Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Salon: Too many books?

Usually I'd be the first one to say that one can never have too many books. That way you are never without a good story to get lost in. Plus there are certainly worse, and weirder, things to collect and surround yourself with. However, looking at my double-stacked, jam-packed, sagging-in-the-middle book shelves, I have to wonder if there actually can be such a thing as too many books. Living in a small-ish Japanese apartment doesn't help either as we simply don't have any extra space for more shelves.

My book collection really went a bit wild when we were living in England. Far too many book stores to tempt me, with their sales and all those shiny covers beckoning. After having lived in Japan for a few years it was like heaven to have big book stores full of books in English! I don't remember now how many exactly, but we did have quite a few boxes of books, mostly mine, when we moved back to Japan. And then when we moved a couple of years ago, from one side of Tokyo to another, my books alone filled something like 30 or 40 boxes!

What has me especially thinking of this now though is the prospect of moving them yet again. With an international move likely early next year, I look at my loaded shelves and feel bad for the books there that I haven't read yet. Some that came with me from England and are still sitting there waiting to be read. And I think of the packing. Although the unpacking of the books on the other end is always fun! Like Christmas! Or is that just me?

Books. They're heavy. They take up a lot of space. But they also provide hours of pleasure, and I can't imagine my life without them. However, I've decided that I really shouldn't be adding more to my shelves in the meantime. I'm looking at you Book Depository and your 10% off sales that make me buy more books! ;)

So I've decided to go on a kind of personal book-buying ban, and I'm mentioning it here to hold myself accountable. Completely cold turkey is just too hard but I'm going to be quite strict with myself. So I'm only allowed to buy at most 6 books (one each month) for the remainder of the year. Mostly to allow for any new releases that I absolutely must have (like 1Q84!). I'm also still allowed to accept a few books for review if they interest me and I think I'll be able to read them, and especially if they're ebooks, but I will really limit those as well. And entering the odd giveaway is allowed, if it's a book I really want. But no more book buying! Or technically, almost no more book buying! Wish me luck! And feel free to yell at me if you see me wavering!

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop
On the positive side, even though I do hate to part with them (yes, I'm a book hoarder), I'm also going to be giving some books away here over the next few months. Ones that I'm pretty sure I won't read again and that hopefully someone else will enjoy. So it's good for you. By the way, if you haven't got your name in yet, tomorrow is the last day to enter my Japanese Literature Giveaway for 3 contemporary JLit stories, and this coming Saturday I'll have a few literary titles to share with you for the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop, so be sure to check back.

Is there such a thing as too many books?

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  1. I know exactly what you mean. I have a small home too and don't have a lot of room for more bookcases. I did a purge earlier in the year so that all my unread books fit on a single bookcase without double-stacking. I'm trying hard to keep them from expanding. If I want to buy a new unread book, I have to make room or read it immediately.

  2. Good luck with your book buying ban! I think it is a good idea not to go cold turkey because that might have been too hard to keep.

    You could also use your books as prizes for the Hello Japan! challenges?!

  3. I hear ya on too many books but I still can't help myself. We mover every three to five years too and the movers look at me with hate in their eyes when they encounter my bookshelves. Hubby bought me a Kindle for my birthday a Couple of years ago but that hasn't made things any better expept for limiting the number of physical books that come in the door. Good luck with your challenge! I admire your focus and determination but I'm strong enough yet. ;)

  4. Good luck! I know the feeling when you look at your shelves and the piles of books keep growing and growing. The only way is not to go to bookshops or online shops;P

  5. Well, maybe. But we have to consider our circumstances and space issues.

    I live in a downsized space and do have a LOT of books, which overwhelm the space. Now the presence of the books doesn't bother me, since they're neatly stacked in shelves or on top of things, like coffee tables, etc.

    I did have some (unread) ones on my bedroom floor, which was an issue when I had the carpets cleaned. This involved a bit of rearranging, etc.

    Now I've moved some things around, and nothing is on the floor now. But yes, I should reduce them. My son says my stuff (not just books) could be a fire hazard. I think he's overreacting. LOL


  6. No, I think it's impossible to have too many books. However, I'm slowly reducing the number of books on my shelves. Bring one in, take one out. That's my new philosophy.

  7. At some point during the last year, I've come to share your viewpoint - one CAN have too many books. But with occasional purges and reorganizations, I'm living with it :-).

  8. An international move?! Are you coming back to Canada?!

    I know the feeling about too many books. Every time I'm about to acquire a new-to-me title, I stop and ask myself, "Will I read this in the next 12 months?" if the answer is "no", I can't have it. Although I'm finding reference books don't count... LOL always loopholes! Glad to see you're not quitting cold turkey.

  9. I have a good-sized house and it's got a LOT of books in it. In fact, there are books in almost every room and they aren't all shelved. It's really a mess. I don't know what to do about it though. I wish that I had a reason to sort them and get rid of some of them! You're kind of lucky in that.

  10. I have too many books and too much stationery, so I've been working to downsize on both. Not easy to do because I'm "attached," though.

  11. I feel your pain. When I buy a new book I always chastize myself because there are always a box or two of books in storage for every new book I buy. Ugg!

  12. I love buying books, but sadly I don't have enough room for the. I have to try very hard to not buy nearly as many as I would like... It would be different if I had more room, though.


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