Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why the shame?

Why do we book bloggers have a tendency to "confess" our book purchases rather than joyfully share them?  Why do we constantly evaluate the size of our to-read piles, and lament their growth?  Why do we hang our heads and apologize for coming home with new books?  Why the "oops" and the "confessions" and the "broken resolutions"?

Why do we make ourselves feel badly about indulging in our reading habits?  We read for pleasure, we read for intellectual stimulation, we read for our own character growth, we read for interest in other times and societies and situations, we read because we're tired or bored or sick or curious.  Buying books doesn't prevent us from using libraries; it supports book culture, and it gives us the opportunity not only to recommend a book to a friend, but press a copy into their hands and say, "here, try this - it's one of my favorites."

Yes, book-buying can make us short on space (but then, doesn't any other collecting habit?)  Yes, book-buying can add to the pile of books we've never read and are looking forward to trying out (but then, where's the harm in having exciting options on hand?)  Yes, book-buying can cost money (but then, isn't it worth saving on a few coffees and buying an experience that will last much longer?)

There are good reasons to be judicious in one's book purchases; there are good reasons to be thrifty; there are good reasons to be sensitive to one's spouse, partner, or roommate if he or she isn't also a book collector.  But if we've considered all of these things, and still selected a book to bring home with us, why not celebrate instead of presenting it to the blogging world with an apology?  Why be ashamed?  After all, we don't have to keep it once we've read it!

Evidently I'm in an introspective kind of mood today!  That's all from me today; now I'm back to Religion and the Decline of Magic (for schoolwork) and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (for fun).  Oh, and on the subject of not keeping books - I still intend to have a giveaway, once I've got the time to explain why Statues in a Garden (by Isabel Colegate, of The Shooting Party fame) wasn't quite my cup of tea.