Book Buying Freeze
I've developed this habit. This book habit. I'll go to the store on a random Tuesday. From across the room, I'll spot a book that seems intriguing. Good-looking cover. Interesting blurb on the back. I pick it up and read the first couple of pages. It makes me laugh. We hit it off, me and this book. I invite it back to my place. We open a bottle of wine and snuggle up on the couch together. Things are going great. We're getting to know each other. Maybe I even tell my best friend about this book. How great it is and how much she'd love it. Then something happens. Usually about a quarter of the way through. You know what I'm talking about. The book I thought was going to be so great, The One even, suddenly isn't so interesting anymore. Maybe it's the way it takes forever to get to the point. Or maybe it's the way it uses too many overly descriptive words. Maybe it's just a character thing. Whatever the case may be, I know. I'm just not that into it anymore. It's not the book. No, really, the book's great. It's me. I'm just not in the right place for this book right now. I'm super busy and it wouldn't be fair to the book if we kept going. I don't want to mislead the book. The book should find someone else. Someone who can give it the attention it deserves. Me and the book break up.
Okay, let's come back to reality now, shall we? Truly though, this is something that I do. I buy a huge stack of books and only finish reading half of them. Even the ones I loved sit around and collect dust on my shelves. I know I should pass them along for someone else to enjoy, but for whatever reason it doesn't happen. I'm changing that. When I made my New Year's Resolutions, I decided to finish reading my personal library of books, and then get rid of them. I've been on a book buying freeze ever since.
I separated all my books into three categories: Keep/Sell/Read-Then-Sell. The 'Keep' books are basically all the books that have pictures in them: cookbooks, coffee table books, etc. The 'Sell' pile contains books that I either finished reading, or know I'll never finish reading. The 'Read-Then-Sell' are the books pictured. All of them I'm either halfway through, or haven't touched and want to at least attempt to finish reading. If I decide I want to give up on them, they'll go into the 'sell' pile right away and I'll move onto the next. If I read it and finish it, it will still eventually go into the 'sell' pile. I will not buy anymore books until this stack is sorted. This also applies to the half-read books I have on my Kindle.
Once this pile is all squared away, I'll begin buying books again, but with some rules:
1. I'm only buying physical books from used bookstores. First of all, they're cheaper. Second, as much as I love Amazon (and will still buy books on my Kindle), I want to support local businesses in my community. Third, I will forever love holding an actual book in my hand and can't bear the thought of only ever reading on my Kindle for the rest of my life.
2. Once I finish reading a physical book, I'll either give it to a friend or sell it back to the bookstore. I'm not a re-reader. I like to finish a book and then move on. No use in letting those books pile up on my shelf. Exceptions being books with photos. I hate reading cookbooks on my Kindle. I need the real thing. So I'm keeping my 'photo' book library, and probably adding to it eventually.
3. I will immediately get rid of (or stop reading if on my Kindle) any book I know I don't like. I used to beat myself up for this, but it's just silly. Why continue wasting my time on a book I don't love? Fly free little book!
4. One. Book. At. A. Time. I'm so bad about this. I start trying to read too many things at once. Some people can rotate books and read three or four, but I just can't do it. I need to stay in one story line at a time. No book multitasking for me...
I should also probably mention that I did not apply any of this to Joel's book collection. They're still sitting on the shelf. I did tell him I was going to sell most of my books and asked if he wanted to add to the pile before I take them to the store. He'll probably have to go with me and keep me from 'flirting' with all the books. ;)
Do you guys have a hard time buying books and not finishing them? Do you keep a running list of books to read? This one is mine. Have you read any of the books I have in my to-read stack? Some of you mentioned some great ones in the comments of yesterday's post. What are you reading right now?