Is it possible to have too many books?
Can you relate to this clip from The Gilmore Girls?
Is your TBR pile dangerously high?
Do you have a fear of running out of books to read?
Did you answer:
b) Well, yeah.
d) Seriously? YES!
Welcome to the first online meeting of Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous.
When did you first discover you were a bookaholic? My story began innocently enough on the day I got a library card. I scorned Dewey Decimal in favor of wandering down the aisles waiting for my next read to speak to me. (Do I look like a little girl who would grow up needing intervention?)
I clearly remember my very first used bookstore fix. Piles and piles of books, spiraling to the sky. Chaos reigned. There were as many books shelved as not. I began to twitch as I lost myself for hours. I left with bags of books, including Irish Thoroughbred (Nora Roberts), Sweet Savage Love (Rosemary Rogers) and sixteen Dell Candlelight Ecstasy Romances. Clearly someone should have recognized I had a problem. Soon I was living on the streets. Just me and a grocery cart of books.
1993 was my first attempt at rehab. I traded in all 50 copies of my Janet Dailey, Americana Series. Each book was set in a different state. Beginning with Alabama's, Dangerous Masquerade and ending with Wyoming's Darling Jenny.
Unfortunately around this time a powerful and insidious new drug hit the streets. Online bookstores.
Thus began my rapid spiral downward into the abyss of no return. Books arrived daily. I hid them under the mattress, in the trunk of my car and in my darkest hour I traded Dove dark chocolate for books.
At my first meeting of BNSA, (Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous) I discovered I am not alone. Lusting after books is a disease that affects 25% of all people world-wide. There is no cure but there are guidelines to control the disease.
THE TENETS OF BNSA
1. Repeat after me. All books are not keepers. All books are not keepers.
Brace yourself. The first tenet is harsh but once you absorb this concept you are on your way to a addiction free future.
2. You must clearly differentiate between needs, wants, and desires.
Needs constitute basic survival.
Wants are more general and change with various factors such as time, maturity.
Desires are unique and specific based on your unique personality and history. Desires are similar to wants with more emotional attachment.
So you need a thesaurus. You want the latest Jim Butcher, Dresden File series. But you desire (MUST HAVE), Mary Connealy's, Wildflower Bride.
3. RESIST impulse buying. Impulse purchases are unplanned and spontaneous.
You think you have a copy of Ruth Logan Herne's,Winter's End, but your TBR pile is so tall you clearly can't remember. You go ahead and buy another copy because the cover is lovely, and OMG, what if you don't have it? Naturally, you plunk down your mocha latte money---only to discover later that you now own two copies of Winter's End. (Not a bad thing, however with a little planning you could have pre-ordered her next release, Waiting Out The Storm.)
4. Stick to a budget. Successful recovery depends on successful planning. Are you in denial? Do you fail to budget for your books, turning every purchase into a dirty little secret? Experts say you should budget 5% for entertainment. If your needs (see #2 above) require more, I suggest you get a job at a bookstore with a generous discount for employees. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
5. Create boundaries. This is a very simple yet powerful tool. For every book that comes into the house, one must go out. Boundaries. Note: the flimsy booklet that comes with your major appliances is not a book. No cheating.
6. Define a keeper. Keepers are those books that you read over and over again because they guarantee the same emotional satisfaction each and every time. So a Keeper is (re)read depending on what emotional needs you require at any given time. Your Keeper shelf should be as varied as your emotions. A well stocked Keeper shelf is the foundation of recovery.
7. Consider joining a support group for bookaholics such as Library Thing. You can meet others like yourself, satisfy your inner librarian, and best of all, you can catalog your books. That should keep you out of trouble for a few years!
Today Seekerville has tackled a serious problem and we hope that if you recognize yourself you'll seek treatment.
Oh, and one lucky bookaholic will receive a surprise biblio-desire. And for your Keeper shelf we are giving away a copy of Courting Miss Adelaide by Janet Dean.
Two winners will be announced in the Weekend Edition.