It’s time to choose another book for the Slaves of Golconda reading group, so head on over to the blog to vote for your choice. The selections are mine this time, and I hope you find something you like. Everyone is welcome to participate.
My question has to do with TBR piles. I wrote a post the other day about Emily’s “Attacking the TBR Tome” challenge, a part of which is the commitment not to buy books until the challenge books are read. This struck me as a sensible challenge, but then Zhiv wrote a spirited defense of acquiring books without guilt, and I began to wonder what, if anything, to do with my desire to buy books accompanied by my feeling that I shouldn’t acquire them unless I’m planning on reading them soon.
There are two book-owning models I’ve got in my mind, battling each other for dominance and leaving me feeling conflicted. For most of my life, I either didn’t buy books unless I needed them for school, or I bought them only when I planned on reading them right away. This is how my parents handled things and how my friends did as well. My house growing up always had a lot of books, but we didn’t have much space to accumulate many more, and we didn’t have the money to buy a lot of books either. We visited the library, mostly. Then for a long time everyone I knew moved frequently, so it didn’t make much sense to accumulate a lot of books. Even books for school were more of a pain to carry around than anything else. And then when I bought a house and felt more settled, I was happy to accumulate books, but no other method occurred to me other than acquiring them as I read them. Hobgoblin and I visited bookshops regularly, but we did so when we needed something new to read, and we generally came home and read our new books right away.
Blogging changed all that, of course; I read about other people buying books at amazing rates, and it seemed like so much fun, I started doing it myself. Then I joined Book Mooch, and while I gave away some books, I got even more back. I visited library book sales and moved to a town with three used bookshops. If you want to know what happened, check this post out. The piles pictured there have gotten much taller, and a third pile on the floor has sprouted up, somehow.
Zhiv says I shouldn’t feel guilty about this, and I think he’s probably right. I don’t like being an acquisitive person, but surely having a lot of books doesn’t really qualify? And most of my TBR collection is made up of used books, so it’s not like I’ve spent a lot of money on them. And even if I had, isn’t it worth while to support the publishing industry?
But I’m someone who never passes up a reason to feel guilty, and so I do. My question is, how many of you have had a similar experience and feel a similar guilt? How do you deal with it?