Someone Who Gets It

Last week, a friend came over to my place for lunch. She hadn’t been over before, and in fact, I don’t think visited my last apartment, either. It was a bit of a surprise to her, I think, to see my shelves and shelves of books. They surrounded us as we sat on my couch and chatted, so naturally we wound up talking about them.

She bemoaned the fact that most of her books are currently in storage, and said she’d been thinking about getting an ereader of some sort, but that seeing my collection made her remember the things she liked about physical books. The sensory input of turning a page, of seeing the cover every time you pick it up, of having the books on display as a design element in the room, the smell of an old book, that sort of thing.

It made me smile. This is the sort of person I roadie for. She gets it.

People who hear about my books and say, “so when are you getting a Kindle?” don’t get it. People who say “ooooh, now’s a perfect time to cull your books!” when you mention you’re moving don’t get it. Folks who have never walked into a used bookstore and closed their eyes and breathed deep with a blissful smile don’t get it.

They are not my Right People, to use one of Havi’s words.

And that’s okay! Not everyone has to be a bibliophile.

But for those folks who get it, I am here to say, Awesome, dude. I get it too. Let’s do this.

Hi. My name is Ealasaid, and I’m a bibliomaniac.

Happy New Year, all!

So, the lovely Kyeli has instituted a Book-Buying Ban for 2011. She owns a number of books she hasn’t read yet, you see, so she’s going to read them this year instead of buying new ones. She posted a pic of some of her unread books, and I couldn’t resist responding here with a photo of mine:

My To-Read shelves
My To-Read shelves

Yeah. I have kind of a lot of books to read. A total of 175, actually, I just ran and counted. Plus the 10 books I’m reading right now (ten, wtf, that’s a little ridiculous, even for me), and a small handful of comics. I own more unread books than some folks’ own books, period. Sheesh.

A while ago I tried instituting a sort of half-ban on buying books. I decided that for every 20 books I read and removed from my to-read shelves, I would allow myself to buy a few books. Not too many. It didn’t work. See, I included a loophole for authors I collect and subjects I collect, and I could make a justification for almost anything. Plus, at that point people tended to give me books or bookstore gift cards for presents. The only reason I have fewer than 200 books on those shelves is I did a purge a couple months back. Any book I wouldn’t be willing to buy if I didn’t already own it went into the get-rid-of pile. It wasn’t easy.

And, well, almost immediately after doing it, I went to Powell’s Books up in Portland and dropped about $300 on another 21 books. I sometimes joke that I’m doing better than I did back in college, when I had a $30/week habit, year in, year out. The college and university bookshops were my Kryptonite, man. So many awesome books!

I briefly considered doing some kind of similar ban to Kyeli’s, but quickly decided not to. I don’t do resolutions for New Years, and that kind of flat out denial doesn’t come easily. I am, however, making a conscious effort to read more. Yes, I probably already read more than the vast majority of Joe Schmoes, but I don’t read as much as I wish I did. I love reading and I have spiffy new reading glasses, so I’m’a get my read on in 2011. No specific goals, just the intention to churn through the unread shelves a little.

How many unread books do you have as we start the new year?