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Sunday Salon: Purging! (But No Bingeing)

November 15, 2009

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday, all!

A lot of people seem to be instituting book buying bans, or book acquiring bans, or (horrors!) even no-books-from-the-library bans. While I am not planning to do the same – I’d never be able to keep to it, and I think it would just make me cranky – I am trying to limit my acquisitions; that is, trying to pick up only wishlisted books, and letting something sit on my wishlist for a while before acquiring to be sure that I really want it. Nevertheless, my TBR pile has gotten somewhat out of control… 250 books at the moment.

So, I’m doing another purge. Not as big as the pre-move purge back in August, but I went through my shelves last night and pulled anything that I wasn’t still excited about reading and/or anything that I couldn’t remember my reasons for acquiring. Most of these were impulse buys at the Friends of the Library booksale or at the thrift store – never on any wishlist, but something I picked up, went “Oh, this looks interesting, and for a dollar, why not,” and brought home with me. Three of them (Seeing Redd, The Way of Light, and I Know This Much is True) are cases where I didn’t care for the previous book in the series/by the author, the rest are just books that no longer make me go “oh, I want to read that right now!”

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
The Way of Light by Storm Constantine
Jacob’s Ladder: A Novel of Virginia During the Civil War by Donald McCaig
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
Songs in Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris
Little Children by Tom Perrotta
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Empire Falls by Richard Russo

I was going to ask if anyone thought that I’m making a huge mistake by getting rid of any of these books, but then I realized that I don’t want to be talked out of purging them. If I do decide in some nebulous future that I absolutely must read one of them, well, that’s what libraries are for. And in the meantime, they’re taking up room on my shelves that could be used to house more books that I’m actually excited about.

So what I will ask is: does anybody want any of these books? If so, let me know which one(s), and your bookmooch ID, and I’ll reserve it for you.

What about you, readers? Are you one of the strong and intestinally fortitudinous that have implemented a personal book ban? Or are you one of the lucky few with enough shelf space to acquire whatever the heck you want?

49 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2009 10:52 am

    I’m on a book buying ban for a few reasons, chief amongst them being I am quite, quite broke right now. I recently got a new bookshelf and have plenty of space, but I can’t buy any books because I am saving up money for Christmas. Sigh. It’s killing me.

    • November 15, 2009 11:26 am

      Jenny – Oh, I hear that. That’s why the Friends of the Library is such a dangerous place for me… I can’t justify spending $10 on a new book, but I can usually scrape together $0.75 for a used one.

  2. November 15, 2009 11:13 am

    Book ban? I know not the meaning of those words.

    I don’t know the meaning of will power, either.

    • November 15, 2009 11:27 am

      softdrink – I know I’ve *heard* of those terms before… :)

  3. November 15, 2009 11:16 am

    I’m with softdrink; I am so bad at not buying books. And my real problem is the buying since I *gasp* don’t get books from the library. I buy or BookMooch everything I read. And I do both so fast, I have an obnoxious TBR pile that I’m convinced will one day morph into an actual autonomous being.

    Good for you for purging!

    • November 15, 2009 11:30 am

      Trisha – Hee hee, the TBR-zombie-automaton is a great image. “Shelllllllllves! Want Shelllllllves!”

      I’m more worried that either Mt. TBR will tip over and crush me in my sleep, or that the floorboards will give way and send my bookcases crashing through.

  4. November 15, 2009 11:23 am

    I’ve been trying to have a little more self-control (entering fewer contests, not going to the used bookstore as often) but I’d never make it if I had an outright ban on buying books. I think it would actually entice me to buy more. Lately I’ve been having a lot of fun with Paperbackswap, and it’s been nice to get rid of some books I don’t want and receive those that are on my wishlist.

    • November 15, 2009 11:32 am

      Alyce – That’s the smart way to do book swapping, I think. My problem was that I’m such a book hoarder that I never wanted to give away my own books, so I’d get books from the library booksale for the express purposes of listing them on bookmooch, which did nothing to shrink my personal stacks.

  5. November 15, 2009 11:29 am

    No book bans for me, thank you very much. Obviously, the problem lies not with my acquisitions but with me. I just need to read more and faster. :) Happy purging and reading!

    • November 15, 2009 11:34 am

      Frances – I was thinking much the same thing the other day when someone asked me for my wishlist for Christmas. What I really want is not necessarily more books, but more guilt-free leisure time to read my books. Do you think they list that at Amazon? :-D

  6. November 15, 2009 12:04 pm

    I tried banning myself from buying books in the past and always had difficulty keeping to it. I tended to binge big-time as a result after abstaining for a while, which wasn’t so good either.

    I probably should go through my books and do another purge. It’s about that time. I probably don’t do that often enough. My TBR books are overflowing in my TBR room though. Not having enough shelf space doesn’t keep me from adding to my collection, I’m afraid.

    I hope you have a great week and good luck finding new homes for your books!

    • November 16, 2009 9:38 pm

      Literary Feline – I have definitely binged from time to time too. So it goes.

  7. November 15, 2009 12:05 pm

    No book buying ban here even though I’m out of shelf space. I admit to an addiction, but I don’t want a cure.

  8. November 15, 2009 12:54 pm

    I’ve been on a ban for about two months now, and while it’s kept my TBR from growing, it hasn’t done much in the way of actually making it go down :S The main problem is that I didn’t ban Bookmooch – I might have to adjust that in 2010, but I worry it’ll make me cranky too.

    • November 16, 2009 9:39 pm

      Nymeth – Keeping the TBR steady is a good start! I feel like there have to be some exceptions for Bookmooch, or else missing the books you really do want will make you crazy – I know it would me!

  9. Shanra permalink
    November 15, 2009 1:20 pm

    I’m on a book-buying ban. Both for cost and space reasons. (Mostly the cost. I don’t – can’t – use the library because years of experience have taught me ours does not have the books I want to read.) I did add in several caveats to help me stick to the rules, though. The last/first time I tried to ban myself from buying books was back in March. It failed abysmally.

    This time, it’s working a little too well. I have neat little rules of when I’m allowed to get a book to assuage the buying urge, reached one and… I have a buying block! Of all things! (I think it’s the fact that I’m only allowed one book buy. I can’t choose which I want the most! Even from the can-count-on-one-hand list of books I want the most!)

    Good luck with the acquisition limit and purging!

    • November 16, 2009 9:40 pm

      Shanra – Oh no! A buying block sounds almost as bad as a TBR block!

  10. November 15, 2009 1:32 pm

    I’ve been on a book buying ban for a while now but an occasional used book slips through. Between my husband’s stacks of mysteries and my mooches we really need another bookshelf!

    • November 16, 2009 9:42 pm

      Gavin – I’m guessing there are very few people around here that couldn’t find a use for another bookshelf!

  11. November 15, 2009 2:44 pm

    I’m not exactly on a “book buying ban”, but I am more on a “book buying restriction” mind! I have established some rules on my buying : no more hardcovers, no more “first in a series” until I actually read some series, no more “book from an author I have never read of but already have 3 books of in my TBR pile”… It makes bookshopping more difficult (but not impossible). I still can’t see my TBR get smaller though. I’m pretty sure I’ll be crushed by it any day now!

    • November 16, 2009 9:44 pm

      Kay – “no more “book from an author I have never read of but already have 3 books of in my TBR pile”” That’s a huge one for me. I also buy sequels before I’ve read the first book, which I need to stop doing.

  12. November 15, 2009 3:06 pm

    I did a big purge, about 50 books in the last couple of weeks, but unfortunately I’ve probably got that many books coming back in that were acquired during the same time.

  13. November 15, 2009 6:41 pm

    I’m on a book buying reduction plan, which unfortunately is about as successful as my cookie eating reduction plan. But I too am out of shelf space and I have books crammed on closet shelves that I really need for legitimate closet things! I think I need to get serious about both my reduction plans!

    • November 16, 2009 9:46 pm

      rhapsody – Hee hee hee. Hopefully none of your books are cookie cookbooks!

  14. November 15, 2009 9:09 pm

    I feel the need to purge books every so often just to feel better about my bookshelves! I don’t say a word, though, because if I rethink than I won’t get rid of anything!

  15. November 15, 2009 9:40 pm

    No, I can’t see myself on a book buying ban. I’d have to give up other things first, less essential things, like, oh, food and water.

    • November 16, 2009 9:47 pm

      debnance – As long as there’s enough to pay rent so that there’s somewhere to store said books.

  16. November 16, 2009 1:06 pm

    lol-I’ve been on a book buying ban for two years, but I have a wonderful library. The no library ban idea just makes me depressed!

    • November 16, 2009 9:49 pm

      Eva – I’ve got a great library too, but there’s just something about having my own books around me all the time that I can’t get away from.

  17. November 16, 2009 1:52 pm

    I’ve been purging lately too. I have one box all packed up and ready to go to the library, and 3 more boxes to go through. Most of those will probably go to the library too.

    But, in the spirit of helping you with your purge…If you still have Seeing Redd available I’d mooch it from you! My BM ID is Lallybroch.

    • November 16, 2009 9:50 pm

      Melissa – Wow, that’s impressive! (Also, Seeing Redd is listed and reserved for you.)

  18. November 16, 2009 8:47 pm

    You made the right decision on Vanity Fair IMHO. I read that during my junior year in high school and it just kept going and going and going. I can’t say that I would keep any of the books you listed. I did read and enjoy Little Children, but I rented it from the library. You can do the same thing. :)

    • November 16, 2009 9:54 pm

      Lit House – I had a friend borrow Vanity Fair and have the same experience, so I decided to throw in the towel on that one. Little Children was a good movie, but I don’t know that I’d like it so much in book form.

  19. November 16, 2009 10:19 pm

    I’m a giant sucker for used book stores, clearance sections, and discounts. Oh, and the “I need another book to get Amazon free shipping!” That gets me every time.

    I’m on an informal book ban, which basically just means I don’t get to go to used bookstores and buy things just to make myself feel better or because I’m bored.

    I don’t have Bookmooch, but I sort of want that Wally Lamb book. I can go through some books I’m thinking about getting rid of and see if you want one for a trade outside of Bookmooch?

    • November 20, 2009 9:26 am

      Kim – I have been making a concerted effort to stay away from the friends of the library booksale – to the point of only letting myself go to the library on days when I know it isn’t open.

  20. liz (aka Conan) permalink
    November 17, 2009 7:40 pm

    Oh you must read Tales of the City/ such a great book! move that one to the top

    • November 20, 2009 9:27 am

      liz – Too late! It’s been purged. If I get a hankering for it at some point in the future, I’ll have to get it from the library.

  21. November 18, 2009 12:07 am

    Seeing Redd is really good can’t wait to reaed Archenemy! Oh and White Oleander is awesome, I’ve read it twice. The others I’m not so fond of and have even gotten rid of my copy of one or two. Hope someone out there enjoys these!

    • November 20, 2009 9:28 am

      Ladytink – I couldn’t get into The Looking Glass Wars at all, no matter how I tried, so Seeing Redd is getting cut.

  22. November 18, 2009 1:50 pm

    I’m not sure I need any of those books – tho I am curious about Little Children. It’s just that I really want to carve my own dent into my tbr before I add more as well. I wouldn’t mind being your friend in bookmooch: look for bkclubcare – that’s me!

    • November 20, 2009 9:29 am

      Care – I totally understand about cutting into your own TBR first… I’ve stopped entering very many contests for exactly that reason.

  23. November 19, 2009 3:39 pm

    I’m one of those people who likes to own the books I read. So I usually go on huge book buying sprees where I buy too many books at a time and only get through half of them before going and buying more. I own something like 1200 books and about 400 of them I haven’t read. It is a disease, I swear.
    Now that I am in the process of moving, I feel like I need to purge my books, but I really don’t want to. I just love the feeling of having all of those books at my fingertips.
    Needless to say, I don’t think I will be buying very many books in the future. There just isn’t enough room in the new apartment.

    • November 20, 2009 9:30 am

      Allie – The idea of moving all of those books is definitely purge-inducing. I had a similar experience before I moved in July. Good luck!

  24. November 21, 2009 7:50 pm

    I don’t have enough books that I own to do a book purge, I mostly get all the books I read from the library. I’m known for sitting at the bookstore for 5 hours to read a book.


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