Monday, August 27

Obsession Confession: Buying Books

I LOVE BOOKS!
(I am sure this is the first you have heard of it.)

Yep, I am addicted to reading and hoarding books. The latter I didn't find out until this last winter and spring when everything got really ugly. Up until that point I primarily was a regular patron at the library. One of the few places where I was actually known on sight. That is a big deal since I am almost a hermit. I never had a balance problem with books. The formula was working for me. Library > Borrow Books > Read Books > Return (Repeat) I remember thinking how can these other bloggers have so many books on their shelves that aren't being read, what a travesty. I guess I never listened to my mother. How many times, child, must I tell you to be careful what you say. It may come back to haunt you. Yes mother, you were right. I am now in the same position as those I once boggled at. It all started when I had extra Christmas money and a pile of books that I was tired of wishing the library would put on the shelves. Unfortunately buying one pile of books made it so much easier to buy more on my next celebration. After that I didn't even bother having an excuse to buy them, I just did
The more the merrier.

So where is the real problem, you ask. I kept reading; everything should have evened out. Nope, not so much. Most importantly, I discovered a huge discrepancy. If I borrow from the library I make my best effort to have that book read by the time it is due. If I get a book for review I make my best effort to have it read by publication or agreed upon date. So that meant all those books had this priority. What priority do I place on the books I buy? Yeah, umm. . . oops. I wanted those books so desperately I forked out my own green to get my grubby paws on them. Then once they crossed my threshold I promptly placed them on the shelf. I guess those poor books are much like my husband. When dating you put forth all sorts of efforts to snag that catch. You jump through hoops and perform the impossible. But once you have that catch you start to place priority elsewhere. I mean it isn't like he is going anywhere. I got my brand on his finger and my name on his checkbook. Likewise with my books. Once I have them on my shelf I tell myself there isn't any rush since they aren't going anywhere. There is no competition for their time, they are mine.

Sometimes the books on my shelf get lucky (and sometimes even my husband does). If there is a contest that involves reading one of them, they get a break. For example, If I Die sat on my shelf for a year and then a recent event helped free it. The only other way off the pile is if I have to read the first before reviewing the sequel.

Not so Defiant now are you?
I desperately want Defiance. I have put forth quite a bit of effort, for me, to get my hands on an early copy. Nada. So now I am putting together a book order because I just have to have it. Meanwhile there is this creeping fear at the back of my mind that warns Defiance is in for some serious shelf time. Why would I do that to something I want so desperately? But it gets so much worse. When I wait for these books and then finally break down and purchase them I can't imagine not ever reading them. How could my desire for them ever wane? And yet that is exactly what happens to those poor bundles of pretty paper. The reasons I was so excited for them start to dim little by little. Until pop, I no longer remember why I wanted them so badly. All the current titles are vying for my attention. There seems to be only so much room in my brain for book desire. It is ugly.


Ever see Toy Story 3 when the toys get upset they aren't being played with? What if my books are talking and plotting up there on the shelf? What if they decide to take more drastic measures? That new book shelf they ordered might not be for their comfort so much as for my capture. "You aren't going anywhere until we are all read," entoned the shelved books maliciously.
Book Cave or Book Slave?

It turns out it isn't a good thing, if you are a book, to be bought by me. Currently it is an exile to the shelves with little chance for probation. I am afraid to admit that I might even be tempted to give away some of these books. UNREAD!

Oh please, NO! What have I done! How can I break this vicious habit and give these books the attention and priority they deserve? 

4 comments:

  1. I do the EXACT same thing. There are innumerable books that I just HAD TO BUY as soon as they released, and they are sitting on my shelf, forgotten.

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    1. But WHY? How can they be so important in the moment so impossible to pass up and then just lose our interest? It makes me so sad. Poor things.

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  2. I have been really bad about doing this for years, though my book-stalking ground has always been used bookstores. A couple of summers ago my husband and my book collection grew so enormous we invested in a bunch of new shelving. It was particularly stressful every time we moved because there were so many huge, heavy boxes of books. The last time we moved, early this summer, I finally realized I have a problem and said enough. We went through every single book we owned and weeded out hundreds. Since then I have been systematically selling them to my local used book store/donating them to my local thrift store. For me that was the only way and I've felt so much better since. Also, every time I go to buy a book I ask myself, "Is this something I want sitting on my shelf for the next several years? Is this something I want to pack up and take with me when we move?" If I cringe at either of these thoughts I don't buy it.

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    1. Ouch, I can't imagine outright asking myself if I will be okay with my purchase sitting on my shelf for years. Oh no. I may have to lock myself in my book closet until I am caught up.

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