I’ve been thinking about this lately. A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me how long have I been collecting books. I said years and years. Then she said, rather skeptically, “Really? I thought it’s only been going on since you started blogging.” This gave me pause. I’ve been a reader for most of my life. I remember growing up in the Philippines and devouring as many books as I can that was available to me. Back home in the province, you can rent books for five pesos (equivalent to about $0.12 nowadays). That was all I could afford. Needless to say, I had a tiny collection of books. Fast forward to the present, and several bookshelves later, my house is now my personal playground. Even so, this didn’t happen overnight. But is there some truth to my friend’s observation that since I’ve started blogging, I’ve become more prone to book shopping?
Let’s go down the memory lane…
Before I started blogging, I was not a card-carrying member of our bookstore. I read the books I have on hand before even thinking about setting foot to the nearest bookstore. Even then, I didn’t buy new books – always, always, used. One fateful night in 2007, I found myself at Walmart. There, in a clearance bin advertising an additional 30% off the cover price, was a pile of new books that I thought I should check out. The first thing I picked up had these on the blurb:
“About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be – that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”
For the next two years, I was wholly immersed in that fandom. After that, I found The Hunger Games. Then, The Mortal Instruments. Little by little, I kept going back to the bookstore in search of Young Adult books. So much so, that I was there at least three times a week in the hopes that there’ll be a new one that I have yet to own. In 2010, I discovered Goodreads.
I. Found. Books.
I found release dates for books.
I found series. Series!
Not long after that, I found bloggers. Then I became ambitious. I wanted to blog, too. So I did. Which, ultimately, brings me to the reason for the beginning of the end of my already porous self control:
In My Mailbox.
Book hauls, yo. Book hauls.
By the numbers.
My very first In My Mailbox was posted on August 14th, 2011. I posted my 126th book haul post last weekend. Let’s average my hauls to a conservative 8 books per episode. So taking that number, I’ve amassed 1,008 books in the last three years. Tell me this: is there such a thing as an acceptable number of book purchases per week? If I’d been consistently bringing home 10 books every week, does that make me a hoarder? Or someone who is just so incredibly passionate about books? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, it’s a bit of both. My reasoning is this: the books you take home are yours until you give them up.
I guess the real, honest-to-goodness question I need to ask myself is, do I feel the need to visit the bookstore every week just because I have to write a book haul post? I know the answer to this, but I’m in denial. Mostly, I’m a little ashamed to admit that yes, I do feel the need to go to a bookstore because I need to write a weekend post. I am honest enough to admit that. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t even matter what your reasons are for going to the bookstore weekly. All that matters is that you’re keeping the love for the printed word alive.
All that matters is that you’re reading.
I’ve become more susceptible to hoarding ever since I’ve started blogging.
But I regret nothing.
Regardless of when you decide to read them – months, years from now – they’ll be there waiting for you. Remember that a book is wasted when it’s used as kindling. A book loses its magic when you use it to prop a lopsided table. A book dies when it doesn’t serve its purpose. So please, keep your books. Hold on to them. Treasure them. Collect them. Because one of these days, technology will die. But hey, at least you’ve got books to pass the time.