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When Book Buying Turns into a Book Binge

When Book Buying Turns into a Book Binge post image

One of the perils of living in a town without a bookstore is that I have to constantly suppress my urge to buy more books. I’ve been holding the book-acquiring demons in check by checking out new books from the library almost constantly, but library books can only hold back the book buying for so long. I’m only human.

A couple weeks ago, after a particularly busy week and frustrating Friday, I lost my battle with self-restraint and went on two (two!) only book buying binges, one from Powell’s and one from Barnes and Noble. After anxiously waiting for my pretties to arrive, the second package finally landed on my doorstep Monday. The books!

First, the Barnes and Noble purchases:

Methland by Nick Reding — Cass (Bonjour Cass!) was talking this one up on Facebook, and I couldn’t resist. Narrative nonfiction about the effects of meth on rural America between 2005 and 2007? How could I not read that one? It’s the first book I grabbed when I opened the package.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller — If you read my post over on Book Riot tomorrow, you’ll find out about I’ve been feeling like there’s a huge gap in my reading. A number of books in the pile, including this one, are part of my attempt to fill in the gaps.

Night Draws Near by Anthony Shadid — Anthony Shadid was a well-known foreign correspondent who recently passed away in Syria. I’ve never read his writing about the Middle East and wanted to have one of his books to try.

My second batch of books was from Powell’s. Before I talk about the books, I just wanted to give a shout-out to Powell’s excellent customer service. One of the books arrived in pretty bad condition (a number of these are used), and when I e-mailed to ask about an exchange they got back to me within a half hour and said they’d send one right away. It was great.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — This is another fill-in-the-gaps book. I did read this one in high school, but I don’t remember much about it. Plus, a season two episode of The Wire showed a prison book group reading this one, which made me want to read it too!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley — This is another book I’ve never read, I’m almost ashamed to admit. The edition I bought has a few critical essays at the back, which I am extra excited for.

Salt by Mark Kurlansky — This one has been on my radar forever, but I finally decided to buy it after putting it on a themed reading list I did for Book Riot a few weeks ago, all about books inspired by the grocery store. It looks so fun!

Griftopia by Matt Taibbi — Sarah (Citizen Reader) raves about Matt Taibbi all the time, but I’ve never read one of his books. Hopefully having it on my shelf will change that!

Personal Finance in Your 20s for Dummies and Life after College by Jenny Blake — I recently reached a personal savings goals (enough money to live for six months if I happened to lose my job), but not am not sure what to do in terms of saving/investing money. I bought both of these books because I think they’ll help me.

And finally, three books that arrived for review/from a giveaway that I am also super excited to read:

House of Stone by Anthony Shadid — I won this one in a Twitter giveaway by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I won it after I bought Night Draws Near, so now I have two great books to read. I’m excited, but also a little sad.

India Becoming by Akash Kapur — I mentioned this one in my March reading plans; it’s a review book from Riverhead that I’m looking forward to as well.

The Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin — I used to only accept nonfiction books for review consideration, but I’ve been opening that up a little bit recently for books that sound really great. The Reconstructionist, about a man who works as a forensic reconstructionist, sounded really interesting to me.

The boyfriend was not especially pleased when all of these books arrived in the house — I’m rapidly running out of bookshelf space and may need to appropriate more shelves around the apartment to make room. But me? I was over the moon. I haven’t wanted to do anything but read since the first package arrived, which is awesome.

When was the last time you went on a book buying binge? Any suggestions on which of my beautiful new books I should read next?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Diane@BibliophileBytheSea March 7, 2012, 6:02 am

    Sounds like you used amazing restraint over the last few months. You deserve a splurge. After all you could be doing something foolish with the money like buying $5.00 specialty coffees at Starbucks right?

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 7:54 pm

      Well, if my tiny town had a Starbucks, I could do that! Our only dedicated coffee shop has pretty limited hours, but I’ve been going in most Saturday mornings to write and have a fancy drink.

  • Anna March 7, 2012, 7:00 am

    Book buying binges are good for the soul! I go on one every year after Christmas because I’m always given a little bit of money by the people who know I love to shop for books and don’t do it too often. 😉

    I’d like to read your thoughts on Catch-22. That’s been on my to-read list forever!

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 7:56 pm

      I tend to buy books around Christmas too, whether or not I have the money from gifts 🙂 My sister and I like to go to bookstores together.

  • Amanda March 7, 2012, 7:38 am

    Catch-22 is one of my favorite books ever. I didn’t fully get it when I first read it in college, but I reread it a few years later, and have since read it another handful of times. I adore that book. It’s funny and tragic and rough to swallow at times, but I love it.

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 7:57 pm

      I really can’t wait to read that one. I’m honestly surprised I hadn’t read it before now… it just seems like one of those books I should have read. I think Jill and I are going to do a buddy read in May.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) March 7, 2012, 7:39 am

    Your boyfriend and my husband should form a support group!! I think you should read Catch-22 first – my son loved it but my husband didn’t. I’d love to know what you think of it.

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 7:57 pm

      Ha! They should! My books are seriously starting to take over. I need to clear off some shelf space before BEA or there are going to be problems.

  • Scott March 7, 2012, 8:21 am

    I’d also recommend Catch-22 first. I just read it recently (Spoiler free review: http://www.somesmart.com/2012/catch-22/) and absolutely loved it. I hate to say this before reading it again, but I can see it becoming one of my favorite books of all time. Word of warning, though, I found the book to work better when it could be read in long stretches, so if you don’t have time for that right now you may want to check out something else!

    The only other books here I’ve read are The Great Gatsby and Brave New World, both of which you can’t go wrong with.

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 7:59 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation about long stretches for reading. I haven’t had any of those lately, so it’s probably not a book to start just yet. I am looking forward to re-reading Gatsby with a different perspective than I had as a tenth grader.

  • Maphead March 7, 2012, 9:21 am

    I loved Salt! Can’t wait to read your review. Kurlansky’s 1968 is great too!
    Catch-22 has been sitting on my shelve for years. I soooooo need to read it!

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:00 pm

      I have this weird fascination with books that are the history of a single thing (especially when they have one-word titles). I’ve had Salt on my internal TBR ever since it came out.

  • Trisha March 7, 2012, 10:35 am

    Well, if you are going on a binge, you certainly chose some great books!

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:01 pm

      It is a good pile, isn’t it? I practically drooled when I was taking the picture. That’s not weird… 🙂

  • Kailana March 7, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Yeah, new books coming into my house don’t go over so well, either. I really needed a new bookshelf after Christmas and I do have one, but it was a compromise. It meant rearranging the house… I think it looks much nicer, but the guy doesn’t always agree. 🙂

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:02 pm

      We had to do some rearranging to to deal with the bookshelves and a new chair I recently bought. I don’t think the boyfriend is super happy about it, but as long as he’s not paying for the furniture he just has to suck it up… right?

  • Jeanne March 7, 2012, 7:50 pm

    Read The Great Gatsby before the movie comes out. I like how Hannah is looming over your book pile!

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:02 pm

      Definitely! When is that moving coming out anyway? I have no idea. Hannah does look sort of scary behind the books, doesn’t she?

  • softdrink March 7, 2012, 9:10 pm

    Catch-22 is on my list of books to read for the Classics Challenge. So holler if you want to do a buddy read!

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:02 pm


  • Jenny Blake March 8, 2012, 11:29 am

    Thank you so much for buying my book, Kim!! If you send me your address I’d be happy to mail you a bookmark 🙂

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:03 pm

      Of course. I’ve really enjoyed your blog since I found it, and I expect the book will also be great.

  • Sheila (Book Journey) March 8, 2012, 6:27 pm

    Love book buying and if I can find a sale…. look out! Two weeks until the Brainerd spring library sale….oh this usually means I but between 30 and 50 books. It is true. The books are 25 each. Hard cover 50 cents…. I go nuts.

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:03 pm

      Library sales are another weakness… I’ve been better at them recently, for space reasons, but it’s soooo easy to just buy a million books.

  • Christy (A Good Stopping Point) March 8, 2012, 9:05 pm

    I had heard of Shadid’s death but hadn’t put it together with Night Draws Near which I have on my to-read list somewhere.

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:04 pm

      I always had Shadid in the back of my head as an author to read, but didn’t make the jump to get any of his books until now. It’s a shame too… I stared House of Stone and it’s beautiful.

  • Susan March 8, 2012, 10:44 pm

    Oh, I go on book buying binges so often! Chapters, our equivalent to Barnes and Nobles, is at my bus stop when i am transferring buses downtown after word. I can just pop in there and come out with books every time! I am trying to restrain myself a little now, but it doesn’t always work.

    You have a good haul there! I hope you enjoy most of them.

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:05 pm

      Oh gosh, I’d have no chance if I were you! I think it’s good for me that there’s not a bookstore close by, even though I miss just going in to browse.

  • Christy (A Good Stopping Point) March 10, 2012, 1:57 pm

    Also I love how in the photo, your cat seems to be ‘presiding’ over the stack of books.

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:05 pm

      She is awfully pushy, and loves to be the center of attention 🙂

  • sawcat March 10, 2012, 4:54 pm

    That is not that bad of a binge… The last binge I did was when I went to the library to pick up a hold that came in. Ended up coming back with an additional six from the library sale.

    I have Salt as well, and I still need to sit down and read it. I felt the same about Gatsby, and just did the read along Wallace held. Can’t remember if I’ve read Brave New World, but with the run on dystopian novels, its a good time for it

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:07 pm

      If our library sold books regularly, I’d do the same thing. I always picked up books at the store at the library in Madison where I used to live.

  • jennygirl March 11, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Sometimes you just have to scratch that book itch! You certianly have some good ones there, and I understand abouting filling in your reading gaps. I have quite a few myself.

    • Kim March 14, 2012, 8:07 pm

      We all have reading gaps, I think. Mine don’t bug me most of the time, but every once in awhile I get this urge to make lists and buy books and read a ton of the same thing.

  • Iris March 17, 2012, 10:23 am

    I haven’t gone on a book buying binge for a few months, but that’s because of my money situation. If I didn’t have that to hold me back, I would have splurged almost every month of the year. This looks like a good haul 🙂

    • Kim March 18, 2012, 1:35 pm

      Living in a small town (and not having a bookstore close) has really helped my book buying tendencies. But every once in awhile, and now that I’m working at a higher-paying job, it’s fun to splurge.