I hate to admit that I’ve gotten just about NOTHING done in the past week, mostly because I was spending hours and hours trying to catch up on my reading goals, updating my reading catalog, picking out books for my wish list, and buying books online I really had no business buying. All this craziness prompted me to put down–in writing–a Declaration,whereby I would not buy another book come January 1st, with 3 exceptions.
Loopholes galore?…perhaps. Please keep in mind, it took me most of a day to whittle it down from 5 to ONLY 3 exceptions.
The Chatty Introvert’s Declaration of Intent Regarding My Addiction to and Hoarding of Paper Books
I, Tally (aka, The Chatty Introvert), recognize myself as a confirmed book and information hoarder and addict. I have debts to pay down (partially because of my book hoarding) and as of this morning’s count, I have 14 books in the donation box, and 1,092 books on my shelves (or in the mail). Of the 1,092 books, I’ve read through 311, have 60 that I consider textbooks or reference (not counted in my must-read pile), which leaves 721 books I have NOT yet read or finished.
That means if I read a dozen of these books each month, it will take me through January 2022 to finish them all…provided I added no more to my shelves. Gah!
Books are my crack and Barnes & Noble is my dealer–it’s unfortunate that I keep buying much faster than I can read what I already have. And I can’t afford it. As part of my intent to curb reckless spending from now (December 7, 2016) through 2017 (at least), I will:
- Ignore the fantastic sales that come along online and in the store. If I know somebody who would benefit from it, pass the info along. Otherwise, not for me…not until my credit card balance reaches “$0.00” (which will be a LONG time–ugh).
- Test my impulse control by NOT buying anything from the bookstore when I visit (good tea being the only exception…when it’s on sale, because it’s crazy expensive). If a book looks tempting, write it down or take a picture of it for my wishlist. New books come out all the time, but if I wait a while, the price will go down further and there’s no point buying it right away if I can’t read it right away.
- When I visit a bookstore, it will be to do some research on buying habits and to work on some book reviews and recommendations lists. For my own writing, I need to do some kind of market research, and while I can surround myself in the great smell of paper books, I CANNOT buy. When it gets to be too much, I’ll head over to the coffee shop and inhale the caffeine.
- Follow my monthly reading list (
12minimum 10 books per month) for 2017. Mix fiction and non-fiction, long and short texts, starting from the oldest publication date to the newest. Some of these books have been on my shelves for over a decade, still unread. Time to remedy that. I know a couple dozen were used for research papers (my local library’s a joke for research, and sometimes the University can’t get a few in) and a few dozen more for coursework that I skimmed through (and will now actually read).
Ergo, I REALLY do NOT need to buy any more books for myself, space being only one concern. And though digital seems the way to go for most people (and would be cheaper), I can’t stand looking at screens for too long because it bugs my eyes and paper doesn’t require batteries…besides, what would my bookshelves be good for without books?
Okay, okay, back to it. But like I said, I do not need any more books for myself. There are 3 exceptions I would take into account, however:
- When the next “Dresden Files” books come out in paperback, I will buy them. And the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” books. They must be on sale or I must have a coupon to afford them, however…as much as I love Dresden, it’ll have to wait its turn in line so I can finish the other books and drool over it properly.
- Professional development, required reading, or business purposes: I will buy a book only if it is required or is vital in helping me not make my financial situation worse (personal or business). My history-teaching & volunteering positions don’t count as “vital.” I easily have enough books on my shelves to cover those subjects and don’t have any more space in the history section anyway (I lost count).
- If someone gives me a gift card or buys books for me. If it’s a gift card, I’ll do my best to save it as long as possible, at least until I donate some books first. If I have no room, it won’t do me any good to get any, anyway. Or, better yet, I can give the gift card away to somebody else who needs books for school or kids’ presents and whatnot.
I am aiming not to buy a single book in 2017 (unless it fits into those exceptions above). Wow–that’s going to be damned hard. But worth a shot, especially if I stop with the impulse book buying. When my credit card hits zero-balance to pay, I may well ease up on those restrictions.
Now, with so many books to read, no more buying for myself. Not. A. One.
So, as I look at my shelves, I’m also going to write small book reviews of what I have read, whether its history, philosophy, religion, poetry, fiction, classics, etc. I’m back to reading a mix of things, because I’ve bought all these different subjects over the years and ignored others for too long. The books are taking up space–why not use them? And if I don’t like them, put them in the donate box to give to someone else who will like them.
And who knows–my “Book & Tea Time” hole might invite some other good reads or discussion. Heaven knows I love the printed page.