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!
P.S. You can find Confessions of a Bibliophile #1 on my Instagram account.