reading isnt easy

Reading Isn’t Easy: Top Book Related Problems

reading isnt easy

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Book Related Problems and boy I have a few!

Puzzling Shelves

Oh, the horror of having to completely rearrange bookshelf rows because of one new book! I absolutely do not envy bookshop staff for this very reason (maybe you have some pointers?).

Those Pesky Pets

Most of the time it’s adorable, but having a 45 pound dog with her nose in your face isn’t the most ideal way to read a book. Same goes for paws on your pages or demanding toys everywhere.

Do I Own That?

I am the worst at keeping track of what books I own, particularly if I own more than one book from a single author, so book shopping can be a nightmare…and makes me feel horribly guilty.

All the Holds at Once

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bookworm in possession of a library card will have all of their holds come in at once.

On the Road

The torture of packing books when traveling! What if I don’t bring enough? What if I don’t have the book I really want to read?

Reading and Eating

I distinctly remember using a cereal bowl to hold open the pages of a paperback through every childhood breakfast, so I’ve had a long affair with books and food. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing better than reading and eating at the same time. Sadly, it can also be a pretty tricky, messy dance.

A Closet for Dust Jackets

I love reading hardcovers, but absolutely can’t read one with the dust jacket on. When I take them off, they just end up thrown around until I’m done. I really need a little dust jacket closet.


What makes the act of reading tricky for you?

  • Of the TTT posts I’ve seen today, this one has the most I identify with. Puzzling shelves is the bane of my existence! I’m currently suffering ‘all the holds at once.’ I also definitely understand reading and eating, on the road (choosing the few physical books I would take for my year abroad was a months long task ;-;), and do I own that (I can never remember whether I /thought/ about buying a book or if I actually bought it…).

    • Oh yes, I think sometimes I probably had a book in my hand at a bookstore, maybe intending to buy it, and then I always think I own it.

  • I have a solution for reading and eating — the “book chair,” which looks like a little deck chair for your book. It holds all kinds and sizes of books and I use it all the time! : )

  • Deb

    Interesting – I’ve found my Kindle solves nearly every one of these problems. I carry my whole library in my purse, it’s organized, it’s easy to read and eat, and I never have to worry about how many books to pack. The library holds coming in at once are still a problem though, and so is the cat wanting to sit on my Kindle.

    • I’m a big paper reader, I just prefer it for whatever reason, but when I travel I definitely have to bring an ereader to make the pressure a little lighter.

  • Wesley

    Library holds for sure! It’s like high pressure christmas. All of these wonderful books but then the pressure of a due date, especially if it’s new!

  • Haha – I’m just picturing dust jackets replacing regular jackets on hangers….
    And – you need an e-reader for your travels!

  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bookworm in possession of a library card will have all of their holds come in at once.” THIS!! This needs to be printed somewhere. Maybe on a big button I could wear to work. ;)

  • Holly @ guninactone

    All of the holds – yes! That is the worst. I have to tell you that you made an appearance on my TTT for constantly contributing to my TBR list! :)


    Oh man, I can totally relate to not remembering which books you own when you are out shopping. I used to double (and TRIPLE!) buy books because I couldn’t recall if I had it already or not (I have over 600 unread books, between print and digital, I know! It’s a sickness!)…

    Now, whenever I’m in doubt, I use the goodreads app to check my shelves before buying!

    • The Goodreads has been super helpful since I started marking books once I bought them…but, ugh, there are a ton of books I still need to go back and catalog.

  • Yes to all of those! Especially the Do I Own That? conundrum. I just bought a copy of Quiet and then realized that I already had it on my Kindle. Sigh. #firstworldproblems ;)

  • Farin Schlussel

    All the holds! And they’re always two week books, so you have to read them in about two seconds.

    • Yes! Sometimes I’m lucky and get one I can renew, but most of the time someone else is waiting and there’s a total rush.

  • Spot on with ALL of these!

  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bookworm in possession of a library card will have all of their holds come in at once.” <– LOVE THIS :)

  • BWB

    I shove my dust jackets in a drawer..

  • All of these! Although, my specific problem with reading and eating is that I do too much eating while I read, and of the wrong sort of food. :)

  • I don’t have a 45-pound dog, but my kitten likes to curl up right on top of whatever book is open in my lap. And I am sooo familiar with the plague of all the library holds coming in at once. And the costs of reading while eating. Most of the books I read as a teen have ramen stains.

  • So glad I’m not alone on the library hold issue. I swear, I try and plan SO VERY CAREFULLY, but it just doesn’t matter. Love the visual of you with the cereal bowl page-holder. :)

  • Hehe, love these problems! My cat often decides she wants to hang out (usually right in front of my book or Kindle) when I’m reading… they just know.

    No joke, I brought no fewer than five books with me on my holiday vacation. That struggle is real.

    • I can’t help but bring a ton of books with me, even on short trips. I brought four and my Kobo this week…and have barely had time to read.

  • Stacy (The Novel Life)

    i was reading and eating just a moment ago! eating hot oatmeal while trying to read can be dangerous! great list Shannon!

  • Oh man, agreed on many of these. “Reading and eating”—tacos especially. Why do I want to read AND eat tacos! Impossible, like sneezing with your eyes open. I have “do I own that?” with CDs. And “On the road”—I brought 4–5 books along for my week-long vacation in Hawaii. That was silly! I barely finished one (and only thanks to the long plane rides to and from). Great post!

    • I’m feeling that way about all the books I brought with me this week! There’s no possible way I’m going to get through even half.

  • I forgot about getting all the books at once! I hate it when that happens! I don’t have the nose in my face, I have the body on the book. My cats seen an open book as an open invitation!

  • Lauren @ Books, Tea & Me

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bookworm in possession of a library card will have all of their holds come in at once.” THIS. Hahahaha, not because I can relate to it (I can’t go to the library) but because I love this sentence. Good job. And great list, too! I have a panic attack before going on vacation because I never know what books to bring along! It’s such a struggle!

    • I think the vacation panic is the reason I always end up bringing way too many! I can never choose and I’m always scared I’ll be stuck with the choice I didn’t really want.

  • I’ve given up on reading and eating because it never goes well. I either forget I’m eating entirely, make a mess or forget I’m eating and just eat completely unaware that I’ve eaten the entire bag of chips or whatever. I love the idea of a closet for dust jackets! I need to do something. I always take the dust jacket off and it up laying on top of my nightstand/bookshelf and it gets so cluttery. Great list!

  • Amanda

    I love the dust jacket closet idea! I need that for my husband and my daughter’s books. And yes-why do the library fates make you get 5 books that you want to read all at once?!

  • OH! All the holds at once is SO true! And I haven’t really mastered the “eating-while-reading” problem, either; someone should come up with a solution for this – ha! Add in the dog, trying to get whatever it is that I’m eating while I’m not paying attention because I’m reading? Disaster!

  • Totally all of the above! Except turn the dog nose in your face to a cat butt in your face…I’m trying to read. Get that thing out of here cat. I do try to use dust covers as place holders on my shelf while I’m reading but that only happens the 50% of the time I’m actually on my game.

    • I’ve done that with dust jackets, too…but yeah, most of my bookshelves are upstairs and when I’m reading downstairs I get way too lazy.

  • Couldn’t agree anymore with all of those. Specially about the fine art that is eating and reading!

  • Jennine G.

    Yes, my shelves are a mess. I’m to the point where I can’t rearrange them because there isn’t room for all of them anyway!

  • Julie @ Smiling Shelves

    I’m slowly collecting Adriana Trigiani’s books. I’ve bought Very Valentine three times at various used book sales because I can never remember which book of her series I have! I really need to make a list… And I love reading while I’m eating, too. Possibly messy, yes. But what else are you supposed to do when you’re just sitting there eating?

  • I completely relate about Reading and Eating – I love to read while I eat, but that doesn’t work well with messy foods. My favorite food – tacos – are basically impossible to eat while reading.

    Another problem: having hundreds of unread books on my shelves and being completely incapable of figuring out what I want to read next!

    • Oh man, sometimes I just sit on the floor next to my shelves and completely give up. Picking a new book is too hard!

  • Kelly TheWellReadRedhead

    Haha this is awesome. The puzzling bookshelves is so true. Mine are in order alphabetically, and when I get a new one by an A author, I cry a little knowing how long it will take me to rework ALL of my shelves for it…

    • A’s are the worst! I also hate anything around JK Rowling because I have a thing about keeping all my Harrys together.

      • Kelly TheWellReadRedhead

        SO TRUE. You don’t want to have to split the series onto two separate shelves. It feels so wrong. Also, I have to have my Harrys at the far right or left of a shelf, because if they sit in the middle, they weigh too much and start to make the shelf sag. Serious problems here, people.

  • Oh, the bookshelf problem drives me crazy. One additional issue: German books print the spine title the opposite way of American books. Since I don’t separate by language, I have to constantly tilt my head from one side to the other in order to read the spines.

    • I never knew that about German books, but it helps solve something that’s been driving me NUTS on my shelves! I have a copy of Hans Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone and I could never figure out why the title faced the other way.

  • I used the cereal bowl (I wasn’t as careful with books then!) And every night I’d carry 5 or 6 books up to my bedroom, then back down in the morning. Because, you know, just in case – and I still have several on the go at once, because what I want to read depends on my mood. Also, on several occasions I have bought a book, only to find I already own it – that in itself is indicative of having too many books! Another problem with travelling – I’ll just take my Kindle (but leave the charger at home – aargh!)

    • I don’t use an ereader all that much, but I definitely take it with me when I travel…otherwise half my suitcase would be books!

  • All of these problems. ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS. Also there’s definitely a weird glass open book shaped item that you can place over the book your reading to hold it open while you eat and not splatter food on it. Might be worth investing in, if not just to have a ridiculous object.

  • The library holds all coming in at once is SO TRUE. And it’s usually for books that have many holds so they must all be read in two weeks or fines. So many fines.

  • I agree – nothing better than reading and eating at the same time! I think sometimes when I feel like nibbling on messy food I choose to read e-books instead, because I’m always running the risk of messing on my book pages :(

  • Sharon Pelletier

    What about a french-style memo board to slide in the jackets of current reads? Then they’re safe and on display!