really wanted to read some of them. Or, there are others that I’ve just outgrown or am no longer interested in.

    I think what I need to do is learn to read faster. Problem solved! 🙂

  31. Hehe Jamie, no you are most definitely not alone! Sometimes my reading pile just freaks me out. And those are all review copies I have agrred to read – I barely find time to read the books I am dying to read. But, then I have to make space for time in my insane reading timeline..
    *sigh* I just try to read faster?! But that’s also not an option.
    So, I first read review copies and in between I treat myself with a book I really want to read but I have no review obligations!


  1. […] Jamie (Perpetual Page Turner) talks about her freakouts over the books she’ll never read. […]