The trials and triumphs of a book lover

I love books. I love them. I really, really do. I tinker with other hobbies and pastimes but I always come back to books. And I hate being without a good book on the go. It makes me feel sort of lost and empty. I often find it quite difficult to find ‘new’ books to read (I find Amazon quite useful for recommendations) but, luckily, I’m happy to read my real favourites again and again.

A while ago Laura at Move To Portugal wrote a post on clearing her book collection and asked how many books her readers had. Mildly curious, I counted up how many books were on the two cases in our living room. There were over 300. I should point out that there are more books on the shelves in our alcove, in boxes in the cupboard under the stairs and also in boxes in my parents attic. Basically, even after donating several hundred books to the local charity shops over the last few years, my collection well surpases the 1000 mark. This seems like an embarrassing excess but I’m just being honest. I begin to see where all of my money has been going over the years! In fairness to myself, the majority of these books have been bought second hand and many have been given to me but still. I’m at capacity – there is no more space for new books until we move (I have secret fantasies about one day having a little room of my own with shelves on every single wall. It might happen. You never know). Aside from the fact that I’m not supposed to be spending too much right now. So what’s the answer for someone like me who is currently averaging three books a week?

The library. Obviously. Holly (at Shopaholly) wrote a great post recently about supporting local libraries which I hope everyone will do if they value them at all. I visit mine at least once a week but usually twice, particularly if it is the week for the nursery rhyme and music session which Baby loves. Did I ever think I’d be rocking the Grand Old Duke Of York at 9.30am in a public space? Probably not. It’s great though and the little ones love it, particularly when they get the shakers and tambourines out.

Anyway, this year I’ve started ordering books through my local library that I might otherwise have bought (sorry to any authors out there who are missing out on some £s. I’ll be buying again at some point!). This service costs 50p per title if you order it online and £1 if you order it in person at the library. For me, this is a winner; I get to read loads of books that wouldn’t usually be in stock (my library is well stocked but at the end of the day its a small one) plus I don’t have to buy them or store them afterwards. Genius! The only drawback is that the librarians are now far more aware of my slightly, er, ecclectic reading tastes (‘The Hunger Games? It says here it’s a young adults book. Are you sure that’s the right one?’.). I’ve just read Anthony Capella’s latest offering – The Empress of Ice-Cream. Incidentally, does anyone else just love Anthony Capella? I never hear anything about him. Massively underrated in my opinion. I digress. If I start talking about what else I’ve been reading we’ll be here all day. My point is, if you don’t already do it, start ordering books from your library. Even though there is a small charge it is such a cheap form of entertainment, particularly if it means you get to read lots of new or obscure titles that you might otherwise have to buy.

Anyway, if I’ve been a bit quiet around here it’s because every time I’ve had five minutes to myself my nose has been happily buried in a book!

Categories: Book love, Shoestring Fun | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “The trials and triumphs of a book lover

  1. You’re the first one that understands. Life without books just isn’t life. 1000 books doesn’t sound even mildly indulgent to me. I love libraries too. The library can cope with mainstream but book shops are needed for the obscure. And if we have our book cases on outside walls (on the inside obviously) then they are really good insulation!

    • shoestringalley

      Ah, bless you for not judging me and my book shopping! Also, I never thought of the insulation argument. Maybe I could squeeze another bookcase in after all…

  2. If it helps, authors in the UK do get some royalties from public library lending – the PLR scheme handles that ( so don’t feel too bad about it!

  3. shoestringalley

    Yes, I had heard they got some royalties but thanks for the link. Now I can find out a bit more about it and ease my conscience! I do like to make a point of buying books by authors that are still going to make sure they keep getting published but the budget won’t stretch forever!

  4. I have been so bad about visiting the library, but I have it on my list to take the kiddos there as soon as we get a spare minute. I don’t think I’ve been there since I was in high school maybe, before the internet really existed.

    My husband spends a lot of money on books, technical ones. He thinks the libraries don’t have the latest titles, which is important for someone on the cutting tech edge. But then again, he’s never tested this theory, so we might be surprised.

    • shoestringalley

      Ooh, go! Our library has a great kids section and it means Baby has always got something new to look at/try to chew the corners of.

  5. laura

    No judging from me either…I could quite easily own 1000 books tomorrow, I love them….just don’t want to ship them!! 🙂

    I anticipate buying them again when I’m in Portugal because I’m not sure on the availability of english reading books.

    When you move you should so have a library wall!

    • shoestringalley

      I never thought about the whole language thing re. books when you move…

      As for when I move…is it too much to ask to have a room will shelves on every single wall full of books, a comfy chair and a desk? (Answer: yes. There’s no way we can afford a house big enough to have a spare room just for my books. I really ought to start buying lottery tickets 🙂 ).

  6. I love my books, too! I’m a minimalist will everything else, but when it comes to books I’m flat-out a hoarder, I think. One day the library will receive a great donation from me, but for now, I love having my office lined with bookshelves. I love knowing that I’ve every last one of the pages (minus some indexes) of so many wonderful books. 🙂

    • shoestringalley

      An office lined with books? I am officially jealous! Glad to know I’m not the only book hoarder out there 🙂

      • Don’t be jealous. The office isn’t the size of a living room, so being lined with books is a bit more humble than it sounds. 🙂

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