Saturday, April 30, 2011

Six months...

...since I last purchased a book. Until yesterday, when I finally caved in and bought two books at half price. Will the floodgates open?

Since I last purchased a new book, I've learned a few things about how to take the stress out of my reading. For instance, my appreciation for the books already resting on my shelves grew, as did my understanding of the wondrous spontaneity of a library find. I relaxed a lot more in terms of what books I read, partly because I didn't feel the crushing weight of new and old purchases bearing down on me, but also because I found myself reading a lot of good and diverse books.

For instance, since the start of 2011 (one month after the new regime began), 40% of the books I've read have been translated, representing 9 languages other than English. I've read three non-fiction titles (in all of 2010 I read only two titles... and one falls into the last month, when I'd already stopped purchasing new books), several science fiction and fantasy books (truth be told, A Song of Ice and Fire make up a good portion of the English titles...), and a number of books that have languished on my shelves for years.

Now that I've broken the spell, will I run out to buy more and more and more? No. I'm a lot more attentive to the books I see on sale and a lot more hesitant before snapping up a new title. Of the two books I purchased, one is a relative bestseller while the other is so obscure that the bookseller looked at me a little weirdly as I paid (the book was a random find I'd never heard of before... let's hope it's good...). I don't feel as driving an urge to have the newest books right away. I know that they'll still be around in a few months and maybe by that point I'll realize that I don't actually want to read it. Then I can refocus my attention on the other great books I have on my shelves.

But I'm not going to be as strict about the ban anymore. While my ultimate goal is to reduce the number of books in the stacks, I'm going to continue buying new books and reading them. I just might do it a little smarter from now on.


  1. This seems like a realistic ending to the will buy, but buy smarter given what your reading experiences during the lack of new books.
    I am impressed with the amount of books you have read in translation so far this year; was that a deliberate decision, or just happenstance? Did you have uniformly good experiences with those?

  2. TheBookGirl - It's been a fairly deliberate choice for the last few years, but I've never quite managed to wriggle free of the Anglo-majority in my reading. Though most of the books I read are still originally in English, I'm finding that the bias is shifting in the favor of diversity in language and origin.

    I'd like to say I have uniformly good experiences with all the books I read, but obviously that's not true. The same can be said of the translated literature. Some of it was excellent, some of it on the lower end of the scale. I expected little else.

  3. I haven't really banned myself from buying new books but as I'm a student in another state now, I definitely am reading more books I own just due to space restrictions. It's actually been great as I've realized that a lot of books I bought a while ago, I bought for a reason, and really enjoyed many of them! And I agree- so much less stress :-)


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