You Can Never Have Too Many Books. Or Can You?
“A book is an investment.” That has been my motto since I was seven and will likely continue being my motto for as long as I am able to read. But maybe I do have a bit of a problem when it comes to bookstore shopping. I can’t stop myself and sometimes purchase as many as 4-5 books a week. And that is in addition to the ones I receive from publishers. Now, my physical inability to read of these is apparent. And yet, I keep buying them. I happen to know that this is a common thing, so I wasn’t really worried about it until I started running out of shelf space (and spending money). So I did a little research and figured I would share the findings of said research with you.
There is apparently a word for people like me in Japanese. Tsundoku represents “buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves, floors or nightstands.” The word’s origins apparently date back all the way to the inception of modern Japan (1868-1912), and somehow, the English language still does not have a word for it. Pretty unimpressive if you ask me…
Is It All About The Experience of Shopping?
We are already aware of the many people that like to spend more than they should/can. But usually their choice of “poison” isn’t the next literary masterpiece. Does buying books cause the same addictive brain response that buying an expensive pair of shoes does? I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think that’s it. Yes, I do love to purchase books, but it’s not really the purchasing process that entices me to keep doing it. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that drives my constant need to “book-up,” but I do it anyways. Granted, I do read some of the books a buy. I try to read most of them, but there are those that I never get to and also the other ones that just don’t do it for me. So a good chunk does get left out of my reading pile. They just end up sitting on my shelf, getting the occasional dusting (perhaps not as frequent as they deserve, but it’s the intention that counts). So what gives?
My favorite bookshop in London is called Skoob Books (Get it…?) and it is the self-proclaimed ‘”temple for secondhand books.” Yes, it does sound a bit pretentious, but I don’t mind comparing it to a religious experience. These days books are not cheap and having the opportunity to buy them at a discounted price is always a welcome vacation for my wallet. But let’s be real, I go to this magical bookstore, and I NEVER leave with one book. I can honestly say that I have rarely left with two. Usually, you see that a book is 2-3 pounds and you somehow end up going to town on the shelves and you leave with way more books than humanly possible to read in a month. Why? Because I can never choose. And since they are discounted, I do not feel the absolute need to pick. The discounted price provides me with the excuse to not make myself decide. Sounds terrible, but it’s true. I have 5 editions of the Hobbit in English alone. Three more in Bulgarian. One in Italian. I don’t speak Italian, nor can I understand it. But it’s my favorite book, and the editions were beautiful, and I caved. Get my point?
Damn you, GoodReads! Browsing the GoodReads app is like giving an addict, a drug dealer’s number. One moment I’m just casually looking, the next moment I’m pressing One-Click-Purchase on Amazon. There is something very addictive about picking out a book and having it on your device of choice in 30 seconds. I personally really enjoy it. Even though I prefer actual physical copies of books, I also e-book hoard. I have not read at least 30% of my Kindle Library. And then there are the 25% that I have read more than 10 times. Yes, some of these books were part of Kindle Unlimited or were sent to me by publishers. But my Amazon-clicking-fingers are also to blame. I’m actually pretty embarrassed, looking at some books that I have yet to go through. Too many books, not enough time. And making the process instantaneous (and e-books are cheaper) only makes it easier to over-purchase. And yes, e-books do not take up room on your shelves, but they are still the embodiment of a person’s hours and hours of hard work.
The Anticipated Read
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas comes out in a little over a month. I am already planning on going to Waterstones and buying it THE DAY it comes out. Preferably in the morning, but I still have to attend work, so we’ll see. Believe it or not, a book release does not qualify as a holiday (I think it absolutely should). Then there’s also Into The Water by Paula Hawkins and My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella. I’ve loved the works of all these authors, and I knew that they will be releasing a new book within the next year. I have already made up my mind and decided that I must own and devour each and every one of them. And I will buy them immediately. Some of them I have already pre-ordered, and I know that I will try to read them all. But sadly, that does not always work out. I have book moods, similarly to most people. But if I start a book and I’m not into it, it’s really hard for me to then pick it up again even as my mood shifts. I know it sounds strange and it does not mean that said book is not good. I have left many good books because of this, and it’s terrible. So I might pick the book up and be excited, and it just isn’t the right time for it. But a good chunk of these books never see a better time and are left on the shelf for all eternity.
You CANNOT Throw A Book Out!
Seriously, though, you really can’t throw out a book. Sell, donate or gift but never throw out. I have a very hard time giving books away. And it’s a significant contributing factor to the piles and piles of reading material that I have amassed. “I will read this, it’s a good book.”, “I might be in the mood for it and want to read it one day.”,” I haven’t read this yet.”, “I’ve read this so many times. I love that book!” Sound familiar? Keeping a ton of books, knowing that some of them will never spark your interest is a good way to ensure that you can never reach any light switch in your house ever again. There will be books EVERYWHERE. I am trying to sort through my books now and perhaps donate a significant chunk of them. It hurts, but it has to be done!