The Sunday Salon: Summer Book Buying Hiatus

by Kim on June 17, 2012 · 45 comments

The Sunday Salon.com I am officially out of bookshelf space in my house.

I knew I was reaching my limit before I headed to Book Expo America, but it wasn’t until I got back and started trying to find space for all of the books that I realized just how crammed everything is. Every shelf is totally full and most have books stacked on top and in front. There’s just no more room.

The interesting thing about all of the books I do have is that most of them are books I haven’t read. I’ve gotten pretty good at culling through the books I’ve finished and only saving the ones I love. It’s the unread books (most of which I’ve purchased myself) that are taking over.

After some thought, I’ve decided to embark on a quest that has been in the back of my mind for several months: I’m not going to buy any more new books until the official end of summer, September 21.

There will be one exception to this rule —  if I’m visiting a town with a bookstore, I’m allowed to buy a book; if it’s an independent bookstore, I can buy two books! Since I live in a town without a bookstore, I feel like this is a valid exception.

We’ll see how this goes. I hope I can do it, and I hope it helps me make a dent in the shelves and shelves of unread books I have so I can start to feel a little more in control of my books. Anyone want to join me?

In other news, I’ve been really exhausted all week — an extended BEA hangover coupled with a busy week at work, I suspect — which means I haven’t gotten as much writing done as I might like. I managed to write four reviews yesterday (well, technically one full review and three mini-reviews, but whatever) and I’m hoping to finish at least a few more later today. I also got about half-way through my overall BEA recap post, so expect that this week.

I have been doing a fair amount of reading this week though. I finished two books — Midnight in Peking by Paul French and Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone. According to Goodreads, I’ve now read 57 books this year, which is, frankly, insane. I don’t know how I’m reading so much, but I guess I’ll take it.

For now though, before I jump into writing and formatting more reviews, I’m going to get back into Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristin Iverson, which is an awesome and infuriating look at life near a secret government nuclear facility. I’ve also been listening to Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, which is vulgar and funny and makes me (sort of) want to do chores so I have an excuse to listen to it more.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Gwen June 17, 2012 at 10:11 am

Can’t wait to hear what you think about Midnight in Peking. That one has been sitting in my wish list calling to me.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I liked that one a lot, although I think the way I read it (at the airport and on an airplane) diminished my enjoyment a little bit. I got distracted and was very tired, so parts were confusing to me as I read. But I think the book is probably better than my experience with it was, if that makes sense?

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kay @ Infiniteshelf June 17, 2012 at 11:14 am

I don’t think I would survive a book buying ban, although that would probably be a very good idea; like you, I have more books to read than book reads, and I have done a great jobs in the past months of giving away books I have read that weren’t favorites.

I have “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened” on my shelf and can’t wait to read it! I really wish I had gotten it in audiobook now.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I’m enjoying the audio of “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened” — I think the jokes are funnier to me when I get to hear Lawson deliver them herself.

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bermudaonion (Kathy) June 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I think a lot of people have had post-BEA fatigue this week. Good luck with your book buying ban. I really need to weed through my books!

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I had to do some weeding to get my BEA books to fit on my bookshelves… and even then I couldn’t make them all fit. It’s a problem!

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Anastasia @ Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog June 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Eek, good luck! From my experience with several book-buying bans: the first few weeks are the hardest, haha! But it gets better, and reading your old TBR books instead of adding new ones is fun. :D

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm

That’s what I’m thinking — after I get past a few moments of “OMG I WANT THIS BOOK!” things should be smooth until September. It helps that I don’t have a bookstore to wander, so I’m not often tempted that way.

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Tanya Patrice June 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I feel ya! I don’t buy a lot of books because I don’t have much space for them, but I came home from BEA stacked with books and I’m pretty excited to read through them all.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I’m looking forward to my BEA books. There are so many of them that look just awesome.

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SarahRTW June 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Well, I’m on a necessary book buying ban; I can’t afford to buy books. I think your exceptions are very reasonable. Its tough living in a place without a bookstore! Good luck with that goal and getting your TBR pile shrunk over the summer. I look forward to your reviews!

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

That’s a bit of mine too. I have some disposable income, but I’d like to be saving more of it than I am now. I think it’s good to have exceptions for book buying once in awhile while on a hiatus.

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Stephanie June 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I have run out of shelf space, too. For years when I reached this crisis point, I’d persuade my husband to build more shelves. :-D However, he finally swore off building shelves and we’ve run out of wall space. You seem to have a realistic plan for your book buying ban with well chosen exceptions.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I’ve proposed getting a new bookshelf to the boyfriend a few times, and every time he responds with the reasonable question of where will we put it. There really isn’t more space.

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Vasilly June 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I ran out of space a few months ago. I can’t believe it even though I’ve given away about fifty books so far this year. I would join you on the book-ban but I think my problem has to do with checking out too many library books and my stacks of unread ARCs. But I am hoping to have half of my ARCs read by the end of the summer. Good luck on your ban!

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I’ve been reading a lot more library books this year than in the past, but I think the biggest problem is buying more and more books at a pace faster than I am finishing (or getting rid of) books I already have. I’m hoping this helps!

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Jenny June 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Good luck with your project! I have cut down book-buying to almost nil by the simple expedient of never going on vacationy vacations. All my vacations are to home now, whereas if I go on a vacation to anywhere else (Maine, London, Georgia), I get in this mindset that I have to quick buy ALL THE BOOKS. But in everyday life I really acquire very few.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm

That is a funny way to acquire books. I don’t think vacations have much to do with my book purchasing habits, but I haven’t really thought about it before!

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Diane@BibliophilebytheSea June 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I’ve tried to be better about not buying “physical books”; eBooks don’t count as they don’t take up space:)

Have a great week – rest up.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Good point. I should have made an exception for ebooks, although I don’t really buy them often because I don’t find it as satisfying :)

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susan June 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm

The Rocky Flats book you mention intrigues me. Anyone who lives or has lived in Colorado should want to read it. Thanks for mentioning it. I look forward too to your review of it

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Full Body Burden was fascinating and infuriating. I was filled with a lot of outrage as I was reading it, but I was totally absorbed.

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Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm June 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I might need to join you. I still have oodles of trade credit left from the bookstore I worked at till last fall, and I stop by to visit/shop every week or two. It doesn’t feel like shopping, since I’m not spending “real” money, but I’m pretty sure some of my shelves are about to buckle. :/

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm

That’d be nice — free books! — but I can see how it would be a problem. I have a credit card that earns points, and I redeem a lot of those points for books too.

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Kristen M. June 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I’ve been on a sort of buying ban recently and it’s actually a bit liberating because I can focus on the unread books I already have. When I get the yearning to buy a book, I’ve been choosing ones from my list that I have already read as ARCs or library books and have been wanting a copy for my home library. That way I get a new book without having to put it on the TBR shelf. It’s a bit of a cheat but it works for me! Now if I can just get through the 40% off all used books event at my local indie next weekend …

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I’m hoping the hiatus will start to feel liberating to me too :) That was one of my plans if I get an urge to buy books — get real copies of library books I read and loved, so it satisfies the urge without building mount TBR.

40 percent off used books? I wouldn’t leave the store without a ton of books in that situation!

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Amused June 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I’ve pretty much had to install the same ban! Good luck with yours.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Thanks! I hope yours is going well.

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Tami June 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I made a pledge not to buy any more books until I’ve read 20 that I already own. It’s going to be tough – but hoping it will make me read faster and get some of the books off my shelves.

Good luck. :)

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

That is tough, but I think manageable. It’s nice to have a concrete number!

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sassymonkey June 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm

oh! You’ve read Fooling Houdini! I wanna read it! I have a signed card that he gave me after doing a bunch of card tricks. :)

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Fooling Houdini was totally delightful. I really liked it. I wish I had gotten him to sign a card for me. I was so smitten with the card tricks :)

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Florinda June 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I FINALLY finished writing my BEA-related posts this past weekend. So much to say, so little energy to say it… :-) But I think I’ve processed it pretty well now.

I enjoyed reading Jenny Lawson’s book. If she’s narrating the audio herself, it’s got to be HI-larious!

I found that my Lenten book-buying ban this year was the most painless it’s ever been. Maybe it takes having over 300 unread books in the house to cool the urge to buy more–the choices already in front of me feel like too much sometimes, and adding to the stacks just had no appeal. (The fact that I don’t have a local bookstore any more probably made it easier, too.) It wore off by spring, though! Good luck with your buying ban, and I think your exceptions are perfectly reasonable.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

As much as I am not a person that is bothered by clutter, I really think the growing piles of books making my shelves look like a total mess is going to be a good incentive to not buy more. That, and the fact that we have to move sometime soon and carrying the books is a pain (quite literally).

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Suzanne June 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm

My book club meets at an indie bookstore, so I buy all of our discussion books there; but Apart from that I think I will join you in a summer book purchasing embargo. I have enough books now to last me until summer 2015 at least :-)

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Awesome! I love the term “embargo” — that’s what I should have called it. I calculated yesterday, and I think I have enough unread books to last another 2.5 years.

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Trish June 19, 2012 at 6:42 am

LOL!! Good luck with the book ban, Kim! I’ve actually been pretty good about not buying too many books lately but it’s still tough for me to part with the ones I already own–whether they’re books I haven’t read or books I have–curiously it’s easier for me to part with the ones I haven’t read! Even if I didn’t like the book I think that I’ll maybe like it more the second time (like I have time for a second time!). So…you’re not alone in your crazy.

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I’ve gotten a lot better at getting rid of books, but the unread ones are still the most difficult. It usually just takes time — with some distance, I can be more critical of the books I’m holding on to and get rid of them.

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Nikki Steele June 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

Does the library count? I can definitely appreciate a book ban and am cheering you on!

I don’t know if I can do the same though, as I have a lovely indie bookstore in town. I just limit trips there to once a month and hope that does the trick. (I also try not to drive in the general area as it could turn into an “accidental” trip.)

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Kim June 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Nah, I can still use the library. I’d hate to stop doing that! I have “accidental” trips to bookstores anytime I’m in a town that has one :)

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Amy June 21, 2012 at 8:20 am

My shelves are the same – stacked full of unread books (95% or more purchased by me, the rest mostly gifts or loans!). I’ve been on a kind of buying ban all year though with exceptions for vacation travel, book events, and the like. I recently broke it, but am doing fairly well I think!

After BEA I crashed so bad it isn’t even funny. The Saturday after, the number of hours I was awake was a single digit. And that counts that I didn’t go to bed until 4am that morning. heh.

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Kim June 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I’ve gotten really bad about buying books online lately. It seems like a had a package with 3-4 coming every few weeks. That needed to stop, for sure!

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