Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Overbooked: A Hedonistic Tale of Excess

Okay, so there were other reasons (other than a record-breaking mess taking roost on my desk) that I haven’t been posting like I know I’m supposed to. Something came up.

I had to read a book.

Or, well, like a few books. Keeping up a healthy book habit can be hard when you have a bunch of life getting in the way. You know. Working, eating, sleeping, scribbling down a sentence or two of the most brilliant story to ever be about-to-be written, pretending to be a social creature for the benefit of friends and family...

This seems like as good an intro to talking about my little problem as anything.

My name is Cacy, and I’m a bookaholic.

Which is probably not an especially big surprise considering I’m a writer, but it is a problem when I get nothing done for a full day because I HAVE to get to the end of whatever book I’m reading. And I have to get there NOW. That’s why sometimes it’s just better that I don’t pick up of book if I know there’s something important I should be doing (say, pen a best-selling novel) because I know exactly how that’s going end (with my poor, cold, shiny new computer crying from neglect).

Then there’s the issue that apparently I’m stockpiling for when we become a dictatorship and all the books, bookstores and libraries are burned. Numerous among the piles of books that keep growing and growing are novels I have yet to read. But I HAVE to have them. Because I WILL read them. Someday. These past few months have once again demonstrated to me how bad this problem is.

It started with me getting my ish together and re-arranging my room so that all my books are on shelves and not scattered about all willy-nilly.

My two bookcases and I were up to the challenge.

I even organized them according to type of book and intended age group.

I was very proud of me, but at the end of the day I looked at my shelves and thought to myself. “Boy, if I buy one more book, I won’t have any place to put it.

So what do I do?

I acquire ten more in a matter of weeks. But I can’t help it! For one thing, there was a 50% off coupon for select titles.

And then, well, there was a 40% off coupon and you know I have to show Meg Cabot my love and support, and then there’s that other book I’ve been meaning to get as I slowly read through Octavia Butler's catalog.

And then that website told me (one of) my writing style(s) is similar to that one author’s and I’m like, “Who’s Cory Doctorow? …Hmm, sounds kinda interesting.” And then it was, “Oh my? Seriously? Those books are only a dollar? Hardcover too?”

Next, I was going out of town, and well, one needs reading material when going on a trip. So that explains the three books that I was able to narrow my purchase down to.

(Way of the Shadows missing because I’ve lent it out. Also, I feel like there’s a fourth I’m forgetting…)

But then there’s the fact that I work at a bookstore (but of course) where on top of discounts, booksellers are often rewarded for a job well done with Advanced Reader Copies. I often do my job well, so often have a lot of “This ticket is redeemable for 1 promo item” slips piled up. And that’s how I walked out of the bookstore that day with four (or was it six?) more books than I anticipated.

(Hunger Games paperback missing because I’ve lent it out. And sigh, yes, I also have Hunger Game in hardcover, but I was able to get the paperback for free so I figured I could lend the paperback out and keep the hardcover safe at home with me always. Naturally, the hardcover is also lent out at the moment.)

Who can say no to a free book? I can’t even say no to a cheap book, which is why I always find something among the $0.25-to-$1.00 books my local library (yep, I frequent that place too – when I don’t have a huge fine accrued – even though I currently work at a bookstore) has for sale out in the front.

As if it weren’t bad enough that I went on vacation with four books in my carry on (No check-in baggage for me. Who has $25 to spare with all this constant book buying?), when I get to the land of my forefathers (or at least, the town my parents are from) my relatives are all, “Oh, you like to read? Let me take you to a used bookstore or three.” Besides the hippy-run used book warehouse and the Half-Priced Bookstore, underneath the downtown library was a huge used bookstore where, I swear, nothing was over $2. I tried to pace myself, but still, this happened:

And it all had to fit in my carry-on and personal item.

So then I’m home, settling back into the daily grind, and swearing, no more new (or used) books for a good while. Then I start to clean out the family garage. And what do I find? Books.

And more books.

And a hellavalot more after that.

Even when I’m like “Phew, this box is full of clothes. What a relief!” I dig past those outfits I really did think was cute freshman year of college and discover– you guessed it. Even more books.

Books I was assigned to read for class but didn’t but swear I’m going to. Someday. Books I bought twice because I couldn’t find the first one I bought but really needed again. Books I found somewhere for a really good price and snatched up, without realizing I already owned a copy. Books from when I was going to be all smart and stuff and read poetry and really old obscure writing and stuff. Books from that time I was (and still am!) going to write a novel set in ancient Egypt and so I needed to do a lot of research, including how to read hieroglyphics. Books I borrowed, but maybe never returned (shifty eyes).

And something tells me that there’s at least one more box of books waiting to be discovered.

So for real now, I’m going to cool it on the book getting.

Okay, that decree only ever lasts about a day. Here’s the most recent books I’ve acquired, mostly in a month-and-some-change-long period:

(Blameless, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows missing because I’ve lent them out.)

And I have a question for you? Where exactly are they going to go?

I’m doing good now though. I only bought one book in these past few weeks.

I swear.

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