January 10, 2013

On Being a Book Hoarder

If you've read either of my posts about my New Years resolutions or my goals for 2013, you know that I'm determined to tackle my TBR pile. Seriously, y'all, it just might end up burying me alive if I'm not careful. I also have another little goal - to write more posts that will encourage discussion. So I'm really excited to start a little feature I've named The Obsession Confessions.

I've already got several topics in mind, and I'm really excited to hear from you! I'll be confessing everything from strange reading habits to things that just make me want to throw a book across the room. And then I want to know what makes you tick, too. There are few things more interesting to me than learning about how people's reading habits.

So, to kick things off, I've chosen a confession that won't surprise anyone. I'm here to tell you that I'm a book hoarder. I'll get books for Christmas and birthdays, purchase Daily Deals, grab a bunch of books at the used book store (because goodness knows if I don't get them right then they'll be gone next time I come back) and throw in this random book that looked halfway interesting when I picked it up while in the checkout line at TJ Maxx. Next thing I know, there are 30 more books in my TBR pile.

I don't even get books for review! They're all brought into my home by choice and on purpose. And then they sit on my Kindle or bookshelf for months. Because if I go to the library, I'll read the ten books I got there before I ever pick up one that I've recently bought.

Is anyone else guilty of this? I have a friend who buys a book, reads it and then buys another. Just one after the other, and there's rarely a pile of books she needs/wants to read. Are you one of those? Teach me your ways!

Online shopping doesn't help this addiction. Does anyone think it's just a little to easy with the whole Add to Cart button and saved credit card information? Three clicks, and I've somehow bought another four books. My husband always says, "Well, there are a lot worse things to be addicted to. At least yours is good for your mind." Ah, but it isn't good for the wallet. Sigh.

The reason I chose this for my first post is because I'm adding a new tab at the top of my blog called "TBR Pile." I cleaned house this past weekend and put all the books I will never read in a box, and they're going to be finding new homes soon. When all that was done, I still had 119 books that I hadn't read. 119 books in my house or on my Kindle that are just waiting for me to explore.

How many books do most people have in their owned and TBR pile? Is mine ridiculously high? I feel like it is, and I find it a little embarrassing to admit that I have this book buying compulsion that causes me to buy things when I know I won't read them for months.

We are all so blessed to have such easy access to books, and I think I take that for granted. I just keep buying more, and I forget to slow down and read the stuff I already have. There are people who would love to have one book, and I've got over 100 that I haven't even read. I'm a little mad at my own waste, and I've been feeling a little guilty lately about how much I've been spending on books that I'm not even reading. Does anyone else ever feel this way? Tell me I'm not the only one! (But it's okay if I am.)

The new tab serves one main purpose - to hold me accountable. I need a list of all the books I own and haven't read posted publicly so that I will stay on track. These are all books purchased by me or gifted to me prior to January 1, 2013. My goal is to get the list below 50, and I'll be tracking my progress both on the tab and on a spreadsheet I've made for myself.

As Barney Stinson would say: Challenge accepted.

33 comments:

  1. Don't feel bad, Hannah - I have at LEAST 270 books on my shelves or on an ereader that I need to read. I am SUCH a book hoarder! And I have to stop by the bookstore tomorrow and I told myself I can get a little something for myself. *sigh* I do agree with your husband, BUT I wish I could be more like your friend. Come to think of it, I used to be a lot like your friend ... that would be so nice to just have books that I've read, rather than a HUGE pile of unread ones. Ah well ... they sure look nice!

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    1. Haha thanks for making me feel better about my book hoarding :) And yes, I wish I was more like my friend! I know I'll never be quite like that, but I do want to get better about not having books just lying around more months. But, as you say, they sure look nice!

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  2. Hi Hannah, another book hoarder here... I fully understand your problem with resisting the temptations of easy online shopping. I also must add that I absolutely can't enter a bookshop and leave it without buying at least one book. And, I am really glad that I don't own an e-reader (yet), because that would definitely make things worse. I haven't had the courage yet to count the books I own and haven't read, but, after reading how brave and determined you are, I might pull myself together... Thanks!

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    1. I rarely leave a bookstore without a book! I'll occasionally leave without one, but not that often. And yes, owning an e-reader has definitely made it worse! And good luck if you decide to count all your unread books lying around :)

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  3. I'm not a book hoarder, but I understand the temptation. Probably the only reason I'm not is that I don't own an eReader, and I don't have the space in the house. We have very small bookshelves and they are already filled. I'm also sort of a minimalist, so even bringing more library books into the house than I can read stresses me out!

    Good luck tackling your TBR pile this year - you can do it :-)

    Tanya Patrice
    Girlxoxo.com

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    1. Yeah, my e-reader has definitely contributed greatly to this little problem! I wish I was more like you! I really need to get better about culling my bookshelves of books I'll really never read or never re-read. There are just too many books in my house!

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  4. Right there with ya. My goal for 2013 is to read the books I own. I have hidden my library card and I'm focusing on my bookshelves which have runnith over. I have well over 120 books on my bookshelves and my Nook. I however can't get rid of books. I physically can't bring myself to do it. So let's do this thing. And go...

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    1. Yay for keeping each other on track! We're totally going to rock this year and conquer our TBR piles :)

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  5. I'm becoming a book hoarder, definitely. My TBR isn't as impressive as yours but it's starting to take over my entire room. I've got 30 that I haven't read and 6 that I've started reading but never finished - not because I didn't like them but because I got distracted by another title I wanted to read first. I don't have an ereader yet, so I think that keeps it pretty low.

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    1. I left about your mention of getting "distracted by another title" because that happens to me WAY too often! That's made my problem worse - I'll be reading a book and then one will come out and OF COURSE I have to buy it and start it right away... It's a never-ending problem :) And be glad you don't have an e-reader - that's definitely made my addiction worse!

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  6. Dont feel bad. I am pretty bad myself. I have month long book buying obsessions in which I go to the bookstore EVERY day and buy one book. Or I stop myself from doing that, then a few weeks in, I go and buy FIVE books. Its a never ending cycle. I've got 41 books physically sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read... We need help, I know.

    I've made a resolution to get through my TBR pile at home this year too. I'm with ya sister! Challenge accepted!!

    Manda C.
    http://isolemnlyswear.blogspot.com

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    1. Haha yes we do need help! It's definitely a good and bad obsession... And yay for your resolution to get through your TBR! We can do this!

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  7. You're not alone. I think this is a big issue in BookBloglandia.
    :)

    Good luck!
    You're right about us being so blessed.

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    1. Yes, I definitely think it's an issue in BookBloglandia. I don't read ARCs or books for review, but I think blogging has made me so much more aware of books that I want to read :)

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  8. Okay, I think I'm probably gonna stick out like a sore thumb, but here goes:

    "...I find it a little embarrassing to admit that I have this book buying compulsion that causes me to buy things when I know I won't read them for months." --> Is it odd that I also have this but I am not embarrassed by it? I really love books so much and I buy them all the time.

    As much as I love buying them, I LOVE passing them around among my tiny group of in-real-life reading friends. Often, when I buy a book or get a book for review, it makes rounds before or immediately after I read it and we have dinner for discussion. That's okay, right? It's kind of like a tiny library??

    Also, people collect things that they're interested in and love. I love books. I have a ton of books on my Kindle but I adore the ones on my shelves. I try to put ones on there that my husband will pick up and read or that my children will eventually read. And you KNOW that I re-read, so I'm getting good use of them.

    I think part of it for me, too, is in the thrill of the hunt. I LOVE going used book hunting. Finding one that I really want to read - even if it isn't super soon - how exciting, right? It's like a hidden treasure for only 75 cents or one dollar! SOLD! (Fact: I've never bought a book on my Kindle for full price, and I have some GREAT ones. Hundreds of them. I'm a super-great shopper. Not illegal either!)

    I don't know. I have no shame in this. I'd rather buy more shelves to house my books than give up the ones I know I'll read and re-read. THAT BEING SAID, I'm not opposed to doing swaps and trades or donations, and I do purge on occasion. But yeah, I often have to add shelves to the house. I'm fortunate to have enough room to do that.

    I guess I'm a total book hoarder, even though I don't really think of myself as one, and I have no shame in my game! I prefer to think that I have a fun home library. It's all in the acquisition, baby! :)

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    1. Haha no I don't think that's bad at all that you don't feel guilty! I think I just feel guilty about the fact that I own them and aren't actually reading them.

      And now it's my turn to say that I'm the odd one and have a hard time passing my books around. I used to be better about it, but I had so many times when a book I loaned to someone never got returned. For some books I didn't really care, but sometimes it was frustrating to basically lose a favorite book ESPECIALLY when the person never even read it. UGH! Haha.

      Love that you're trying to put ones on your shelf that your husband and kids will enjoy :) What a good wife and mama!

      And I rarely go to a used book store and mostly pay full price for Kindle books. Hence, the source of some of my guilt because I know I'm spending too much money on books. I need to get it in control for the sake of our budget! TEACH ME YOUR SHOPPING WAYS!

      Love love love that you have no shame! I don't think I'm so much embarrassed by owning a ton of books (because I really do want a large personal library) - I'm just feeling guilty about how much money I've spent on books that I've owned for a year or more and still haven't picked up. That's really what I want to correct!

      And I want to get better at sharing my books too :)

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  9. I love the HIMYM reference at the end!

    I never used to be a book hoarder until the very start of last year. Now I can't stop. I'm always buying kindle deals, but I always forget to read those because they are out of sight. And if I buy books online, I ALWAYS buy more than one, so I can get free shipping. It's usually the same thing at the bookstore, but not always.

    Plus, I always borrow many more books from the library than I can ever read! That doesn't bother me so much, though, because I'm helping the library's circulation :)

    You are definitely not alone in the book hoarders department!

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    1. I get sucked in by the Kindle deals, too. The worst part is that they aren't always books I'm dying to read and WHY am I buying books if I don't actually want to read them anytime soon? AND YES to buying more than one book online. I do that too!

      I'm also addicted to the library. It's great that they're free to me, but I do wonder why I check out 10 books when I have so many at home?

      Oh well, welcome to the book hoarders club!

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  10. I'm definitely a book hoarder. It's funny, because I don't think I used to be! I was honestly one of those people like your friend who would buy one book, read it, and then buy another. Lately though, it's like I need to have ALL THE BOOKS -- and that explains why I've got 64 physical books and countless Kindle titles (I'm afraid to find out how many) in my current "library".

    HOWEVER, my book buying habits have actually changed a little bit. Towards the end of last year, I realized the futility of buying all the books and NOT reading them, so I resolved to try to read the ones I had and therefore spend less. It worked out a bit, though I did get distracted by library books now and again. I'm hoping it keeps working this year!

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    1. Haha yes my book hoarding didn't use to be like this! I might buy a few at a time, but never more than that and I'd read those before moving on. I think blogging has made me feel more like I want all the books too :)

      And yay for your resolutions! Hopefully we can help each other stick to our goals. And saving money at the same time! Definitely a habit I need to develop.

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  11. I totally agree with what you said about how the easy online access to books DOES NOT help the book hoarders among us. More than 100 books is a lot (I think I'm on 50 or something) but still, building your own library is too much fun :) I always say that I'll get to the books eventually, but with all the new releases and my occasional visits to the library, my pile only seems to grow... so far my bank account is the only one who minds! Good luck on your TBR pile!! (Love the Barney Stinson reference!)

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    1. Glad you liked the Barney reference! Yay for HIMYM fans :)

      And I'm determined to make a dent in that pile this year! Hoping I can look back on 2013 and feel accomplished about decreasing that pile by a lot.

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  12. I am a book hoarder for life. I can't even stop myself. There are bookshelves in nearly every room of my house, all overflowing. I have piles of books on the floor in my bedroom. It's like an obstacle course. And still I BUY. But I'm with you this year: I'm tackling my TBR hardcore. I've already managed to read three books that I've owned for awhile this year, which is SO HUGE. I'm hoping that it's an indicator of how the year will go!
    I need to work on my instant gratification problem. I can log on to Amazon and do the "one-click" order, where you can literally buy a book by clicking JUST ONE BUTTON. It's the WORST! And the BEST, if I'm being honest. I don't think that I'll ever be able to stop buying books. It's the one pleasure spending thing that I allow myself with almost no restrictions: if there's a book that I want to buy, I buy it. Of course, this means that my TBR is enormous. Probably bigger than yours. But I'm tackling it this year, too! We can hold each other accountable!

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    1. YAYYYYY for another person tackling the TBR this year! I'm doing pretty good so far this year, which also gives me hope for the rest of the year.

      AND YES, the instant gratification thing is definitely a big part of the problem. I buy Kindle books with one-click ALL the time. And I'll get like five at a time. And then won't read them for months. That's where I really need to develop more self-control!

      We definitely need to hold each other accountable!

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  13. I am a hoarder of books too, and it has helped that I can now hide them on my e-reader. I will probably never read all the books I have but i will die happy, check out my Caffeinated Confessions on book spending: http://www.caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/2013/01/caffeinated-confessions-1-book.html

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    1. Haha yeah I definitely have a ton on my e-reader! It is NOT good for my book obsession :)

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  14. I just counted mine, 102 TBR, frig. I have been doing really well at not buying any, hopefully I can make a huge indent in those this year, it's my plan anyways.

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    1. Haha love that you just counted your pile! Here's to tackling the TBR in 2013!

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  15. Hi My name is Alysia and I am a book hoarder too! I have been blogging about my hoarding as well. I LOL here at my office when I was reading your post. I can totally relate and it's funny that we are sooo on the same path. For 2013 I completed a list of my books on 1/31/12 just to start knocking them off my list. Check out my post about this issue. Glad I am not alone. :)
    http://littlepocketbooks.blogspot.com/2012/12/my-bookish-resolution-for-2013.html

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    1. Hi Alysia! Glad to know I'm not the only book hoarder and that my post made you laugh :) Hope we're both successful this year and make a big dent in our TBR piles!

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  16. I'm totally a book hoarder and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit my TBR pile is over 300. I also feel guilty about it, especially when I really think about how excessive this is when many other people have so little. I had resolved to make a dent in my TBR pile and then I started blogging and getting review books from GoodReads & Shelf Awareness and while I LOVE getting my hands on new books, it doesn't help me read the ones I already have! This year my husband and I are buying a house so I think my desire to save money will finally trump my book habit, at least temporarily. (It's not like I'm actually going to run out of books to read any time soon!) I don't have an e-reader, but my weakness is used bookstores, half.com, and bargain bins everywhere. I can't resist a good deal on a book I'm interested in, but if I'm honest with myself about the fact that I haven't actually read most of them, I'm not really saving anything! Anyway, good to know I'm not alone :)

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    1. Yay for making a dent in that pile this year! I think I'd be even more stressed out if I had that many books hanging around. Blogging definitely isn't good for my book obsession. I don't read review books, but that doesn't stop me from going crazy at all the books I'm aware of now because of blogging.

      My e-reader is definitely my area of weakness. I don't visit used bookstores that often - there are one or two semi-close to my house but they really aren't priced great. So that makes me sad! It's probably better for my wallet that I can't go crazy on used books :)

      And so very glad to know I'm not alone either!

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  17. Congratulations on being a book hoarder. Keep sharing such good articles on ebooks.
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