On the Buying of Books

northanger abbeyI few months ago I read Val McDermid’s retelling of Northanger Abbey. Have you every read it? It purports to be a modern-day retelling of the Jane Austen’s gothic novel, but instead, at times it feels very stuck in the 1800s. I did love that McDermid made Cat fixated on the idea that the Tilneys might be vampires. That was a nice update since vampires were so “in” during the early 2000s. Other than that, my main complaint about this book is that it just doesn’t feel fresh. It honestly drug a little in the middle. Since that’s my opinion of Jane Austen sometimes, that’s probably not as harsh a criticism towards this book as it might otherwise be.

Anyway, one of the things that the characters in the book are doing is constantly buying books as they are interested in this one series of gothic novels (And I wish it were a real series because I’d read it, but it’s completely fictional). At one point during the book, one of the characters even says,

I’ve never begrudged a penny spent on books. A book is the means by which a man can better himself.

I find that I’ve had that attitude for much of my life.  In fact, I have spent so much time acquiring books that this has become it’s own bad (and expensive) habit. I find myself weighed down by the 100s of books on my physical shelves (and the only God knows how many on my Kindle). I have so much guilt for wasted money and weighed down by not being able to read fast enough to keep my books from increasing exponentially.

It feels better to get that off my chest in a more public way. I don’t think I could ever put my book purchases down to zero, but I plan to just buy my Book of the Month books, and an occasional professional book. In October, I have gorged and bought large stacks of physical books. In fact, that spending has been out of hand since the pandemic started. Oh, at least 20 physical books, and more like 30 Kindle books.  Since I’m only reading about 10-15 books a month, that’s like 4-5 months worth of reading acquired in 20 days. Oops!!

So, I’m going to try and start reading my shelves, and in November, I’m going to start posting a monthly accountability post where I keep track of my monthly purchases and how much progress I’m making reading off my shelves. Look for that!

So, how many books do you buy a month? Does 50 sound completely reasonable to you?

Because it seemed reasonable at the time, but now, I realize it was completely overdone and gluttonous for me. I’m totally begrudging buying books and then not reading them. Hopefully, by begrudging new purchases and reading what I own, I can actually grow more as a person and get some margin in my life.

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