It's very distressing for me when I have a finite amount of time in which to do quite a lot of reading. What happens is this: because I like to have at least two or three books on deck at any given time, I typically order the maximum number of books (35) possible through the library system, the theory being that books will become available at staggered intervals, allowing me to balance my need for a constant flow of upcoming books with a manageable supply of reading materials. Depending on the book I'm waiting for, I might be #5 or #35, or even #85 or #165 on the wait list. What stresses me out is when, all of the sudden, several books become available for pick up at the same time. This happened to me in February, when I had about eight books waiting for immediate attention...and now it's happened again.
I just started reading a behemoth of a book for my next book club meeting in three weeks (Vikram Seth's Two Lives, which I've been dying to read for months) and, lo and behold, five library books suddenly required picking up before the end of today. That's in addition to the four untouched library books still sitting on my night table - one of which was due yesterday, and the other three of which are due at varying points in the next few days. "Renew them," it might helpfully be suggested. The problem is that these are books in demand; others are waiting for their turn...so the library doesn't let me renew them. I either hang on to the books until I get to them (and incur overdue fines) or I return them to the library and go back onto the wait list.
A further challenge I encounter regularly is that I'm not always in the mood to read a pending book. My preference is to finish a book, look to the array on my night table, and then meditate for a moment - ommmm, which one grabs my fancy right now - ah yes, that one must positively be the book I read next. So far, the book that was due back yesterday, while a book that I've been wanting to read for almost a year (Anne Michaels' The Winter Vault), just hasn't grabbed my fancy for immediate consumption. And yet, I waited for that book to come to me for months - I started at something like #140 on the wait list. Even now, knowing that I must start it tonight, I am struggling - my mind has already been captured by Two Lives, and my quick-fix need of today wants to devour another of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse (vampire) series, which I know is also awaiting pickup at the library. I know, I know, the fact that I want to read a vampire book over the other, far-more-fulfilling-and-memorable read is kinda pathetic. But don't you just sometimes want that quick hit, the one-night-stand-of-a-book? Yikes. I'm starting to sound like either a drug addict or a lady of the evening. Better go start the Anne Michaels book; regain some depth of character...if that's even possible.