All Mixed Up: My Relationship with Books

I think a lot about books. Sometimes I think I spend too much time thinking about books. Sometimes I think I take books too seriously.

Thinking a lot and/or seriously about the ideas in books is one thing. But I’m talking about the physical things themselves. As you may have learned from my Sneaky Shit: Store Rewards post, I have a weakness when it comes to books.

And I want to figure out a way to conquer this weakness. Or at least get better control of it.

I feel weak when it comes to books because I feel like they have more control over me than I have over them. The pretty covers, the smell of the pages, having a complete set, all of the different available formats, what everyone else is (or isn’t) reading — these things have much more power over me than I would like them to.

I wasn’t always this way. When I was younger my parents didn’t buy me a lot of books. I don’t ever remember going to the bookstore with my parents as a kid. The books we had in the house were either hand-me-downs or gifts. I do remember going to the library with my mom, though.

Then I got older and my love of books grew with me. I starting working and so I used my wonderful, wonderful disposable income to start collecting books. This collection, this feeling of wanting to own, has been a slippery slope. I haven’t let it take over my life too much — I have culled my bookshelves (I’ve only got so much room…) and imposed book-buying bans on myself (I’ve only got so much money…) — but it still kind of nags me in the back of my mind. Not only of the feeling of wanting to own books, but also the feeling of wanting to read so many.

I think the internet has been both a blessing and a curse for me. Publishers websites, authors’ blogs, and social media dedicated to books like Goodreads.com have brought so many more books to my attention. Bookstore and book supplying websites and even advanced technology at the library (user-friendly websites to place holds, inter-library loans, and digital content) have made so many more books available to me. It can all be a bit much.

I don’t like having to-be-read lists for miles because it weighs on the back of my mind like a nagging to-do list. Yet, there are so many books that I would like to read. Yet, I only have so much time. Yet, yet, yet…

I don’t like to be pressured to read what everyone else is reading because I already know what I like or don’t like to read, pretty much. Yet, there could be something I haven’t discovered yet. There has to be a reason so many people are talking about it. Yet, it just might not be my thing. Yet, I could give it a try. Yet, I only have so much time. Yet, yet, yet…

I don’t like when other opinions make their way into my head before I’ve really given a book a chance. Yet, reviews can be helpful in finding something I may like or weeding out what I’m pretty sure I won’t like. Yet, that person could be reviewing from a totally different mindset than I have. Yet, if that many people like it or don’t like it… Yet, they really don’t have much to do with me. Yet, yet, yet…

You see my problems with this. And there are more.

I think I want to do a pro/con post specifically about my use of Goodreads.com. I hope that it will bring me closer to finding some kind of conclusion of what to do about this on-going dilemma I have with my relationship to books. Not too infrequently I wonder if just disconnecting would be the easiest way to free myself. But then there is the fear of missing out. Which may be irrational, but is still totally a real thing.

In the meantime, I would love to hear from anyone who may have also dealt, or is currently dealing, with a similar struggle. What did you do about it? Did it work? What else are you trying? Don’t know what to do about it, either?

Until next time…

Enjoy.

 

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