Embellishing the Details: Regina Pile. Or Plight?

I originally started this installment with the intent of focusing on what I’m looking forward to and accomplishing this year. Yes, I really did plan on writing in January. But something changed when I got into the topic of tackling my Regina Pile.

I remember when we started doing the podcast listeners were amazed (one in particular, hence the name) to find out we had comicbooks weeks and months old that hadn’t yet been read (Logan was a Regina resident when he called into the show, again, hence the name, and yes, we used to play voicemails). And I understand why that might be baffling to some. There are readers who won’t get their next batch of books until they finish what they brought home last time. There are readers who, due to the price of comicbooks today, only buy what they can afford and therefore find it a waste of money to have stories stacked in a pile waiting to be read. But life gets in the way for some of us. There are only so many hours in the day and they’re divvied up among family, work, sleep, and any non-comicbook related hobbies.

Then the problem is never catching up (sure, you can stop buying comicbooks, read what you have, and say goodbye; but you won’t). Whether you get your books from the shop every week or have them shipped to you once a month (to say nothing of your convention haul) you’re not only adding to your collection, but to your Regina Pile as well.

It was one thing when I only had physical stacks of books (which is an advantage over digital, because there may be a lot of swiping and scrolling just to see what you have in your library). To be able to see what’s waiting for me, maybe come up with a game plan, rearrange the stack based on my mood. It was somewhat inviting, almost reassuring, knowing I’d have something to read whenever I’d be ready. It never really felt insurmountable even if I thought it’d never be beaten. Maybe because it was never a chore, I never had a goal of defeating my Regina Pile.

But then came tablets giving us another way to read comicbooks. And at first it was an easy way to quickly read what came out or to fill in any gaps if any gaps needed filling. Unfortunately (or fortunately, but for the sake of this particular feature, bear with me), convenience can lead to habit. I’ve written about my appreciation of the digital format, but since it’s so easy to load up an iPad with comicbooks, compared to lugging trades around, why not download a few collections? Plus, if your only connection is Wi-Fi, you better load up for the road. No telling when you’ll find a hotspot. But, I digress…

When it comes to my reading habits it all depends on what I’m in the mood for. There are times when I might feel like reading a few random single issues of Deathstroke and The Punisher and Black Hammer. I might open comiXology on my iPad and binge Old Man Logan or Nova, taking a small bite out of the ol’ Regina. This doubles as an excuse to read something for the podcast so we can tag team on a title.

What doesn’t help is rereading old stories. Even if they’re repackaged and I’ve double-dipped. While my Regina Pile is stacked with tales I haven’t read yet, every so often an old favorite calls out to me.

Batman/Grendel. God Loves, Man Kills. Born Again. The Dark Knight Returns. Mage. Legends. Various issues of Marvel Team-Up or World’s Finest… but that’s a column for another day.

I suppose I’ll never not have a Regina Pile. Which is absolutely fine. I don’t want to never have something to read. I’m sure there’d be a sense of accomplishment, a proud feeling after reading every story on hand. But I can’t help but think I’d feel empty.

Until Wednesday.

What’s on your Regina Pile? How close have you gotten to conquering it before adding more books? Does it consist of titles you’re currently reading and have fallen behind on or new-to-you that you haven’t had a chance to try yet? Do you wait until awards season and add the winners to the stack?  Is it a shelf in your bookcase or a Jenga-esque tower next to the bed?

Thoughts, comments, and “I wonder what the people of Regina call a stack of unread books…” can be emailed to me. I can also be found on Twitter.

  • Jon Westhoff

    Always love the topic

    It makes me feel better about my pile

    At this point I’ve almost stopped collecting and I still feel it will never go away

    But I never really thought about what you said and I think I like having them around knowing there’s great books there to get to

    I like to put the next book I want to read to the top
    That gets me excited when I see it there

    • David Price

      I love the idea of putting the next book at the top. That carrot dangling in front of you, that reward within your reach.

      • Jon Westhoff

        By the time I get to the bottom I’ll be thinking “what is this? Why did I read all the good stuff first?!”

  • Monica

    My Regina pile is purely digital. When I got a physical book, I read immediately but the digital comics is so easy to buy them and forget them.

    • David Price

      Truth. The screen is only so big. Depending on you view and/or layout everything is going to be organized alphabetically or by release date or purchase date or…

      It’s very easy for digital to be out of sight, out of mind.

  • Kam Mohtashemi

    The only way I can look at my Regina pile is as a true blessing. I love comics. I love reading. It’s been my favorite hobby since I was eight years old. I used to have to scratch and scrimp and save loose change to be able to afford a handful of new comics that I would knock out in an afternoon and then be left without new comics or money in my pocket to buy more. Now I’m all grown up, responsible, thankfully employed, and have access to comics like never before. So why shouldn’t I have a huge stack of stuff I have not yet read? That’s the reason I busted my ass in college, to be able to have this luxury (among others)! If I eventually pass on from this mortal coil with a big stack of unread on my night table, I will consider that aspect of my life well-lived.

    • David Price

      I love that outlook. Sure, there might be some great stories you won’t get to read, but as long as you were still reading when you shuffled off? That’s a win.

      And there are still going to be stories told after you and I are gone, so it’s not like we’ll ever get to read *everything*.

  • Gianci

    While I love having a Regina pile when it comes to my physical issues, I find I need to keep it small when it comes to digital. Like Monica says, too easy to forget what you have when it comes to digital! Or maybe that’s just me.

  • Councilofcaleb

    I’ve managed to integrate my Regina pile into a sort of reward system, and fortunately my husbands is supportive of this. When certain tasks get done around the house, or when work and school permit me freetime, I doll out of my Regina pile. Gold stars via sequential art. My biggest problem doesn’t come in the form of Trades, but in floppies that have holes in the runs that I just cant find. I hate it, but sometimes these are banished to the longbox closet until I get complete lines. So basically, my Regina pile isn’t bad, but the Reggie closet is daunting…

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