Thursday, March 24
Passionate book lover, avid book collector, or obsessive book hoarder. Which one are you? It's definitely something I've been pondering after watching the TLC series Hoarding: Buried Alive (which in fact made me feel MUCH better about my passion.). Have you seen the show? I sometimes turn on the TV when writing blog posts on Wednesday's and have run across it more than once. It's...eye opening to say the least.
Here is how I like to define each one of those categories:
- Book lover: a love of books, in my case mainly romance novels. Someone who loves to read, admire and collect the books that they love, but is not to be confused with a book collector
- Book collector: similar to a book lover, but may not necessarily collect one type of book but acquires them for their rarity, value, content and condition, but may not necessarily buy it to read it
- Book hoarder: has been described as a compulsive disorder which means that a person buys books that don't necessarily have meaning to them, may buy multiple copies of the same book, collect more books than they can possibly enjoy (often don't read them at all), and can lead to sanitary and heath issues.
I like to consider myself a romance book lover. However, there are those in my family that would say, "yeah right...do you even know how many books you have?" And I have to confess that I probably own more books than I can possibly ever read since I continue to buy new ones each year, and I have been known to purchase a copy of a book that I already own (mainly to share with a friend if they ever want to read it). It's not like my home looks like this:
But I may own just as many books, because truthfully I don't really know the EXACT number of the books I own. Hoarding is considered a disease and can possibly even be genetic (eek). My grandmother was a hoarder, no doubt about it (she only had pathways in her house), and my Dad, well let's just say that his basement and his garage....not pretty, but both of them lived through very hard economic times and hate(d) to get rid of anything because for them, just about everything has/had a use...they don't want to be wasteful. So yeah, I could possibly have hoarding tendencies. Excuses? Possibly, but I like to think that the hoarding gene has weakened through the generations :) Especially with my mother's genes thrown into the mix (who saves little and hates clutter). And really, my passion is mainly confined to just books.
Given all of that, I still don't consider myself a hoarder...probably not even a collector. I truly think I'm just a book lover that finds it hard not to buy a romance that I think I may someday find the time to read. I certainly don't buy every romance that crosses my path, but I also have to admit that I wish my book buying budget was larger than what it is :) Would I buy more books than I do with that extra money? Probably, but more likely I would end up buying more books new than buying them used or borrowed from the library.
One of my New Year's resolutions was to try and tackle my TBR which only grew last year. When looking online to see what other people do to address this issue I found an article at wikihow.com on how to stop collecting (as in adding to) books. I have to say that I found their tips less than helpful. For instance:
- How many is too many? My response: You can't put a number on that! It's relative to how much space I have on my bookshelves...and if they get full can I add a new bookshelf? I mean look at the March releases compared to February. Feast vs. famine.
- Cull your existing collection: My response: Good in theory and I actually have thought about doing that. Over the past few years I can't recall one book that I consider a "keeper" that I've actually read more than once. But when I think about getting rid of some of them...I just can't do it because some of them are out of print....and what if I would someday decide to want to re-read one? This problem may resolve itself if more authors and publishers list more out of print titles as download-able ebooks. Trading one storage issue for another...maybe, but I'm OK with the digital option.
- I skipped over 3-4 since I didn't think they applied to me (reference books and quotes)
- (which is actually 5) Make a rule to read "xx" number of books before buying a new one: My response: Really? Obviously the person who wrote this is only a casual reader, because this concept is inconceivable to me. I would love my read to purchase ratio to be 1:1 but did the writer of this article get a look at all of the great releases that came out this March? That would be a big fat NO otherwise he/she would not have even suggested that. It's also very likely that whoever wrote this was not a romance reader and therefore MIGHT find this concept doable. Otherwise...not so much.
- (step 6) Make a "syllabus" of books to read: My response: Obviously this person is NOT a "mood" reader because picking out 10-14 books to read that month then assigning myself a page count everyday seems more like homework than enjoyment. But I did decide to try and pick one author from my TBR each month to try and read, with the option to change my mind at will :)
- (otherwise known as 7) Make a "to buy" list: My response: BRILLIANT! This is a fantastic idea! One that I can completely and wholeheartedly get behind. So every week I add new books to my "to buy" list of new releases so that I don't forget about the ones I was interested in at the time they came out.
- (8) Get a book, get rid of a book: My response: They are really stuck on this 1:1 ratio thing! With my TBR this is not possible. I thought about it, and actually looked at my TBR bookshelf and thought "if I were to do this which book would be the first to go"...essentially saying I'm not ever going to read this book, but the problem with that is that each and every one of the books that have made it in the TBR, and out of the "wishlist", because they are books that I REALLY want to read and I just can't get rid of it. How about once I read a book and decide that it's not a "keeper" that I get rid of it? I can do that :)
- (9) Use the Library: My response: Done! I love my library and in fact I read more books from my library than from my TBR....it's the darn lure of the new release! But since I was already doing this, it doesn't help me in any way :(
- (10)Use the Library to download ebooks: My response: I would love to! And beginning in June I hope to be able to do that since my library just announced that they are going to begin offering ebooks early summer of this year. Woo hoo! I'm very excited about this, but again....doesn't help me any because it means I won't be reading from the TBR.
- (11, aren't most helpful hint lists capped at 10?) Purchase and collect your books on an ereader: My response: Um, I do that too and that is a whole separate can of worms. I not only have a print TBR but a digital one too :( Is that bad? Am I the only one?
- (12, last one) If you have room and think you are going to read (re-read) a book, keep it: My response: Hallelujah! Does that also mean that if I have room to add a bookshelf that I can do that too?
In essence...it didn't really help me because after all, I'm a book lover of romance novels. Am I compulsive about it? If you don't take into account my obsession with Outlander I don't think so. Am I a collector? Only in the "keeper" sense, because the TBR doesn't apply here. What I am, is passionate about romance books. A romance booklover, who would absolutely love to have a home libarary like this one:
Lots of natural light. A few comfortable places to read and beautiful bookshelves full of lovely romances to indulge in...and some space to spare :)
So tell me....I know most of you have TBR's as well. What does your family say? Which would you consider yourself (lover, collector or hoarder)? And what do you think about wikihow's 12 steps to stop accumulating books? Inquiring minds (like me) would love to know your thoughts :)
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