My Willpower Takes a Hit, But That’s Okay

Being a reader who works in a library is like being a dieter who works in a cupcake shop. (Or maybe it’s worse because I don’t have to pay, monetarily or waist size-wise, to check out books.) It takes willpower and a lot of “Thanks, but no thanks!” to avoid having piles of books in my apartment, all begging to be read. Books are a huge part of my environment, but unless I’m using or looking for a specific one to help me do my job, I try to make them just the background I’m working around. There are so many that I couldn’t really pay attention to all of them anyway (or I could, but I would lose what little sanity I have.)

I don’t always succeed. I’ve worked at Squirrel Hill for almost six months now and as I walked back and forth through the aisles, I kept noticing a bright red book at the end of one of the shelves. It was The New Yorker: Stories by Ann Beattie. Her name sounded vaguely familiar, but since I usually have a pile of books I’m just about to start reading once I finish reading the three books I’m already reading, I kept leaving it on the shelf. I don’t know how many times I walked past it and thought, “I love short stories! You have too many books at home! Keep moving!”, but last week, I finally caved and checked it out.

The New Yorker Stories

The book is a collection of forty-eight stories published in The New Yorker, starting in 1974 and ending in 2006. I haven’t finished reading them all yet, but I’ve read enough to recommend it. Beattie was considered a voice of her generation, and even though I wasn’t born when her first story was published, her stories have resonated with me. I’d describe Beattie’s style as spartan, but not in a bad way, and if you appreciate minimalism in your fiction, Beattie may be an author to look into.

I’m pleased that I was too weak to keep passing by this book.



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19 responses to “My Willpower Takes a Hit, But That’s Okay

  1. Good on you! If my eye is on a book I wish to read, I, too, can only ignore it for so long! :)

  2. this is eerily similar to what I just posted. We need a library worker’s anonymous group, an intervention- something!

  3. If you love short stories as much as I do, I highly recommend Dorothy Parker.

  4. Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to add this to my list.

  5. I’ve never been attracted by Hirt stories but I love that this book is a collective of some from the New Yorker! Will give it a go!

  6. I am the same exact way when I go to my library! I just check out piles upon piles of books. I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t need to check out 10 books at a time…they’ll be there when I go back!

    • But it’s so hard to pass up a book. I keep track of what I want to read on Goodreads so I don’t check out everything that interests me, but the list keeps getting bigger and bigger. I either have to stop adding books to my list or cull it somehow because I’ll never get through them all.

  7. Thanks for the review, it looks like an interesting book! By the way, I know exactly how you feel. Last year I did work experience in a book store and the whole week I was trying my best not to spend the entire day browsing instead of doing work :)

  8. Your symptoms sound eerily similar to mine except I can never resist and I end up with stacks of books in my office way past their due dates!

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