One of the great advantages to being a writer is that you collect books in an accelerated fashion. Before I was published, I used to get books all the time as gifts and from fellow readers who passed along their “must-reads,” knowing I loved nothing more than to dig into a good narrative. When I sold The Tower to Simon & Schuster and paid my first visit to that great, gray building, I couldn’t believe it when my editor waved a hand at wall after wall of filled bookcases and said, “You can pick anything you want and take it with you.” I took a collection of Hemingway short stories, F Scott Fitzgerald letters, two anthologies, a host of thrillers, two science books, and a dictionary (I think he was expecting me to grab a paperback or two for the plane ride home, but he didn’t know who he was dealing with—a days-from-zero-bank-account-balance twenty-two year old). Since then books arrive, blissfully, in fours and fives, sometimes in tens. Galleys for blurbs, packages from agents and lawyers, sets from fellow authors, filled bags from bookseller events. It’s like heaven. The only problem is, the "to-be-read" stack, which used to maintain itself, by some ratio, to the “read” stack, is wholly out of control (I've had to start feeding it). I finally realized I don’t have to save and read EVERY book I’m given, so if something’s outside of my range of interest (which is a damn wide range), after much deliberation, I’ll part with it, but only if I can find it a happy home. After all, you can't just entrust a book to anybody. They’re like puppies, my books, and they keep breeding. I just built in wall-to-wall bookshelves in the biggest room in my house, thinking that would buy me and my wife some relief from the mounds rising from the floor, but to our chagrin, the shelves were almost immediately filled. And the books keep pouring in in gobs. And my friends keep writing them.
If you’ve got to have problems, though, I suppose this ain’t a bad one.