It's true. We have this fantastic independent bookstore nearby, Brookline Booksmith, and I've gone in a fair bit lately, and I love to browse. But when I'm standing there looking at the fiction section, I can't help but think, "Man, I'll never be able to read all the books that interest me." Which depresses me a little.
I'm almost 40. So maybe I have a good 40 years of reading left. At 25 books a year (I'm slow, I know), that's 1,000 books. Which seems like a lot. But they keep publishing new good books every year. And there's plenty of classics I want to read but haven't. Last time I was there, I picked up Bleak House and then Maugham's The Painted Veil, and thought I want to read these. And then The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks caught my eye yet again, but she's got a new one out that looks good, too. I bought Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian for my step-father last year and now I want a copy of my own.
And that's just fiction. I keep meaning to read Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. And I need to round out my Michael Pollan collection with Botany of Desire, and actually buy a copy of Omnivore's Dilemma, because my wife loved it, too. And I'm reading Wendyll Berry's The Hidden Wound right now, and feel like I should probably just read all of his work.
Sometimes I fantasize about being locked in a bookstore overnight. (It's fun to spend all night in a theatre, too--I did that for South City's May Day Play Day a few years back, and ended up writing a play, The Sky is Falling, that I still like.)
When I'm in a library, I don't have the sense that I want to take it all in. Maybe because the collections are too large. But something about a bookstore makes me lust for the books, lust to read them backwards and forward. I guess I'd better get going. The clock is ticking.