So a couple of weeks back, I mentioned that I was in a bit of a reading slump after reading soooooo many books in July and August. My brain just couldn’t take any more, resulting in me needing a bit of a break. In that post, I gave a quick shout out to my TBR pile – a collection of a gazillion books that didn’t seem to be going down (it still doesn’t…).
I have over a hundred unread books. Part of my goal this year was to try and bring that number way, way down. But the joy that is books and the bookish communities on Instagram, YouTube, Goodreads, Amazon recommendations and bookshops themselves resulted in me buying as many books as I’ve been reading. Which is a terrifying factoid, because I have read A LOT OF BOOKS SO FAR.
I have tried to be on a book buying ban, and the results have been … ok … but there are still a couple of newbies that have snuck in.
I swear I don’t know how they got here!
It hasn’t bothered me too much before. Books will always be there. It’s not like buying masses of food that will go mouldy if you don’t eat it; books are for life! (amIright?!) So, who cares how big the collection gets? I’ll read them eventually.
Along with the other reasons I gave for my slump, one of the factors affected my reading is the feeling of pressure. I feel under pressure to read more books. And that is a problem. As anyone who has gone through school knows, being pressured into reading automatically makes a person not want to read. Reading because you “have to” makes it a chore/slog/duty, rather than something fun/entertaining/relaxing which it is supposed to be.
I’ve also noticed, and I’ve seen this mentioned somewhere else before, how a lot of the posts and joy in online bookish communities (specifically Instagram and definitely Booktube) comes from book HAULS. People showing what/how many books they have bought or been given. No one yet knows anymore about these books than what is on the blurb or press release. No one doing these hauls has an opinion on the books they are showing. They haven’t read them yet.
Friends of ours have a six-year-old son and they had to stop him watching certain toy channels on YouTube because he was becoming obsessed with them and it was having a detrimental effect. I commented at the time (without giving any thought to the content I was watching) that it was Capitalism at it’s finest – making you buy things under the guise of entertainment. But this message actually clicked in my head when this was pointed out in post somewhere (I can’t remember where or who, sorry!). That book hauls are empty things that just display to you the accumulation of something, and then discussing it in an almost arbitrary way (of course they’re excited to read the books; they just bought them), giving the audience a longing for a book they know nothing about and a lifestyle that involves the purchasing of books. Something not recommended if your bank balance is looking a little dusty of late.
And, there is a second string to the bow of ‘Books will always be there’. Yes. Exactly. Which means you don’t have to buy them straight away!! Even things that are out of print can be picked up from somewhere (examples: my copies of The Exquisite Corpse and At Swim, Two Boys, although the latter has had a new reprint this year).
So, I’ve stopped watching book hauls and TBR videos on YouTube. It’s amazing how many videos I have now stopped watching because of that. And I have so many books already – all beautiful and waiting to be loved! I want to get out of the habit of ‘immediacy’. Of wanting things instantly in this world where you can have most things at the click of a button. I’m hoping the results will not only be a healthier bank account, but a healthier lifestyle too ❤
That doesn’t mean that I’m anti-book communities and that if you have a certain lifestyle when it comes to getting or buying books then you’re wrong. That’s not true at all. I just know that I feel a lot of pressure at the moment with all the books I already own, and that’s not really a good thing.
Looking at it from a different perspective, readwithcindy on BookTube has a great new video on why she only owns four books (I mean … WOW). And she has a lot of really good points in there. Is it for everyone? No, of course not. I don’t think there’s anyway I would stop getting books for myself as it’s something I’ve come to enjoy, and being surrounded by books actually brings me a lot of comfort too. But I do think it’s interesting to look at the reasons behind why you purchase books and whether that is actually the best approach to have.
What’s your take on TBRs and hauls? Am I just a crazy person with no self control? Let me know down below!!