This past weekend, I went to this giant book sale where all books were either $1 for paperbacks or $2 for hardcovers. Needless to say, I went a little crazy.
I went both Saturday and Sunday and scored these beauties. All these books for $26. Twenty. Six. Dollars. I was out of my mind giddy, smiling the whole time I was at the event. I sorted through all the stacks multiple times. I chose most of the books blindly (as opposed to checking ratings and reviews on goodreads like I usually do). I bought them, came home, laid them out before me, smiled, caressed the covers and relished in the new books I’d brought into my life, dreaming of the day I’d finally be able to read them (damn, I have a lot of books I need to read…).
And then I was hit with a feeling. An unusual and strange feeling of… guilt, actually. I wondered to myself: do I need to tone it down? Am I buying too many books? I don’t even have enough shelves for these books to sit on. I daily stare at a stack of them lying on the floor in my writing room. Should I perhaps read the multitudes of unread books I already have before I buy more? What the hell am I doing? Should I cut this out?
No sooner had the questions begun, than did I have an answer for them: Hell no. I will NOT apologize for loving and err… maybe having a little lack of control when it comes to buying books. I’m not addicted to buying books. Addiction is much more complicated than that. But I do love books, and they make me better when I read more of them. So I’m not going to put a cap on how many books I buy as long as I have the means to buy them (particularly if I’m getting a great deal on them in the meantime).
Because I’m me and my love of lists is as embarrassing as it is real, I’ve decided to create a one to even further justify and examine the reasons I don’t feel guilty or regret buying more books. So if you also can’t seem to walk into a bookstore without leaving with a new treasure (or two… or three), this post is to affirm you in your decision making. Keep on keeping on.
1. Books Keep Us Sane
Sometimes, the world is too much and I feel like my books are the only things keeping me from losing it. I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed of, either. Whether we’re reading to escape or reading to understand or process or learn, I believe books can help us make it through some of our toughest times when the people around us can’t. Knowing that you can pop a book off the shelf and immerse yourself in that world for some time when your own is feeling too unstable can be a great comfort. Books have helped me get through some of the more trying times in my life, and I know I’m not alone there.
2. Books Connect Us
I may never quite understand how someone who lived 5,000 miles away from me 200 years prior might have experienced life, but reading about it in a book might help me get a little closer to some comprehension. When we read books we gain access to people and cultures we might not ever be able to access. And that opens our eyes up to experiences outside of our own. We’re then able to acquire a greater understanding not only of histories, but also of lives happening along side ours in the present day. Or even imagined lives in imagined places that can teach us something we didn’t know about our world.
Personally, I’ve always felt that’s nothing short of magical.
3. Books… Are Pretty
Okay, I realize this is the most superficial reason to buy more books (and certainly not a good enough reason if it’s the ONLY reason you buy them), but it doesn’t mean it’s any less true! Books make the majority of the places we occupy look better, period. My home feels much too empty and lifeless when it’s devoid of books, which is probably why whenever I move, my books are almost always the last things to get packed away. I value the life they bring to my room. I love knowing that at any moment I could just pluck one of them off the shelves and dive in, and in the meantime, I can just stare at them whimsically, excited for the next one I’ll read. And I mean really… can you argue with this beauty?:
4. Buying Books Benefits Authors
Here’s a nice one. If you buy books you are, well, in a roundabout way, helping your favorite author. This can be twofold. Either monetarily by buying their books new (in stores, pre-sales, online, etc.). Or, if you can’t afford new (and of course I see nothing wrong with this as is obvious from the post I wrote here ) you can buy used and help spread the word to others about this amazing author, making them want to buy the books and, voila, further benefiting the author. It’s a win-win, really.
5. Buying Books Is An Act Of Resistance
If you live in the USA, you know that our current Presidente Idiota is no literary scholar. That alone should give you some encouragement to buy as many books as you can to read and learn as much as you can from them. Surely if he doesn’t value books or the written word, than we should. More than that, as stated above, reading books provides us with understanding of experiences other than our own, and a glimpse to the world and people outside of our little lives. And this understanding, this desire to learn more about those who aren’t exactly like us, seems to be something the current administration would rather not have. And if we buy books that will help us do that regardless, that is an act of resistance.
So read on.
So, what do you think? Have I convinced you to do away with the guilt and continue in your naughty, impulsive book buying habits? Of course, I do think I should say this as a final thought: this post is not meant to encourage hoarding or say that you should buy books that have no meaning to you. BUT but by all means, if you want to buy more books (and you know you’re going to read them… and okay, maybe occasionally you’ll go through and donate some of the books you really no longer need), then go for it.
Third photo found here.