We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Monday, 1 September 2014

The thoughts of a 'recovering' compulsive book buyer

It has been 101 days since I purchased my last book.

101 days!

101 days?

101 days.

That is more than 3 months. It is closer to 4 months. I have gone almost 4 months without ordering or buying any books.

A few months ago, I would have found that appalling. As I write this today, I consider it progress.

You see, before this, I was a compulsive book buyer. As the name of my blog suggests - I am a Bibliophile. In 2013 alone, I purchased well over 100 books. At this moment in time, I own more than 600 books. A few months ago, I found that to be quite an achievement. I still consider it to be quite an achievement, but I now wonder whether it isn't slightly insane. An insane achievement, but an achievement none the less.

Cicero said that 'A Room Without Books is like a Body Without a Soul' - if that is the case then my house is full of soul. There are books in all the bedrooms, the lounge, the passage, the dining room, the study, the kitchen...

The books have taken over. Fiction. Non-Fiction. YA. Classics. Children's Books. Books about Books. Cook books. They are all there. There are duplicates and sometimes triplicates - because I just had to have the book in its new cover.

In the 101 days since I purchased my last book I have had an epiphany of sorts. The rate at which I have been acquiring books vs the rate at which I have been reading them is not in-sync. If I continue at this rate, I will leave more than 2000 books unread by the time that I die. I also came to realise that about 25% of the books that I own are books that I am not actually interested in - so they will just sit there - unread and unloved forever.

What of the books that I own that I have already read, you wonder? Well those books, who have already received my attention will either remain under my curatorship, or if I did not absolutely love them, or do not see myself rereading them at any stage in the future, well I am willing to part ways with them.

Does this mean that I have changed as a reader or even a bibliophile? Perhaps. Then, perhaps it is part of a reader's evolution to become more selective about which books take up the limited amount of reading time you have whilst alive?

I still love books, I still love to read. I am still a purist - preferring physical books to digital ones. After I cull part of my collection, I shall still have very many books. It just takes a bit more to get me excited and 'trigger happy' about buying a new book that excites me.

After all, I have enough books to keep me busy for the next 5 years at the very least.


  1. I have always been a crazy reader, but not really a buyer of books. The reason is because I often borrow, or download the books. Luckily, most of the books I'm interested to read are already in public domain.

    However, lately, I've become more interested in literature as a body of knowledge, and I started buying books. Duh. So, yeah, your post made me think that maybe I need to schedule my book shopping in order not to buy too much.

  2. I had very easy access to books, there was a book shop across the street from where I worked. I kept buying books for when I would have the time... now I have the time, and well I am inundated with books to read. It is an affliction though, once you start buying books it is very difficult to stop!


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