Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Book Ban & General Bookie Ramblings

So, you’re probably going to find this a little strange… but I am abstaining from buying any more books. The long and the short of it is that I need to save the money and I need a hammer and chisel just to get a book out of my bookcase.

I’ve been saving money up for father’s day, on the 20th of this month to take my Dad out for a meal. We went to Brighton last month to meet my sister and had a meal in this fantastic sushi restaurant called Yo Sushi, only to find one has actually opened up nearby so that’s where I’m going to take him. It’s going to be expensive but I don’t care.

The space problem however, is the thorn in my toe. I have 417 books in my bookcase unread. I am a little obsessed with my TBR pile. One part of me thinks I really should try to have more read then unread, that I don’t need any more books. And the other half of me likes to cultivate this little TBR into a fully grown monster.

Is there anything better then walking into your room knowing you have all of these books yet to read? That’s a rhetorical question, of course there isn’t. Sometimes I look at them and feel my heart swell a little because it is exciting. There are hidden treasures amongst that 417, the hidden gems: books that are so magnificent, they transcend all my other books put together. Will I find a book I love more then I Capture the Castle or Shogun?

I haven’t bought a book in… three weeks. This is probably a first for me in a long time. For months I was having a slow trickle of books seep into my bookshelf, mostly from charities and second hand hops. Then I discovered The Book Depository and developed Random Clicking Disease (hearby known as RCD) where I went around clicking on “Buy” and then “Proceed”.  Then every few days a week, for a whole month I was receiving glorious little white packages through my letter box. 

I have also developed a slight taste for certain types of books. I’m British, but I love books that come from the USA they are much nicer to feel, to touch and to smell. For example, I love Modern Library paperbacks which are available here but we don’t have a very big selection. Now thanks to Book Depository I find it much easier to buy the edition I want.

My copy of Any Human Heart is the “Vintage International” edition from the USA. 

anyhumanheart any-human-heart

(Left hand side is the American edition I have, right side the British)

Which do you prefer? Personally I think the cover of the American edition is much more suitable to the story then the British one which doesn’t give me a feel of the book at all. The protagonist Logan is a writer who often wrote articles for newspapers and magazines – and took a great interest in the art world. (Look closely and you’ll see that not only is the American edition in the style of an oil paining, but is also on an easel). Whereas the English version… what does that tell you apart from the time setting and that lots of people are in a rush crossing the road with umbrella's?

Anyway, I see this blog post is getting massively derailed, by myself of course. I’m sorry, I cannot help it when I start musing over books I just tend to get a bit carried away.

My 417 books I think have addled my brain a bit. My point was actually that my book obsession, that has funded my 417 full bookcase has actually reached new levels, in that I’m now purposefully hunting down books by their edition and how soft and beautiful their pages are.

Surely, a book is a book right? It is not as if I am buying myself a hardback as I only tend to buy paperbacks. The fact is, and I admit it myself: I’m obsessed.
I love books from Vintage with their red spines and prefer Oxford World Classics with their white spines over Penguin Classics black. 

As I was saying, my self-induced book ban – it’s difficult. I find myself having nightmares that I keep getting the wrong books through the post and not the ones I wanted. Or I dream I will never find another book ever again – they’ve all disappeared or something along that vein. 

So this means no In My Mailbox memes from The Story Siren for me. My wish list, however, is currently growing and growing and growing. I just hope that when I finally do cave in (not that I will of course) I don’t have a sudden attack of RCD and buy everything on my Book Depository wish list. 

It doesn’t help that I keep finding books I haven’t included in my catalogue over at Goodreads and in my handy Excel spreadsheet (more about that obsession later). So of course that number never seems to go down it just goes up and up and up and I’m not even buying any books! It’s chronic.

So will I be able to last until the 20th without buying a new book? Well I’d watch this space…


  1. There's always the library! I have one bookcase dedicated to the TBR theme, and another that is a mix of favorites and TBR. Then there are the books I want to reread! I have tried to stop buying books, but it never lasts too long. When necessary, however, I can browse my own bookshelves, where I find plenty of books I bought but never read.

  2. Fiona--I'm in the exact same place with my own bookshelf. There's definitely a 5% read to a 95% unread going on with me. I've made my goal this summer to get more of my own books read. I'm not so much worried about buying books--I do buy a good amount of books, but my biggest problem was the library trips where I'd come home with 6 or 7 books. Now, I've restricted myself to 1 (I'm trying to lower my GR TBR list) and I'm making sure that I'm reading more of my own.

    Sorry for the rambling, just thought I'd let you know you're not alone!

  3. Bibliophiliac - I already have an unread stack of library books that are mushrooming out all over the place. Sometimes I feel like I'm being slowly hemmed in by books. You know those Egyptian tombs where the walls slowly close in on you and crush you to death that's how I feel sometimes.

    I have a shelf with my read books in it, but my TBR books have infiltrated that as well. I've been quite good at giving away the books I've read and don't want to keep. I did try to order it into genres, but every time I had to take a whole load out (my bookcase has 3 layers per shelf) I couldn't always be bothered to put them back in the right order, so it turned into a bit of a pickle. And why is it that when you take a book out of your bookcase, it never goes back in the same way?

    Jess, my goal this summer is to try and get the TBR below the 400 mark and free up some space in the bookcase. It's getting ridiculous.

  4. Wow, 417 unread books. It might take a lifetime to finish them all if you kept buying books! Hehe!

    My resolution this year is to reduce my Mount TBR too and not to buy any new books. So far so good. The only books I bought were for my English classes so they were an exception. Other than that, I got my books from publishers for reviews and also from giveaways I won.

    Though I still love going to Borders and other local bookstores to browse through the books! Oh yeah, the only other way to keep me from buying books is because I'm broke. :D That's a motivation factor!

  5. Ha - I don't think it sounds strange at all! I've been on a ban since last year, though I didn't exactly always stick to it firmly :P I'm trying to absolutely NOT acquire books between now and September, though, because when I move for library school I'm going to leave my current TBR behind. It's only at 140 something books, so I guess it could be worse, but still. So many books I'm dying to read and yet don't because of all those *other* books.

    May we both remain strong!

  6. I totally don't blame you for the ban! I try this all the time. For me, I try not to allow myself new books without getting rid of old ones, and generally my 'new' ones are from book swapping site. Otherwise this habit is just to expensive! So many books to read, so little time. Such a fun problem to have, huh?

  7. Oh man, Book Depository KILLED my bank account. But it's just so *nice getting parcels in the mail...

  8. Oh dear...the book depository , its all my fault!!!. (its good though!)

  9. Jon, Book Depository is all your fault. As if I needed any other addictions.

    Amused, I used to get most of mine from charity shops and the like...

    I keep getting rid of stacks of books too. I don't actually hold on to books obsessively any more. Unless I love them then they go. I need to get through some tomes which'll free up a lot of space.



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