The other day I posted a picture on Instagram with a bit about how it had led me to a revolutionary resolution. Here are the details of said revolution. It is not a book buying ban but a new way of looking at my books.
As I mentioned on Instagram, having filled this jar to the top and still having over ten shelves of adult fiction and two or three of kids fiction to add to it made me really stop and think about the amount of books I have. I said something to Rhys along the lines of 'if someone had 300 pies they'd not eaten everyone would think that was obscene and disgusting' and he looked at me like I was crazy. The (badly made) point is that while books obviously don't have the same kind of potential for going bad that pies do, I don't know what I'm stockpiling them for. Yes, I'm always going to want to read more books; it's in the nature of being a reader and I wouldn't want to change that. I love discovering new titles and getting excited about them. I love the smell of new books (and old books, come to think of it) and I really love the thrill of coming home laden down with bags of books, but when I'm asked what the point of owning so many books that I couldn't read them in a year, or probably even two even if all I did was read I don't really have an answer.
For years my answer has been 'well what if I only had a few books and finished one and didn't feel like reading any of the ones I had? I'm providing for that eventuality.' Obviously the answer to this is that I go to the library or borrow a book from a friend, but instead I've been using it as an excuse to buy more and more books. This is fine and I'm absolutely not judging people for acquiring large numbers of books, but in the spirit of my One Little Word project this year I'm trying to be more grateful for the things that I already have and think less about things that I might acquire at some point in the future. I'm also attempting to express my gratitude by not buying things unnecessarily and while that doesn't always work, here is a place where I can at least try.
Now at this point I know the sceptical among you (or just the long time readers of this blog) are remembering all the other times I've put myself on book buying bans, or pledged to cut back but I'm determined that this is going to be different. Firstly, I'm not viewing it as a ban because I know that as soon as I tell myself I can't do something, that's all I want to do, so instead I'm not thinking about not being able to buy books but focusing on all the amazing books I already own that I'm excited to read, and secondly I'm motivating myself extra by putting a charitable slant on it. Every time I finish a book that I don't love so much I must keep it and pass it on to everyone I know immediately, I will put it up for auction on eBay, starting at 20p (plus postage). ALL of the money from any books I sell there will go to Beanstalk, an awesome charity which helps kids to be better at reading, plus I will donate £1 to them for every book I sell in this way. Over the course of the year I may also do extra book related fundraising for them (24 hour readathon, some kind of sponsored Banned Books Week event. I don't know), and obviously if you feel like helping to spur me on with my insane resolution you can just donate through my JustGiving page at any time and make me feel like my not buying books is making a difference to someone!
I'm planning to do this until the end of 2015 and because I know I have no staying power I've decided to introduce a forfeit. For every time I buy books, I have to donate £25 to the charity. This should be a good deterrent because I have no extra money! Hold me to this, blogging friends. I'm determined!
crossing fingers for you! I like the penalty angle and should join you but have no desire to actually see how many books I own that I haven't read yet. . . and yes, this means that I'm going to start working it out.ReplyDelete
Haha I'm sorry for starting that ball rolling! I made it a point never to check until I did and that led us here... silly TBR jar making me check!Delete
I few years back I had to curb my book buying frenzy. My hubby, who very dear, told me it was getting out of control. He asked me to count the number of books I had in the house. Then he asked me how many books I read in a year. We divided it up and I had over 10 years of reading in the house. By the way, I read over 100 books a year. Well, it was a little disconcerting. I've managed to curb that "I want every book that I read about that I might read ever" and I did a big book purge when we moved to a new house. I love the reading community and knowing about lots and lots of books, but sometimes, for me, it can get out of hand.ReplyDelete
So, good luck to you. I'm rooting for you and think of how many lovely books you already have just waiting patiently for you to pick them up. And I'll check out your "giving" page and your charity. :-)
Wow that's a lot of books! Although I still haven't actually counted mine, I'm just guessing at the moment really. I'm a bit scared to find out the actual number! Thanks for the support!Delete
I think putting the charitable/financial slant on it is a great way to stick to your guns. I will be following your efforts with fascination!ReplyDelete
Thanks! I thought the forfeit in particular would really help me, otherwise I know I'll just be like 'oh, but it's this book' or 'this author so I have to buy it!' all the time! Thanks for the support!Delete
What a great way to angle this sort of personal challenge! I just moved house and we donated a lot of our books to charity because I hated the idea of packing and moving (ugh, my back!) books that I haven't read and realistically know I won't or have read and didn't really love. I still have far too many unread books on my shelves, but I think scaling it back actually helped back it feel a lot more manageable.ReplyDelete
Good luck, and congrats on coming up with such a charitable solution!
Thanks Kayleigh! I just wanted to find a different way to motivate myself, I've tried so many times before and it's not worked I thought this angle might make me stick with it. We'll see!Delete
Moving books is the WORST. We just did it and there were more boxes of books than anything else and just. so. heavy. Urgh. I'm hoping the TBR jar once finished will make all my hundreds of unread books feel more accessible.
That is such a good idea, Bex. I think I'll join you because I'm so good at cheating my own book-buying rules. So for every book I claim "doesn't count" because it's too small, or because it's a coffee-table book or a cookbook, I'll donate the cost of the book to your justgiving page. (I think I already owe about £15. I will donate as soon as I get paid.)ReplyDelete
Oh that's amazing thanks Katie! Sp so glad to have some support :-pReplyDelete
I think book buying bans are tough because anytime you deprive yourself of things you love so much, you tend to go over the top once the ban is over! I like your idea though, of passing a book along! That's what reading is all about anyway, and books are meant to be enjoyed by as many readers as possible.ReplyDelete
This sounds like a great idea and I think it's really wonderful of you to use charitable donations as a motivation. Good luck with your project!ReplyDelete