So back in September I stopped buying books to try and spend more time in my local libraries. You can read about that here. Since then I’ve committed to only reading books borrowed from the library until December 1st. So far I can honestly say that the experience has been a great one. I’ve come across some novels that probably wouldn’t have risen to the top of my TBR pile and even a couple that weren’t on it at all. I’ve come to embrace the joys of going into to the library and picking up whatever takes my fancy without having to engage in the agonising choice of this book or that book because I only have enough money for one. There is also less guilt involved (provided you bring the book back in time :-).
I still have many many books unloved and unread on my shelf BUT I don’t get that sinking feeling when coming out of a bookshop with an armload of goodies that I have a problem and should really learn to control myself because I still need to pay the electricity bill and sure don’t I already have a load to read at home. Borrowing from the library has also focused my reading primarily because the book has an in built expiry date. If I don’t read it now I’ll have to return it unread and that’s just not going to happen.
This is not to say there haven’t been stumbling blocks. The autumn is a great month for new releases and lots of reviews of new books that I would love to get my hands on have been popping up on my twitter and bloglovin feeds. Not buying books means that you are less likely to get that immediate thrill that comes from a new release. You CAN borrow new release books from the library but they are usually popular and there might be a waiting list. This is fine if you’re patient but can be a bit painful if you’re not.
Then there is the fact that bookshops are like valium to me. They have a calming effect and my default setting is often to browse a bookshop whenever I’m a bit stressed. Browsing in bookshops is also something Mr. NPC and I do as a couple and some of my happiest moments are goofing into town on a Saturday morning to wander around the city’s independent bookshops before breaking for lunch and chatting about our respective hauls. There were a couple of moments during last month where I had to take several deep breaths and drag myself away from the shop as they were offering discounts on Booker long-listed releases (amongst other things) and it seemed like such a good deal and….well suffice to say I managed to exercise restraint, but only just.
I still have a few weeks to go with this challenge but I’ve definitely learned a lot. I’ll be writing up a full summary of my experiences in December but, in the meantime, I’d encourage you to spend some time at your library. Even if you borrow one or two books/dvd’s/cd’s a month, or even just take advantage of the quiet space and use of the internet, you’re sending a message they are a valuable and important part of our society. Who knows, you might even find your next big read?