Adventures in Bookstore Overwhelm

Adventures in Bookstore Overwhelm

Yes, as wonderful as bookstores are, bookstore overwhelm is a thing. source: unsplash

Yes, as wonderful as bookstores are, bookstore overwhelm is a thing.
source: unsplash

It's no secret. I love bookstores. Like, I love them with an undying passion. I'd live in one if I could. I'm envious of book nerd couples that get married between shelves stacked high with leather-bound volumes. If I had disposable income, I wouldn't spend all my money at the bookstore because I'd just buy the store and run it myself.

And yet. Even as much as I adore bookstores, I have been plagued with bookstore overwhelm.

I've always got a running list of books I want and I'm usually able to rattle off a good portion of the list in my sleep.

And yet. Many times I've found myself in a perfectly well-stocked, immaculately organized bookstore only to have my mind blank and find myself unable to think of a single volume that's on the list of books I want. It's especially problematic when a bookstore employee asks if s/he can help me. I know s/he can help me, but I can't think of what titles I want, so I find myself muttering a "no thanks" and feeling helpless.

In times like this I'll usually end up wandering around and stumbling upon one or more books that I hadn't previously heard of that caught my eye. I end up enjoying these books and being glad I stumbled upon them, but when I get home with my stack of books, then reference my the list of books I want, I think, Damn it! Why didn't I look for [insert title]?!

This has actually happened several times and being that I'm not inside a bookstore as I write this, I can tell you the titles affected by my bookstore overwhelm. I seem to always forget to look for Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique, How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Merchants of Culture by John Thompson.

It doesn't make sense. I'm a perfectly capable book nerd of sound mind and body and yet I get so overwhelmed by a multitude of book options that I just can't even.

Sure, I could always just make a list. I could. But I've historically avoided that because I want to leave myself open to happening upon fantastic reads that hadn't made it on my radar.

Is the tradeoff worth it? I would say mostly yes.

But damn it, I really want the books on my list! Alas, #booknerdproblems. To be continued...

Do you take a list to the bookstore or do you wing it? Why or why not? Tell me in the comments below!

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