Easter Monday is a holiday here, and this year it’s the tail end of my kids’ spring break. I’ve been working at home a lot and taking it a bit easier, so today feels kind of like New Year’s: gearing up to go back to school and work, organizing myself for the final push of the academic year, and generally taking stock. It’s an easier time to make a fresh start than January, since everything is growing and blooming and the days are getting longer and sunnier.
It seems like the right day to reflect on the end of my Lenten book-buying fast (there’s an earlier update here). I had to laugh when Kobo e-mailed me a “please come back” coupon yesterday, right on time. And I was glad to realize I felt no urgent desire to spend it. What are the biggest changes I hope will stick?
1. I shouldn’t buy cheap/sale books that I’m only vaguely interested in, just because they are cheap. It’s kind of like buying those pants that don’t really fit and you don’t like that much but they are sooo cheap, and then you never wear them. (Oh, is that just me?) Yes, it can be a good way to try a new genre or author. But do I really want to? When I have so many unread books that I’m really interested in? Or, you know, was once when I could remember why I bought them.
2. I don’t have to buy every single book by my favorite authors. Not just, I don’t have to buy them on release day, but I don’t have to buy them at all. Maybe one book doesn’t sound like my thing. Another one will come along. This Book Riot post, “When You Realize You Can’t Read All the Things,” made me laugh, especially this part:
And did you know that your favorite authors often keep writing books when you haven’t even read their last ones? Terrific. Swell. Thanks a lot for being so creative and productive, authors. Jerks
That might be truer of romance writers than any other kind. I give myself permission not to keep up or catch up, unless I really want to (sorry, favorite authors). By the way, I found that quote via one of the great Sunday Links posts at Like Fire.
3. I love to re-read, and too much TBR pressure means I do less of it. True, my TBR is hardly smaller after the last 40 days (thanks, library!), but I am re-reading Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible right now and enjoying it tremendously. I feel that I won’t have fully assimilated romance-reading until I re-read more. I have been re-reading Heyer since high school, and I have re-listened to some Crusie and Krentz, but that’s about it.
4. Unless I get hit by a bus in the next couple of years, I don’t yet have more books than I can read before I die. But I’m on track to get there, and I don’t want to. I can’t take them with me, and I don’t like useless consumption. There are more good books in the world than I will ever get to read. There are books I would love that I’ll never discover. That can feel like a bad thing, but really, how could I wish it weren’t the case? What if I came to the end of all the good books? But I don’t want to own them all. I’m learning to make better use of wishlists, both at the library and for books I might buy. I don’t use Goodreads this way, and now that Amazon has bought them, I’m even less likely to. But an Evernote list is a handy thing I can access anywhere.
5. What about my Lent wishlist? There’s one author on it I realized I can request from the library (they rarely catalog mass-market paperbacks, which means requesting romance is impossible and finding books I want is a crapshoot). There’s one I wasn’t sure I still wanted, but a second person just recommended it to me. There’s one I probably will buy someday, but it’s by a prolific favorite author and I’ve still got others of hers in my TBR. The rest, I lost interest in. I didn’t even add that many books to the list. I was surprised by how quickly I lost most of my desire to acquire new books; I think it shows how guilty and anxious my TBR was making me feel. (I should read this, I need to read that, I must get the other).
Did I cheat at all? Well, I downloaded a couple of free public domain Dorothy Sayers books, because I’m thinking I might re-read the whole Lord Peter series. And I spent 2 Audible credits. And I accepted a gift book from someone. Otherwise, I’m good.
I think next time I fast, I won’t use the library either. It’ll be just me and my TBR. I might not even wait for Lent. I wonder how long I can hold out without buying a book? Of course, there is that 25% off Kobo coupon . . . .