Notes from the Trenches – Day 18

Books read: 5
Books to read: 21
Currently reading: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow, Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI by Lauren Johnson

It has been just over two weeks since I started my resolution to read all the books I currently own before buying anything new, and so far it’s been more challenging than I imagined.

The very idea of not being able to buy books, especially if there are deals on, or if I were to find a book I’d like to read in a charity shop… it’s sort of scary, and I realise that sounds dramatic. I am so determined to stick to this resolution that I have been deliberately avoiding bookshops in order to resist temptation, but instead of buying books I find that something strange is occurring. I’m not sure if this is just a problem I have, or if this is how capitalism works, but in place of buying books I find myself tempted to buy other things, things I wouldn’t normally buy (at least, not at that price). For example, I buy the majority of my clothes from charity shops, but yesterday I found myself trying on a cardigan that cost just over £20 – and that was it on sale. I’m glad it didn’t look right on and I didn’t buy it – as well as my reading resolutions, I’ve done several clearouts of my wardrobe recently and I want to wear the clothes I already own, not just buy more for the sake of buying something. Its the same with my jewellery – I tend to wear the same few necklaces and sets of earrings time and again, yet the other day I found myself drawn to a necklace for no other reason than that it was an unusual design, and it was on sale. I did not need it. I did not buy it.

All of this is not to say I am frivolous with my money, and having to rein myself in is difficult, but I’m no skinflint either. I have three main things I spend money on – food, things in charity shops (mostly books), and books from bookshops – and I honestly spend the most on books. 99.9% of the time when I walk into a bookshop I leave with a purchase, if not two or three. Perhaps that’s why I’m sort of trying to compensate with other items – and then I stop myself because I know I don’t need them. But I do need books. Hence why this resolution is so difficult. But I already have books, hence the resolution. I am reading them. I am enjoying them, for the most part. Is there just something to the act of buying books, that feeling of ‘I have lots of books at home, butI’m going to buy these anyway, who’s going to stop me?’ – or is that just the whole retail therapy thing, that rush of endorphines and dopamine when you buy something new and exciting? Is that why I have so many unread books on my shelves in the first place? Am I addicted to books?!

I was not expecting this book themed ‘New Year’s Resolution’ to turn into a therapy session. Oh dear. I quoted him when I started this blog and I’ll quote him again:

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” 
― Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

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