Book Buying Hiatus Reconsidered and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks

I went a little overboard buying books this year. Used books, new books, so many books!

Part of this is due to having new bookshelves in my office. Whee! More book space! Part of it is due to all the great library tent sales in my area. Part of it is due to discovering Elliot’s Books earlier this year. And another part of it is due to exploring New England and visiting bookstores, like the Harvard Book Store in Boston where last month I found some gems in their used section after meeting up with fellow blogger Cass for the first time (thanks for the tour, Cass!).

Cass in Harvard’s Widener Memorial Library

Books, books, books. Binging on books.

Toward the end of any binge one starts to have that over-saturated feeling coupled with a need to start doing something else. In the case of my book buying binge, I eventually started wanting to READ these new-to-me books more than I wanted to bring home more books from yet another sale or bookstore to pile on top of previous purchases. Confession: when a stack of new books comes into the house they almost always hang out on my office floor for a while–sometimes they’re there for just a few days before making it onto a shelf, other times a few months. I don’t know why. It just happens that way. It doesn’t matter where I’ve lived and it has nothing to do with a lack of bookshelf space . . . apparently I’m just a floor stacker.

Current floor stacks

A few months ago when the glow of the book binge started to fade, I started thinking that perhaps I’d take a book buying hiatus in 2016. When I’ve mentioned this to friends some nod with understanding and others look at me with shock and horror. I myself vacillate between these two reactions.

I went on a book buying hiatus several years ago when we were saving every penny we could for our impending move from Illinois to Connecticut. It was really hard for the first several months. I found myself suddenly having to read a new release that had 100+ holds at the library. Gee, guess I have to buy it! And speaking of the library, I found myself going to the library more than usual those first months (like 2-3 times a week) and checking out a ridiculous amount of books at each visit, more books than I could possibly read, but it satisfied that new book feeling. Eventually I relaxed and focused on reading. It was a delight to finally read some of the books that had been on my shelves for years.

So I was seriously leaning toward taking a book buying hiatus in 2016 when Andi announced her own plan to #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. I am so with her on this. There are several really good challenges out there that focus on reading the books one already owns or a TBR list, but what resonates with me about Andi’s is that there are no rules, you make up your own rules if you want to have any. Since I usually fail at reading challenges, participating in one that is based on my own rules is perfect.

And my own rules are that I will have no rules. My wife claims that I often take things to the extreme (e.g., buying every book in sight versus not buying any). So, I have decided not to take a book buying hiatus for 2016. Next year my intention will simply be to read more of the books I already own (the road to hell be damned). I will, however, try to be more mindful about why I want to buy a book  before automatically skipping to the register.

Glad that’s resolved.

Are you making any reading plans for 2016?


  1. I've been thinking about doing something about my own book buying problem — a whole year of no new books would be extreme, but maybe a month or two? I might just binge harder then when I come out of it. Reading the books I already have is definitely a priority!

  2. Wow, I tend to take things to the extreme also, And I have been trying not to buy any more books. My book heart has been pining for a paper back that costs $6.49! I think I will go ahead and buy it!

  3. Good luck! Somehow, over 1/3 of the books I've read this year have been off my shelf which is pretty impressive. I think moving has had a big impact on that, but my non-committed, non-official goal is to try and bump that up to at least half next year!

  4. So funny, one of my resolutions for 2016 that I just posted today is very similar to this. I want to not buy books but I am not going to not buy books. Ha! And of course I get to blame you a bit for my overbuying in 2015. 🙂

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