Monday, August 18, 2008

Book Buying Ban? I Might Need Twelve Steps

Today as I was browsing through my "Favorites" list (wondering how in the world some of them got there), I came across a blog list I didn't recognize. Evidently, it's a group of blogs devoted to reading. The one that caught my attention, though, was a challenge to accept a temporary ban on buying books until Dec. 31. You are encouraged to make a list of books you plan to read before buying any others. Any books you win or receive as a gift must be added to your list.
(Check out the specifics here: http://j-kaye-book-blog.blogspot.com/2008/08/ban-on-spending-book-challenge.html)

Should I do it? Yes. Will I? Not a chance. This week I saw on Facebook that Amber Owens, reader extraordinare, was loading up books to donate to the library for their book sale. I tried that when the local Friends of the Library had a sale. I gave them a boxful, though I will admit that it hardly made a dent in my surplus, and I shed no tears over these particular books. The effort might have been successful in at least thinning out my stacks, but I just happened to stop by the library to return a book that was due and--surprise! surprise!--they were to the last day of the sale. Anyone could fill up a grocery sack of books for three dollars. I couldn't pass it up. I'll admit that I even picked up a couple of books I already owned. Don't ask me why.

Still I can't stop stockpiling. One of my college professors said, "Your library isn't the books you've read; it's the books you are going to read." I find comfort knowing that even if I were suddenly placed under house arrest, I would not lack for good reading materials. I try not to buy. Sometimes for moral exercise, I stroll into a bookstore, leaving my purse locked in my car. If I can emerge emptyhanded, I've won. Still, I can't just stop buying books: authors keep writing good ones. Right now I'm holding out (a few more days) before buying Clyde Edgerton's new book The Bible Salesman. I've never met an Edgerton novel I didn't like. My own history with Bible salesmen (beginning with my own father in college) adds to my interest.

I'm actually "between books." I finished reading my book group's selection Three Cups of Tea this week, and since school started today, I'm reading textbooks. It's just a matter of time (and by that I mean hours, not days) before I'm back into another good book. Even if I read one off my shelves (and there are several beckoning), I also know that before long, I can expect my Lemuria First Editions Club copy to show up on my doorstep. Then there's the book fellow reader Carol Jago, suggested, Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses... and then there's....

Do you think it's too late for me to start making my list?

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6 comments:

Amber said...

No way I am signing up for that challenge. Geez, it's not even Lent. Anyway, having just purged about half my collection, I feel justified in shopping to fill the empty spaces I created in my bookcase.

Laura said...

You absolutely MUST post every day. I love to read what you have to say about books. I need to pop by Borders tomorrow...

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Nancy, we need more book buyers not fewer ones. Our indie booksellers are suffering and need our support. I'd suggest Charles Price's Nor the Battle to the Strong--a big read but worth it. And don't forget poetry while you are strolling the aisles! AND don't forget to keep up with our Writers and Readers features on ncarts.org.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JLC said...

I know the feeling! WE don't have room for more, but we both keep buying them when we can't find them any other way. And I hope some people will heed Kathryn and support the small indies! For other reviews take a look at another magazine (on line)www.seniorwomen.com. Not JUST because I review for it, but because there's so much of interest there including books and reviews.

Nancy said...

Laura,
Why not Davis-Kidd instead? Keep the independent bookstores going strong!