The Joy of a Book-Buying Binge
[image description: bright white shelves full of books.]
Buying books is a slippery slope when you’re a book nerd.
There are always books you want and there are always new books being published, so it’s easy to keep a running list of books you want to read going. Even though I’m fortunate to live in a city where the library is well stocked, there are still some books they don’t have at all or don’t have in the format I want. Or the line for the hold is so long there’s no telling when I’ll actually get the book.
I’m also a believer in retail therapy.
I realize even being able to say that is a privilege because it’s hard to justify spending money on entertainment-type things, even books, when you have to pinch pennies and count every dollar. That was me until about 3 years ago, so I don’t take the opportunity I have now to buy new books for granted.
But even though I can afford to buy books now, I still try not to go hog wild. Again, slippery slope. Though occasionally, I treat myself. And this past weekend was one of those times.
Without boring you with a bunch of details, I’ve had a number of things in my life stressing me out for the past month. And stress exacerbates my anxiety. Which exacerbates my depression. Which makes it hard to find motivation to do things I love like writing and skating and being social. Which further exacerbates the anxiety and depression. Nasty cyclical shit.
However, regardless of how I’m feeling, reading is almost always something I have the energy to do. It doesn’t take much and as long as I don’t read anything too depressing while my mental health issues are flaring up, I can enjoy it. And enjoying things in life helps pull me out of depression. Lovely how that works. Books are magic!
So with all that’s going on lately, I took a good hard look at my rather long “books I want” list and said, “Fuck it. Let’s do this.”
Here’s what I bought:
All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung
Palestine by Joe Sacco
The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Dr. Lindsay Fitzharris
Cats I've Known: On Love, Loss, and Being Graciously Ignored by Katie Haegele
The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater: Essays on Crafting by Alanna Okun
Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country by Chavisa Woods
Cat Out of Hell by Lynn Truss
We Were Witches by Ariel Gore
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders
lLives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
Eleven books total. And I’m pretty sure I forgot a book or two off the list.
Reading is my primary form of self-care and I have to get books from somewhere. While I have complicated feelings about the commercialization and capitalistic co-opting of self-care, since it started as a term to encourage activists and those fighting for social justice to prioritize their own needs so they don’t get burned out, I’d be lying if I said buying books doesn’t make me feel really good. It does. I consider it a privilege to be able to buy the books I want and support the authors I care about while also taking care of my mental health.
Maybe the mental health stuff in this post doesn’t resonate with you and that’s okay. Consider yourself lucky. I talk about it because I feel that even though this is a book blog, books intersect with our lives in more ways than just reading on a surface level. Frankly, if reading was only a surface level activity for me, you’d get bored with this blog real quick because I would’ve have anything to say.
I don’t write about mental health stuff on my book blog to scare people or bring them or make them feel sorry for me. I do it because I know I’m not the only one out there who feels like this and I want the people who can relate to feel seen, heard, and understood. I also think that if you’re kind enough to give me your time and attention to read what I’m writing, I owe you transparency and honesty. This isn’t one of those blogs that’s all pretty pictures because that’s not what real life, reading life or otherwise, is actually like. I hope you appreciate that.
Maybe the list of books you want is smaller than mine. Maybe it’s larger. Maybe you have more disposable income that can be used to buy books or less. Maybe you don’t keep a list of books you want but instead let yourself be guided by what calls to you when you step into a bookstore. Whatever book buying looks like for you, whether it’s one book or a hundred, I encourage you to treat yourself. You deserve it.
And leave a comment and tell me what book(s) you’re going to get! I want to know. :)