Too Many Books?

Version 2I have too many books.

I know, I know.  Can you have too many books?  No, probably not.

But there comes a time when you (I) can’t fit them on the bookshelves anymore and might actually have to buy another house, just for books.  (And I’m exaggerating, but wouldn’t that be awesome?)

A couple of years ago, I made a commitment to only buy books that I wanted to reread.  I read 80-100 books a year, and while many of those are “new” books (as in, new to me), many of them are rereads.  I stuck with that commitment for a year or two.  When I moved, I did really well at reading exclusively on my Kindle.

Now, I like my Kindle.  I like the convenience of it.  I like that it’s light, and that I only need one hand to “turn” a page.  I like that it lays flat so that I can put it down and read hands-free.  I also like having lots of books with me, but not having to carry the physical weight of real books.

However.

I really like highlighting and writing in books.

When I was a kid, I hated that.  Even when we were supposed to highlight, like in books for college, it drove me crazy.  It felt destructive.  Now, I think that books are improved by highlighting and writing.  I love when I go to the used bookstore and find a gem that’s been written in.  It ties me to whoever had that book before me, like that 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, except that I won’t know who had the book before me and I’m not famous.

Anyway.

When I read The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, I really liked the book, but it jumps around in the timeline, going back and forth.  I read it on my Kindle, and it drove be crazy because it’s not easy to go back and glance at the chapter before to see “when” that one takes place.  I ended up buying the book twice because I want to reread it in physical form.  I feel like I missed things in my first reading because of the issues with timeline.

This is not the only book I’ve purchased twice for this reason.  Some books, I purchase multiple times on purpose.  I have three copies of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, including one on my Kindle.  Why?  I’ve read this book many, many times.  It’s one of my favorites, and I can pick up a copy, start reading anywhere and pass the time happily.

What about the library? you ask.

Another great question.

I love the library.  Love it.  My favorite use of the library is to read new books, during those times I can’t wait for the paperback.  Dean Koontz and JD Robb come to mind.

I discovered several great book series that way (Matched, Divergent, and The Mortal Instruments come to mind). However, when I realized I wanted to own two out of those three series, I put it off, feeling guilty about making the purchase.

And then one weekend (I’m a moody reader), I suddenly HAD TO read the Divergent series again.  No other book would do.  Because I developed this insatiable craving at night, I ended up purchasing the Kindle version.  Which was great, but I’m still going to purchase the physical book.

I read an article by a man who asked “What’s the point of reading a book that you don’t want to own?”

I don’t have to own every book I read.  I enjoy trashy romance novels at times, and I don’t feel the need to own every one I’ve ever read.  However, I do think there’s something to be said for owning books.  I get sentimental about my books, and I like to be able to browse my own shelves and come up with a book I’ve enjoyed.  Sometimes it’s nice to be able to look on the shelf for something I haven’t read before, and know that it’s there because I thought I’d like it.

So how about you?  Do you like to own your books or borrow them?

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One comment on “Too Many Books?

  1. Lea says:

    I am a buyer of books new and old. I’m not a big re-reader so most are new to me. I also try to limit my purchases especially of brand new books. My kindle is very important to me and I use the highlight function all the time. With the swapping idea I’m excited to be reading physical books again and it has spurred me to go back to my own shelves as opposed to buying kindle books as a first option.

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