I have an addiction. One I’ve had most of my life. Like most addictions, I wasn’t born with it; it developed over time, influenced by external experiences and factors. Although unrecognized at the time, my addiction took hold at the age of eleven. Almost every penny of my modest allowance was being spent on books. I wasn’t at the point where I was borrowing to feed my addiction; but only because they don’t issue credit cards to eleven year olds. Now many might say they also buy a lot of books, it doesn’t mean they have an addiction. Completely possible, but that’s not me. Just like a compulsion to drink, or gamble or play video games, I can’t stop buying books. It wasn’t really too much of a problem until the advent of the internet. Now my addiction can be fed with the click of a button. I finish a book, click a button and am reading the next book within seconds.
Convenient yes? Read a book, buy your next one. Sure, but for compulsive book buyers it poses quite a problem. I don’t just buy one book, I buy eight. I download cheapies and specials and those that look interesting. I spend time on Amazon and Goodreads checking out all their recommendations and adding to both my Kobo and my Kindle. And I still indulge occasionally in an afternoon at Indigo, adding to my physical library, which is housed on my main floor. I have tried getting books only from the library but I’m not good at waiting for what I want. I’ve tried going cold turkey, telling myself “you may not buy a book until you’ve read what you have” but really that’s just not feasible as long as Dan Brown and Joy Fielding are still writing.
The result. I now have more books than I could every hope to read. I have books I don’t even know I have and, more than once, I’ve purchased the same book twice. Two days ago I sat down to gather some hard stats. With an idea of what I might discover, I created a reading list of all the books in my library I have yet to read. So far I’ve only compiled the books from my electronic devices yet already the numbers are illustrating the stark reality of my addiction. I can only imagine what my list will look like once I add all the physical books from my library. And that only includes books I’m still interested in reading. I figure, at my current reading speed, it will take me five years to read the entire list.
So, a New Year’s resolution. I know I will not be able to stop buying books completely, but I can stop buying everything that looks interesting. I can stop buying a book because I like the size or cover, or because it will look good on my shelf. I can stop buying book 3 of a series if I have yet to start book 2. I can stop looking at the recommendations on Amazon and Goodreads. (Well, that last one might be pushing it, but it’s worth a try). And I can keep the prioritized list visible, working my way through it and crossing off as I go. I love crossing things off a list.
I know that new must-haves will come out, and I will buy them, but if I can redefine what “must-have” means I may stand a chance.
If only I didn’t have to work. It takes up so much reading time!!