So many books, so little time.

My copy of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley stands as testimony the fact that no matter how much I read, I will probably always acquire books faster than I can read them.

Why? Because this book was given to me on my birthday in 1997, and I haven’t read it yet.

You don’t believe I’ve had it that long? You should. I still have the gift receipt. Behold!

It’s been 7,069 days… receipt or no receipt, I guess it’s too late to exchange it.

Actually, funny story: A friend and I had a shared birthday party that year. This book was to be her gift from one of the guests. However, she already had the book, and in fact she’d already read it. From the same guest, I was to receive a CD. However, it was an album I already had on tape, and in fact I didn’t even have a CD player. The situation was awkward for a minute, but the solution immediately presented itself: My friend happily took the CD and I happily took the book. Ta-da! Everyone wins.

Fat lot of good that book has done me since then, though. I saw the movie adaptation one year on New Year’s Eve—that’s probably part of why I haven’t felt any particular need to read the book, though I still vaguely intend to. It’s daunting, though, because it’s not just a long stand-alone novel, it’s a series of seven of them—not that I don’t enjoy long books. I’ve read all the Wheel of Time books, all the Sword of Truth books, and as many Ice and Fire books as George R.R. Martin has managed to publish thus far.

And, indeed, I have a keen interest in King Arthur retellings. But there are a lot of them! And I have a lot of them. See?

Thomas Malory, Howard Pyle, John Steinbeck, Roger Lancelyn Green, A.A. Attanasio, Henry Frith, and more!
T.H. White, Stephen R. Lawhead, Mark Twain, Jack Whyte, Catherine Christian, J. Robert King, Nancy Springer… and John Steinbeck again.

Maybe I’d rather read Twain, Pyle, or Malory next. Or, you know, Steinbeck. Or heck, just keep reading nonfiction, which I quite enjoy.

Then, too, there’s this, which I only found out about just now: allegations of child abuse have made Marion Zimmer Bradley’s works less popular.

So maybe The Mists of Avalon will just keep sitting on the shelf, reminding me that you just can’t do all the things in life—especially things you only ever vaguely intended to do.