Of all the challenges I have set myself this year that one I am finding the hardest to stick to is the book embargo. It actually really makes me sad – which helps me to understand how others feel when they can’t buy anything new. Not buying new things is fun to me. I’d much rather the thrill of the hunt for something second hand than the ease of popping into Target and buying it new.
I am finding it really difficult not to look at second hand books. At the op shop I can’t stop myself from scouring the shelves, sometimes for up to half an hour. A part of me hopes I won’t find anything I want and the other part is kind of breathless at the thought that I might find something special, or a book from my lists.
Since I forced myself to stop buying books I have read about six books from my ‘to read’ shelves. I have added many more. I have only technically bought three books for myself – two with the vouchers I spoke about very early on and the other last week at the market. It was a really pretty version of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, which is on the Radcliffe list. I couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t even feel guilty.
The rest of the books have been rescued from Mum’s discards or borrowed from my parents’ shelves.
I am watching about 15 books on eBay (I have finally learnt where the capital goes in eBay…). When I’m buying a second hand book there is always the chance I’ll find a really great edition with an awesome cover.
Every now and again I’ll find a book from my lists on eBay in an awesome edition and I’ll add it to my watch list. They are there every time I log on to eBay – taunting me. I just know that one of these days I’m going to snap and buy them all.
When I first discovered The Book Depository I went nuts. I bought $400 worth of books in one sitting. My income was much more disposable then and BP went halves with me as a birthday present, but it was still incredibly extravagant. For that $400 I got about 30 books. I still look at it as one of my best ever purchases. Ever. Of those books I have read about half and the other half are still on my ‘to read’ shelves. I play a game with them – we wrapped them individually on arrival. I know the titles of all the books I have in there, but I don’t know which is which. Once I have finished reading a wrapped book I can unwrap the next one. Choosing by shape and size alone is exciting – I never really know what I’m going to get.
Every book contains a whole world. When reading that world blooms in my imagination and sometimes stays there, changing me forever. I just can’t explain how exciting it feels to me looking at all the books I haven’t yet read. I don’t know if I will be able to uphold the book embargo, but I’ll try. I really will.