Our Reading Lives

Dear All My 80% Read Books: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

It isn’t that you’re bad. Or not good. Or even eh. If that were the case you’d be finding yourself in the DNF pile. Or I’d actually be finishing you in hate-reading mode and we’d no longer know each other.

via GIPHY

Or maybe just apathetic-finishing mode. Either way, you would no longer exist in my must-get-to pile. You’d be snug in a finished pile. Or in another reader’s hands.

But you’re still here, just chilling at your 80%, because none of that applies to you.

You’re different.

You’re special.

I’m enjoying reading you. I like you. And while you may not have the rare must-inhale-this-book-right-now quality it isn’t because you’re unworthy. You are, I promise. The reason there’s a stack of you, keeping each other company, is because you fall into one of two categories: I’m not ready to let you go or I got a new book.

I know it’s not fair to suddenly pick up the shinny new book and not give you any attention anymore, but I did that thing where I thought I’d only read the first sentence of the new book out of curiosity and, well, now it’s also in the 80% pile. It’s one of your new buddies–play nice. The library loans always coming in at once when I least expect it also makes me put you aside, just for a while, because those ticktock at me, reminding me of their countdown before they poof disappear.

And then there’s that thing where I’m enjoying you. You’re funny. Or nice. You give me great comfort. I like you most before bedtime when I can forget about the state of the current world and it’s just you and me. It’s because of those things I’ve slowed down, paused really, reading you. I’m trying to hold on to you. Savor the end. When it’s over it’ll be over. Sure I can always reread you but it’ll never be the first time again. And let’s be honest, I can currently die under the weight of my TBR pile so I don’t have time to reread–the new shinny books get very loud when I even think I might.

So you see it’s not you, it’s never you–if it were, you wouldn’t be here anymore. Sorry, that sounded way dramatic. I wasn’t threatening you, I swear. What I mean is I keep you in that nice little pile with the others because I care for you. I really do. And I promise I’ll finish reading every single one of you.

via GIPHY

*adds another book to the 80% read pile.