Monday, 26 January 2015

Stockpiling Books... Yes, I'm Guilty! by Savita Kalhan

Wycombe Library 1970

Ever since I was very young, I’ve loved books with a passion, though back then I couldn’t afford to buy them. Luckily there was a brilliant library that fed my needs (I’ve blogged about my wonderful library, Wycombe Library, here My Library and Me ).

The Cottage Bookshop in Penn

Later, when I was doing my A levels, I discovered the most amazing second hand bookshop in Penn, The Cottage Bookshop, (which I’ve blogged about here The Cottage Bookshop ) and bought my first books. I found a very old hardback copy of Our Mutual Friend in there once. I suspect the fact that it was the first proper book I owned had something to do with why I loved studying it for A Level English.

I returned many times to that bookshop and to the library, until the day finally arrived when I could actually afford to buy full priced books. Then I went to live in the Middle East and had to take a ton of books with me as there was only one bookshop in the city where I lived, and it sold a ridiculously limited number of books.

So began the stockpiling.

My work room - in the summer!
It’s continued over the years. I had to buy new bookcases every year until they lined most of the walls downstairs, and then the walls upstairs. A friend once joked that she was sure the bookcases were propping up the house. That’s an indication of how bad the stockpiling had become.

My book alley
In 2013 we had major work done on the house. In the planning of the loft conversion, I cut the proposed bathroom in half and created a book alley. I designed the book shelves so that the available space would take as many books as possible, and, fortunately, they can take a lot! There are still lots of bookcases with lots of books dotted around the house, and my new work room at the bottom of the garden houses all the children’s books, teen/YA books, and research books.

So the stockpiling never stopped.

Kindle and ebooks helped a little bit, but not that much. Like many people I still like to have real books in my house. I got out of the habit of using the library when I was living abroad, but I do use it a lot now, so that helps as at least those books don’t need permanent shelf space in my house.

The problem is that I love buying books – even though I know I don’t have the time to read as many as I buy (which probably makes me a hoarder!). When I was on Twitter the other day, a book blogger tweeted about her plan to read 20 books and 20 ebooks before allowing herself to buy any more books. So that’s what I’m going to do. Yes, I do have that many that I haven’t read yet...

My #TBR20
Here’s the hashtag if you’re interested, and if you like, you can post a picture of your 20 books #TBR20. I won’t be putting a time limit on when I should read my twenty books by, although one of the bloggers doing the #TBR20 is planning to have them all read by Easter! The fact that I’ve banned myself from any book purchases until these are read will be enough of an incentive, if I need one.

There is one place you are allowed to go where you can read other books without having to buy them, where stockpiling books is their business, and if they don’t happen to have a copy of the book you want they even order it in for you. My library is my saviour and I have to admit that I’m there once a week, returning books and borrowing more books. So my #TBR20 may take a while to get through at this rate, but at least it’s curbing my stockpiling, if only temporarily.

I can’t be the only stockpiler out there, can I??



Sue Bursztynski said...

Sounds like a good idea. I really should take it up.

I'm donating quite a pile of review copies and others in perfect condition which I know I will never read again, though I lived them, to school libraries(I read mostly children's and YA) and anything not suited to those libraries will be put in the Rotary bin at my local library, where they take books to be sold for fundraising - but don't feel too bad about your hoard. Mine was a lifesaver when I was unemployed and couldn't buy. Yes, there was the library, but that doesn't always have what you want, while my book hoard was entirely composed of books I did want. I would add to the TBR20: "Give away 20 books to make space on the shelves."

Catherine said...

You're definitely not the only one. The 20 goal is a good one. I wonder which would be easier for me, reading 20 before buying, or losing 20 pounds?

Joan Lennon said...

Read 20 books, give away 20 books, lose 20 pounds - these are all admirable goals. I'd like to add, steal your writing shed. Maybe not so admirable but pretty understandable.

Savita Kalhan said...

Sue, yes I should also give away 20 books too. I have sorted through books to give away before, but I always end up keeping half of them back! I'll be tougher on myself...
Catherine, I know which is easier for me!
Joan, yes, they're all great goals - apart from the one that involves stealing! Although, I do understand the desire!

maryom said...

I'm even worse! We joined Freecycle/Freegle to give away old toys and keep an eye out for useful 'rubbish' like old windows for greenhouse panes BUT I discovered people giving books away. At first it was a single book, Nigella Express.... then a dozen or so craft books....then a stack of crime thrillers.....and four boxes of scifi! I have to stop! Most of these are still piled on the spare room floor, with no hope of a permanent home-shelf. So my aim for this year is to read as many as possible (20 will barely touch the pile) starting with the least promising which I'm more likely to pass back on to charity shops. Hopefully by Autumn I'll have things under control - or I'll be looking to build a book alley....

Savita Kalhan said...

Mary, Freecycle is SO dangerous for books. So are house clearances! I was given quite a few boxes of books, but only a read a few of the books in them. A charity box must be sorted out this week!