The other day I posted a picture on Instagram with a bit about how it had led me to a revolutionary resolution. Here are the details of said revolution. It is not a book buying ban but a new way of looking at my books.
As I mentioned on Instagram, having filled this jar to the top and still having over ten shelves of adult fiction and two or three of kids fiction to add to it made me really stop and think about the amount of books I have. I said something to Rhys along the lines of 'if someone had 300 pies they'd not eaten everyone would think that was obscene and disgusting' and he looked at me like I was crazy. The (badly made) point is that while books obviously don't have the same kind of potential for going bad that pies do, I don't know what I'm stockpiling them for. Yes, I'm always going to want to read more books; it's in the nature of being a reader and I wouldn't want to change that. I love discovering new titles and getting excited about them. I love the smell of new books (and old books, come to think of it) and I really love the thrill of coming home laden down with bags of books, but when I'm asked what the point of owning so many books that I couldn't read them in a year, or probably even two even if all I did was read I don't really have an answer.
For years my answer has been 'well what if I only had a few books and finished one and didn't feel like reading any of the ones I had? I'm providing for that eventuality.' Obviously the answer to this is that I go to the library or borrow a book from a friend, but instead I've been using it as an excuse to buy more and more books. This is fine and I'm absolutely not judging people for acquiring large numbers of books, but in the spirit of my One Little Word project this year I'm trying to be more grateful for the things that I already have and think less about things that I might acquire at some point in the future. I'm also attempting to express my gratitude by not buying things unnecessarily and while that doesn't always work, here is a place where I can at least try.
Now at this point I know the sceptical among you (or just the long time readers of this blog) are remembering all the other times I've put myself on book buying bans, or pledged to cut back but I'm determined that this is going to be different. Firstly, I'm not viewing it as a ban because I know that as soon as I tell myself I can't do something, that's all I want to do, so instead I'm not thinking about not being able to buy books but focusing on all the amazing books I already own that I'm excited to read, and secondly I'm motivating myself extra by putting a charitable slant on it. Every time I finish a book that I don't love so much I must keep it and pass it on to everyone I know immediately, I will put it up for auction on eBay, starting at 20p (plus postage). ALL of the money from any books I sell there will go to Beanstalk, an awesome charity which helps kids to be better at reading, plus I will donate £1 to them for every book I sell in this way. Over the course of the year I may also do extra book related fundraising for them (24 hour readathon, some kind of sponsored Banned Books Week event. I don't know), and obviously if you feel like helping to spur me on with my insane resolution you can just donate through my JustGiving page at any time and make me feel like my not buying books is making a difference to someone!
I'm planning to do this until the end of 2015 and because I know I have no staying power I've decided to introduce a forfeit. For every time I buy books, I have to donate £25 to the charity. This should be a good deterrent because I have no extra money! Hold me to this, blogging friends. I'm determined!