For those of you who might be new to Savidge Reads, or those of you who might have forgotten (possibly because actually I didn’t mention it that much) for the whole of 2010 I put myself on a book buying ban. Why? Well you would be right in wondering why as surely someone who loves books as much as I do shouldn’t be curbing their addiction. Yet with a really wonderful charity book shop down the road (which you have no idea how much I now miss) and more and more books coming in from publishers I felt that my TBR was going out of control and some books I had always meant to read were missing out. So how did I manage…?
Well if I am honest I actually managed really rather well I think. I will happily admit that the initial month or two, especially when January saw some marvellous book sales unlike this year, things were a little bit tough, March brought my birthday and saw a fresh stockpile of some I wanted but after that it really seemed to be quite easy. Though I did have to avoid book shops at all costs for about 5 months, seriously if I saw one I quite clearly veered away. Book group also proved trying as I couldn’t always get one (so thanks to a few members and a few publishers for there help, credit where credit is due) but there were some great benefits.
The biggest benefit was rediscovering the joys of the library. I don’t know why, especially as I used it so much as a child, in the last few years or so I had been a little snobby about the library. That is all officially blown out of the water now. Where could I go when I fancied an old classic? Where could I turn to if a few books on other blogs had really tickled my fancy and I was trying not to beg publishers? Where could I peruse the shelves and pick up books at random and pop them back spending a good hour lost in the endless possibilities of books? The library of course! In fact if it wasn’t for the last year I don’t think I would have been rushing to join my local one when I moved up north, me and the library are now the firmest of friends.
Another great thing it has taught me is that I need to read much more by whim and let my mind lead me rather than how cheap a book is in the charity shop, how lovely a new edition looks, how I kind of want that third book in the 3 for 2 and then I don’t read it. I could go on and on. It also taught me that books you don’t own have an impulse about them, this should be obvious I know, I would see/read about a book I didn’t have and desperately want it and then just go and buy it. Last year I learnt that there is an initial itch to read it as soon as you have read about it, however if you leave it a few days/weeks later you forget you really wanted it.
So when I finally allowed myself to wander around Waterstones and some second hand shops in town did I rush and buy everything I saw? Nope, not at all in fact I was most restrained. I had two books I’ve wanted for about four months yet have not seen in the library (I know I could order one in but you might as well buy cheap off Amazon or in a shop for the prize the libraries charge to reserve), one impulse charity buy, and two books I had already read but were a bargain…
‘The Man in the High Castle’ by Philip K. Dick is rather a left field choice in some ways as I don’t think I like sci-fi (and just like ‘coming of age tales’ I am often proved this isn’t the case) but I have been meaning to read his work for quite some time and this sounds like the most accessible for me, the idea of a world where the Nazi’s won the war petrifies me. ‘The Edwardians’ by Vita Sackville-West was a bargain in a lovely Virago edition, I know nothing about this it just sounds rather upper class society shenanigans which I quite fancy since ‘Downtown Abbey’. Edith Wharton’s ‘The House of Mirth’ is a classic I’ve been hankering to read for a while, I like a good femme fatale who might just fall from the heights she climbs. ‘Kafka on the Shore’ is a Murakami book that I lent out… and never got back and remains my favourite of his I have read so far, and Sophie Hannah’s ‘The Other Half Lives’ I have in hardback but its so blinking heavy I saw this for 50p and decision made. Is that a bit OCD, maybe that’s another post for the future?
So would I do it again, yeah – I think I would. I admit I am lucky as I got parcels from readers, publishers, family and friends but I did so much better than I thought I could, and didn’t break the book buying ban once. Me and my local library are now in love and its made me change my book binge habits for good I think!