A year ago today, my husband joked that I couldn’t possibly stop myself from buying books. I told him I could… if I really wanted to. Our light-hearted argument ended in a bet – that I would refrain from buying books for an entire year. I had a point to prove. I was totally in control of my penchant for buying more books than I could read… wasn’t I?
I started out strong on my marathon of willpower and didn’t buy a single book for four months. I started using the library (what a novel idea!), borrowed books from friends and took books from my own shelves that I’d been meaning to read for a long time. Friends and family sent me books for my birthday in March and this also helped.
Then one morning in May, I drove to an unfamiliar library (to write) and walked straight into a book sale! I felt betrayed; libraries weren’t supposed to sell books!
I couldn’t help myself – I browsed. I thought, ‘I won’t buy anything, I’ll just have a quick look.’ Uh oh. Don’t look at candies in the window, unless you’re prepared to buy them. I convinced myself that I’d never find these books, in such excellent condition (for only $1!) ever again.
My husband raised his eyebrows. I told him this book-buying splurge didn’t really count – I was sabotaged!
I wiped the slate clean and continued my marathon of willpower… until October, when I was sent an online book voucher. I couldn’t waste it, could I? So I ordered a novel and paid the difference. (Oh the rush of glee that flooded my dried up, bookish soul when the parcel arrived a week later!)
Then I received another book voucher. Totally not my fault. Again, I couldn’t waste it, could I? So I grabbed two books from the shop shelves and paid the difference. (Oh how I missed this book buying therapy!)
Then several friends launched debut books and I had to support them by ordering a copy, didn’t I? It would have been unkind not to. And anyway, I was well into the spirit of spending in the lead up to Christmas and, well… it didn’t really matter that I bought a few books for myself, after such a long time without, did it?
Okay, so I think maybe my husband won the bet but for a bibliophile, I think I did pretty darn well. One day soon my pride will heal. The point is that I learnt a lot.
I learnt I didn’t need to buy so many books all the time. And the savings were significant and useful.
I rediscovered the great well of books at the local library, which I’d somehow forgotten about (but now make use of once again).
I discovered that true book-loving friends are generous in their loaning of books.
I read many books that had been sitting on my ‘to be read’ pile for far too long and that felt mighty fine. (Who would’ve thought that I already had multiple shelves of unread stories under my very roof?)
The forced self-control to refrain from book buying was uncomfortable and difficult – I often argued with myself – but the end result was that I now have greater control over my book buying habit. Before, I couldn’t say no but now, I can.
Would I take on this challenge again? No thanks.
I’d love to hear about your book buying habits so feel free to share by commenting on this post.
Happy reading for 2018!