Please Don’t Take Away My Book Blogging Credentials!
ETA: the proper book blogger part of this post is tongue-in-cheek! I don’t think there are any requirements for being a book blogger, other than having a blog that mentions books. :)
This started out as a different post. I was going to blather on about it being National Library Week here in the US. I was going to insert a gratuitous picture of Neil Gaiman*…oh wait, I can still do that!
But then, as I thought about why I loved my library, one thing kept repeating in my head, more shallow than the whole ‘libraries are the cornerstone of democracy’ thing that I had planned. But I suppose I’m in a frivolous mood, so I’m going to confess a deep, dark secret, one that makes me question if I can even be considered a ‘real’ book blogger.
I’m not overly concerned with actually owning books.
And part of why I love my library is that it stores all of the books for me, just waiting for me to grab one at my convenience.
Don’t get me wrong…I feel like a house without any books would be a sad place. But I don’t need more than a few bookcases worth, and my ideal library is a carefully edited place simply consisting of the works of my very favourite authors, as well as the individual books that I love and adore and gush about regularly*. And if, God forbid, my bedroom burned down tomorrow and all of my books were gone, I wouldn’t be that upset. I’d only miss the books given to me by dear friends, family, and professors and the inscriptions within.
That’s weird, right? Or at least an anomaly amongst book bloggers! I’ve always been that way, though. When I packed for college, moving across the country, I brought exactly three books with me: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and two others that I can’t remember. My mom was surprised, since I’ve always been a big reader, but I simply said: “I’ll be able to get more books than I can read from the library!” And you know what? I was right. Throughout all four years of college, including studying abroad in Russia, I only had 3-5 personally owned, non-school related books with me. When I went to grad school a couple of years ago, I upped things slightly (blogging will do that to you!) and brought as many as I could fit in a standard canvas tote bag (including cookbooks!). But once again, I found the library pretty quickly and began unearthing gems.
That’s where I’m different from some bloggers-I don’t feel a need to possess books. At least, not new books. I prefer to read books from the library, or borrow them from friends. Then, if I really like them, I’ll buy a copy for myself. I’m more likely to buy an unread book if it’s by an author that I really, really like or if I’ve seen/heard a lot of positive reviews from people who have similar taste as me. I’m also more likely to buy books that are on sale. :)
I get just as much of a high from checking lots of books out of the library as buying a lot of books.
You know, I went through a phase when I was seduced by the glamour of review copies and became addicted to Bookmooch, and my shelves are still groaning with the results of that. But I’m entering my third year of a book buying/acquiring ban (I’ve adjusted the rules a bit over that time), and I’m a happier person for it. The fact is, I’m just more of a library person! Last year, over 90% of the books I read came from the library, and that’s with an embarrassingly large TBR pile on my own shelves!
Speaking of my bookcases, I have no problem culling books from it. And when I do one of my periodic culls, my basic attitude is “guilty until proven innocent.” A book has to prove its worth to stay on my shelves! The rest, I just bag up and let live in my basement for a week or two (to ensure no regrets), and then they get donated to the library (if shipping was free, I’d send them too all of you wonderful people instead). At the same time, I only cull to the point that my shelves are comfortably full, so I don’t have to be as ruthless with three cases as I used to be when I only owned one.
I’m sure that my lack of interest in owning tons of books stems from my peripatetic* childhood. Because it’s not just books…the idea of owning too much stuff in general gives me the willies. When I buy something, I imagine packing it all into boxes to move, and if it’d really be worth that effort. I don’t have any collections except for clothes and jewelry, which coincidentally are things you can’t borrow from the library! ;)
So, am I still allowed to be a book blogger? I do adore reading, and a big pile of books is lovely. But it’s even more lovely knowing they’ll go back to the library eventually, to be replaced with new books as the whim takes me. For me, borrowing books is the way to go. But what about y’all?
P.S.: Thanks to everyone who voted for my next read! I’m closing the poll, and despite a last-minute rally by The 13th Element, The Jew in the Lotus squeaked ahead with 14 votes to 13. The fiction ended up in a tie, 19 votes for each, so I’m letting due dates cast the final vote: The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag is due earlier, so that’s the one I’ll be reading first! :)
Footnote One: Does it amuse anyone else that Gaiman is kind of a literary rock star? That phrase just seems so counterintuitive to me. But it’s true!
Footnote Two: Note, that’s my ideal library! Right now, I own more books than I have at any other point in my life, and I find it a touch disorienting.
Footnote Three: Yep. I’m quoting myself. It’s gotten to that level. :p
Footnote Four: Note, that’s my ideal library! Right now, I own more books than I have at any other point in my life, and I find it a touch disorienting.This is one of my favourite words, and I drop it into conversations whenever possible! This often leads to friends and family mocking me, so feel free to mock away. ;)