Last spring, during several weeks of obsessive cleaning and decluttering, I got rid of 5 boxes of books (at least 100, though I didn’t count). I don’t normally think of books as clutter, but these were college textbooks, 1,000 or so books on obscure languages we don’t want to learn, dated current events books that weren’t from our political perspective. They were cluttering up the bookshelves and annoying me, so they went. After they were gone we looked at the newly-cleared shelf and realised what every bibliophile knows: Empty bookshelves were made to be filled.
We buy so many books every year. I know that we at least replaced what we got rid of in 2012. I pick up piles of children’s books every time I go to a yard sale or a thrift store. Tyler frequents Amazon’s used market. We always buy each other books for special occasions, and we inevitably spend the majority of our birthday money on new books. We have a small budget category marked ‘education’ which is supposed to be spent on things like distance courses, but somehow it always ends up going to more books. And as of November, we have an ongoing monthly date morning when a local thrift store puts books on sale for dimes a pound. I think we’ve added 70 or so just from the two months we’ve done that.
That bookshelf I cleared off? We had to throw it away because it sagged and collapsed under the weight of the books. I carefully organised the books by subject during my spring cleaning craze, and several shelves ended up with two rows of books. I noticed a couple of months that another shelf had come loose and was only held up by the double row under it. And recently another one bit the dust when I dropped a heavy set of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (representing, you know, my husband’s interest in theology and philosophy) and it took out half the bookshelf with it. We were having overnight guests, so I left dozens of books on the floor and shut off the office until they left.
I’ve become curious about exactly how many books we buy in a year and how much money we spend on them. There’s no way I’ll be able to figure out how many books we bought last year, so I decided to keep track in 2013. Today I took my Christmas money and Emma Jane’s and went to my favourite thrift store with the intention of spending it on clothes for Emma Jane and Ezra. No, I didn’t spend it on books instead. I did buy several books, though. It was the first book purchase of the year and I wondered where to write it down.
Then I thought it would be fun to keep up with it on my blog. Please understand that this is not intended to keep us accountable about spending too much money on books. Heresy! If anything, we’ll probably be encouraged to buy more. ‘Ooh, let’s see if we can break 100 in the first six months!’ Oh, and I’ll be counting gifts to us as acquisitions, but won’t count books we buy for others.
Thursday, January 3, 2012
The third day of the year. I bought nine books (that’s an average of 3 per day).
Farmer Boy, $0.99
(I’ve been trying to collect all the Little House books, some of my childhood favourites, for our children. I’m only short two now!)
The Complete Adventures of Curious George, $2.99
Eric Carle’s The Very Quiet Cricket, $0.99
(He’s Emma Jane’s favourite author.)
The Christmas Story, $0.99
(A vintage Little Golden Book, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. I have a lot of trouble finding Christmas storybooks I like and a quick skim showed that this one was lovely and Scripturally accurate.)
And my favourite find of the day:
All five volumes of Joel Beeke’s Building on the Rock series, $0.99 apiece.
That books-by-the-pound sale is Saturday. I can’t wait.
Totals so far: