Friday, September 07, 2007

More Evidence of A Serious Reading Habit--Or More Aptly Put, A Serious Book Habit

Well, I managed to get all the "read" shelves back in proper order. For the last nine months I have been stacking all the books I finished right on top of the shelved books and figured this was a great time to put them in their proper places. Meanwhile, I also did a lot of weeding. As much as I could stomach for the time being. There's plenty more weeding I could do on those shelves, but for now, I did the best I could without bringing on possible separation anxiety. My husband went through the unwanted books to make sure I wasn't getting rid of anything he wants to keep around. Now to decide what to do with them.

I've pretty much decided that the mass paperbacks will go the local used bookstore. The hardbacks and the trades I'm not so sure about. Maybe leave some of them in the breakroom at the office with BookCrossing stickers inside?

Here is why I am really telling you all of this. One of the books I really don't want is an Advanced Reader's Edition. The book wasn't all that wonderful, but it had its good points. The problem is that whatever typefont that was used failed miserably when it came to printing out any words that were meant to be italicized. That includes book names (one of the main characters loved to read) and the occasional Chinese word thrown in (the book is set in China). It was very distracting. Anyway, what to do with this book? I can't sell it, obviously (not only is it prohibited to sell an ARE I received from the publisher, but who would want an ARE with missing words?) and giving it away probably would be impossible under the circumstances. Do I toss the book? Leave it somewhere and pretend I had nothing to do with it? Or just keep it and go through this again when I am ready to weed out more books?

While a good number of the books I wouldn't mind rereading someday (I mean, there could be a major bookstore/library disaster after all my TBR books are read 10 or so years from now, and I'll desperately need something to read when there as be no other way to access books . . .), there are quite a few I know I will most likely never pick up again. Why keep those around? Sure, some are my husband's books and he'd kill me if I ever sent those to new homes. (An aside: my weeding of out books has inspired him as well and he is now thinking which of his books he might not be so adverse to parting with. I had to hold back a cringe when he mentioned one author in particular because what if I want to read those books one day?! You see the dilemma.) Anyhow, the age old question arises its ugly head: Why buy only to read once and possibly give away? Why, indeed.

Some of you, especially my readers who are faithful library users, are nodding and thinking, "Finally!" I must warn you not to get excited. I go through this phase now and then, and I have yet to change my ways. Perhaps this time I am making progress because I actually weeded out a decent number of books to give away. Of course, I haven't yet given them away (I'd better hurry before I lose my nerve!), and so I am not sure my efforts really count at this point.

I can rationalize my behavior right and left. It's fun to be everyone else's library. And isn't supporting authors and the book industry by buying books a worthy cause? There's also the fact that I love being surrounded by books. I can't abide an empty bookshelf and it's just not "normal" for a bookshelf not to be overflowing. Not in my house. How could I call myself a booklover otherwise? And what of my overwhelming TBR collection which is hidden away in its very own room? I have an entire list of reasons why I buy rather than borrow, one of them being the flimsy "I cannot help myself" excuse.

Ho hum.

Today begins the reorganization of my TBR collection, adding in the new additions and, dare I say it knowing my husband is reading this and cringing at all the money I spent for nothing, weeding out the books I am no longer interested in reading. Which begs the question, why am I so quick to scoop up a book that was recommended to me when I see it in the store? Why not wait a little, let it linger on my wishlist, revisit the idea of reading the book, and then make a decision after the excitement and eagerness have passed? That seems only wise.

Oh, and while I'm rambling on like a crazy person, how is it that my husband can put a book on his Christmas list in February and have no problem waiting until December to get it?

Off to the bookstore to pick up a book or two for my husband. Well, maybe for me too, but they're mostly for him. Really.


  1. What a coincidence. Today hubby is sorting all his junk from the bedroom that he wants to A - get rid of or B - sell at our apartment building end-of-summer sale being held tomorrow. I have 5 or 6 boxes of books which I will be TRYING to sell. I really need to get rid of these books.

    I plan on giving any unsold hardback books to the local library. (hardbacks last longer). Not sure what to do with the paperbacks.

    So if anyone in Toronto wants some really really cheap books, please email me & I will give you the address & direction.

  2. I love hearing about others' book stresses. I go through the very same thing! I've joined paperback swap, but I haven't listed very many books, because I can't stand the thought of parting with them. And today I almost went to a bookstore, but I had to totally tell myself over and over, "YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY ANYMORE BOOKS RIGHT NOW!" Yes, we are all crazy!

  3. If we lived closer, we could go through each others books, Historia. :-)

    Suey - Haha It is nice to know I'm not alone. I've considered joining PBS, but it would just encourage me to bring in more books (which I really am trying to stop) and I can't get to the post office but once every other week. I'm not sure how understanding someone waiting for a book would be with me under that circumstance. :-( PBS really sounds like a great way to go though.

  4. I'm over here just nodding my head in absolute recognition of every point you made! My husband is a reader too and our book collection is quite intimidating though I've had to deal with separation anxiety and weed anyway. And that ARE book? Dare I say it? Toss it in the trash. Yes, this from a librarian.

  5. I know all the logic behind borrowing from the library rather than buying but it still doesn't stop me from buying. I like having as much time as I want to read it without being pressured by due dates. And being surrounded by books is always a nice feeling. :-)

  6. I am going through a cleaning out phase and getting rid of a lot of stuff. I confess the books are way down on my list of priorities to weed through. Anyhoo-- I have an unrelated question. . . Does Library Thing charge for their services after you get over a certain number of entries??? I had started a Library Thing, then I had heard they charge, so I switched to Good Reads. I figure YOU must know. The two people who told me this heard it from someone else. . . :)

  7. Terri - That's probably what I'll end up doing with the ARE book. I think I just needed to hear someone else say it too. Thank you giving me permission. :-)

    Debi - Yes, that's definitely one of my reasons for buying too. Because I have so many, I feel guilty borrowing as it is because then I'd have to bump by books for the library books.

    KW - It must be that time of year--a little pre-fall cleaning. And in answer to your question about Library Thing, yes, there is a charge if you want to enter more than 200 books. It's a fairly reasonable fee for the lifetime membership fee though--at least I think so. For a year, it is $10, but the lifetime membership is a one time fee of $25.

    I recently discovered Good Reads and joined up, but I really don't want to have to enter my books again. Once was plenty! LOL Besides, I'm happy with Library Thing.

  8. If I may offer an alternate view of what to do with the ARE? Don't pitch; offer it to a library for their book sale or to a hospital for their patient library. Granted you might be driven mad by the problems you saw with it, but another person may be grateful for the diversion that the book represents. For that matter, see if the book can be included in a shipment to someone overseas. Books become precious ways of escape in a variety of situations.

  9. I would've found the missing words in the ARE so frustrating! I'd still have a hard time throwing it away though. :P
    Good luck letting go of the books you've weeded.

  10. Jill - Thanks for the tips. I'm a little hesitant to offer it for a library book sale when it says all over the cover that the book isn't for sale. Do they accept them that way? I just hate for someone to get frustrated while reading the book because of all the missing words. It's pretty obvious. I'll still look into it though just in case.

    Tanabata - It was frustrating, especially since there were so many missing words. And thanks! I need all the luck I can get! Haha

  11. Just the other day I did that for the first time. I went through my books seeing which ones I wouldn't mind parting with. I ended up joining BookMooch and adding almost 50 books to my inventory.

    It's funny, I wouldn't consider buying the DVD of a movie I've never seen just to watch it, or buying a CD by a band I've never heard before. But I have no problems whatsoever buying a book by an author I'm not familiar with and that I have no idea if I'll want to read more than once. There's no logical explanation for this, I know. Let's take comfort in the fact that we are supporting authors.

  12. As much as I love the library, there really is nothing like a book or several hundred of one's own. An owned book is there whenever you feel like reading it; you don't have to wait for a copy to become available. And having been around overflowing bookshelves all my life, a house would feel empty and unfinished without a good supply of books. I rationalise, too; I buy nearly all my books from the Lifeline Bookfest, so I only spend about a dollar a book and provide a good home for those five dozen-odd unwanted volumes. Plus all the money goes to charity so really it would be quite selfish of me not to - er, donate, wouldn't it? :-)

  13. I recently took all my ARCs to Half Price books: ones I had read and loved (MIddlesex and Post Birthday World) ones I intended to read (Fortress of Solitude) and ones I probably wouldn't (some Lois Bujold books). I need to get them from the library so I can read properly edited and typeset books without buying them. THen if I love them, I can buy them in TPB when I'm ready to re-read. Ah, isn't it pretty to think I'll do this in practice, not just in theory?

    My books are in chaos. My 18mo pulls the bottom shelf books off, and, in a diaperless moment, peed on them. Poor Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. It didn't deserve that.

  14. I wonder if bookmooch could be a solution? With so many books to give away, you'd have a big inventory and be able to mooch right away. And I never mind giving away a book after one reading if I'm giving it to bookmooch and got it from bookmooch.

  15. I just loved this post. I suffer with the same things, though I do PBS now and it feels good to get rid of stuff I didn't like or don't want and get great books that I do want. I also have books I've bought in the past and now doubt I'll ever read but don't want to part with. I tend to purchase more nonfiction these days since I do like to own those, and tend to buy fiction when it is deeply discounted.

  16. Nymeth - I am a lot more liberal when it comes to buying books by authors I have never read before, sometimes movies, but never when it comes to music. Funny that. :-)

    CoversGirl - Or thousands as the case may be. LOL Yeah, owning your own books has its advantages, that's for sure. You have a good source for buying books too and that definitely counts for something. :-)

    Girl Detective - LOL I imagine having young children around can cause chaos at times. :-) At least you'll have a story to embarrass your child with. Haha

    I can't bring myself to sell the ARE's since it's technically not legal for me to do so. I know a lot of people who do it--and my husband's even bought one or two on E-Bay that way. I'd feel more comfortable donating them or giving them away.

    Dewey - I've thought about Bookmooch and PBS, but not only do I want to curtail my book intake since I already have plenty here to read, I also can't make it to the post office more than once every other week. From what I've heard, people aren't always understanding when their requested book can't be sent right away. It's definitely a great resource though. I wish it was more practical for me.

  17. I packed up boxes of books to sell to the used book store about 8 months ago. I haven't had the heart to take them there yet. LOL. You never know about that disaster that could happen;-)

  18. Did you let the publisher know about the problem? I bet you weren't the only one annoyed (it would make me crazy).

    So far I've given my ARCs to my Mom :)

    I've seen some bloggers give their ARCs to visitors but that could get $$$.

  19. Kristy - That's going to be me, isn't it? LOL

    Chris - I did inform the publisher. I also discovered that I wasn't the only one who found it distracting when reading the ARE.

    Yeah, my mom's gotten quite a few of mine in the past too. Some I know she won't be interested in, but the ones I think she might like, I give her. She always gives them back though. LOL

  20. Tara - I am glad I am not the only one who suffers from this type of problem. LOL

  21. My pile is getting huge, no matter if it's 'read' books or TBR books. I just can't stop buying them, even though I have tons of them unread. My coworker once teased me that I'm like collecting books, not buying them for reading, LOL!

    Sometimes, I wish our place is bigger so I can have a room just for the books, like having a small library but it's not like I'd have this dream comes true. *sigh* And for the books that I didn't fully enjoyed, there are times that I feel like giving or throwing them away, but then I didn't do so because I feel they belong part of the pile regardless the lack of space. Such a dilemma!

  22. I try to curtail my book buying, but suddenly I am possessed by some book buying fiend and I go crazy. My problem is book buying is something I do to cheer myself up, reward myself for accomplishing a goal, and just because.

    If money were no concern, I would have a second story put onto my house and it would be a library. :-)

  23. I'd never weed my books if I had unlimited space/funds. Alas, I have both. I recently pruned the bejeebies out of my library.

    I tend to buy books and then they sit on my shelves while I read all the library/challenge books.

  24. Carrie K - I don't know if I would or not. Maybe not--except for the books I didn't care for. :-)

  25. You're much more organized than I am! My books are a discrace right now!

  26. Oh, I don't know, Erin. I got about half way through the TBR books and decided it was too much trouble. LOL


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