One thing I wanted to try and do this year is not read as many advanced reading copies. Granted I “only” read seven last year and while it doesn’t sound like much, when a person reads about 55 or so books a year, it’s a chunk. I’ve gotten lots of emails since the year began offering books. Most of them are pretty easy to delete, romance, self-help, how to find a husband or raise children, that kind of thing. A few have made me pause but I have dutifully declined. I have been feeling pretty good about it and getting a little smug. And so, of course, I caved in last night to not one but two review copies.

In my defense, would you refuse a copy of Lionel Shriver’s The New Republic described as a page-turning thriller that explores the “relationship between terrorism and cults of personality?” Or could you casually delete an email offering a copy of The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits described as a “wildly imaginative and emotionally intense novel about mothers, daughters, and the psychic damage women can inflict on one another?” If you can say no to those, then you have greater will power than I do.

Now here I admit I have not read either author before. But both seem to write books I think I’d like and many a blogger has posted a review that made me think, “I should read Shriver / Julavits sometime.” No time like the present, right?

The clamor of books that I plan to “read next” is approaching deafening. I need to take a several month’s long reading vacation to feel as though I am making any progress. Perhaps a winning lottery ticket is in my stars this year. Oh the reading I could do if I were to win $100 million! In the meantime I think I’ll need to get earplugs.