Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Book (Buying) Ban

On 16 July, I declared to the world that I was going on a book-buying ban, and I asked everyone to wish me luck. Book-buying bans are, of course, unnatural to anyone with a preference for reading over anything else. But there came a point when I desperately needed to do something. 

This crisis was triggered by the state of the bookshelves I maintain at my parents' house. The bulk of my reading material resides there, far from my actual residence in Louisiana. It, of course, pains me to be separated from my books, but needs must. During my summer visit to Michigan, I became overwhelmed by the disarray and the fact that so many of my tomes remained boxed up in the basement, victims of both multiple moves and a lack of shelf space.

And then I went on a rampage.

Every single book I had access to came out and was stacked, sorted, and rearranged in the living room. Little Dog was so freaked out that she went and hid in my bedroom to avoid the chaos. I toiled for the better part of a week, until I had weeded out volumes I no longer wanted or needed, things I realized I would never read, or duplicates I'd collected over the years.

The bulk of those discarded books were either donated to the local library for their thrice-yearly fundraising book sale or shipped out to three of my friends who were fascinated by my stash and not averse to their own piles growing larger. This worked out in everyone's favor, which relieved me.

At that point I reorganized, reshelved, and reboxed as necessary. Things I had yet to read were all put out on the bookshelves so I would have easy access to them. The problem with this strategy was that I then came to the realization that I had a huge "to be read" stack. Big enough that I might possibly have enough to keep me going for the rest of my life. (As if that's even possible. Please.)

I blame my mother, who taught me to read when I came home disgruntled that I hadn't learned in school. I blame my father, who has never not bought me a book when I asked for one. I blame Visa, which company should have cut me off long ago when they saw how many transactions I was making at bookstores. And I blame myself, for not having the self-control to say, "No, I do not need to buy these seven books at once."

Hahahahaha, no. That last part isn't true at all. Vive les livres!

And yet. I was--and remain--absolutely serious about this. But I admit that I have broken twice so far. Still, two books in three and a half months is not bad. I am trying my best to focus on the books that are already at hand, and I hope I can stay strong.


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