Friday, April 22, 2011

Book buying to banish the blues

I first confessed about my book buying obsession in my post here; over at my other (currently on hiatus) blog.

I love buying books. And thanks to frequent childhood trips to the bookstore, book buying as an adult has this fabulous, comforting quality.
I don't exactly think of this habit as a vice. But as I noted in my post, there are a few drawbacks to this habit:
1) It can get kind of expensive.
2) I buy books much faster then I read.
3) Um. I can't think of a #3. But I'm sure there must be another reason why this is a bad habit. Lack of storage space?
Despite these drawbacks, I love it. All of the possibility you hold in your hands in that moment. A whole other world awaits you. Oh, if only my reading could keep up with my book buying!

I recently made a vow to curb my book buying in favor of getting through my existing home library (and to tighten my budget). Then, yesterday, my roomie announced it was the first day of the annual mega book sale down at Fort Mason. And since this year marks the 50th anniversary of the sale, it was expected to be especially huge. All that and I'd been navigating a tough week; so it is no surprise that I eagerly accepted her invitation to go check it out.

First I have to say that it was a ridiculously gorgeous day. As in perfect weather. Not too warm, not too cold and blustery. It was perfection. We opted to walk to mile down to Fort Mason (which meant the mile back uphill) in an attempt to couple our book buying excursion with some exercise.

My roomie. (she's so stylish!)


Spring!! And GG Bridge in the far background.

As we walked I talked through my "strategy".
"I'm going to limit my book buying to 3 books. No, 5 books. But I'll buy one book as a gift for a friend. So 4 books. And a 5th for a gift. Yes, 5 books total."

As we approached the warehouse, we saw shoppers leaving the building with bags, backpacks and arms full of books. Oh dear, I thought, this could be tough.

How do I articulate the enormity of this book sale?
These pictures don't even do it justice. They had shopping carts you could use. And under each table brimming with books, were boxes and boxes of more books. Even a seasoned book patron such as myself was totally not in this league.

You can imagine what happened next. We spent the next hour or two scanning and trying to breathe as we navigated the overwhelming tables. Folks around us clearly had a strategy. I saw folks with carts full of books which they maneuvered with grace and skill around the crowded aisles. But even without a real browsing strategy, I still managed to quickly fill my basket. (I grabbed a hand basket to browse with, because I knew with a push cart on wheels I would overdo it). When my basket got way too heavy and the cramp in my neck started aching from all of the craning I was doing to read titles, it was time to stop.

I sat down with the 20 or so books I'd collected and started sorting. It was so hard to decide!!! But there are far worse problems than, "I said I'd only buy 5 books!" So I knew I had to do it. I got it down to 4 'for sure' books. I also had a 'no' pile and a 'maybe' pile. The maybe pile was then whittled from 10 down to 4 books. Then I turned to my roomie for support. She "okay'd" 6 books since technically the 6th was a book I was going to mail to a friend. But then those last 4 books in the maybe pile, how could I ever whittle them down from 4 to 1? One was a comedy, one was a short story collection, one was a classic I'd been wanting to read, and one was a book with inspirational stories about folks weight loss. Oh how could I...? So in the end. I got three of them, for a grand total of 8 books. One for a friend and.... 7... for me. I have some problem with limits.... especially self imposed ones. But I am so over the moon about my purchases! Oh happy happy day!

This post is timely because on Monday I am so excited to share my review of Does this Clutter Make my Butt Look Fat! And then I'll be ready to dive into one of my new books.
So happy reading to you all this weekend!

What about you? What's your go-to when you're in need of a little treat? Any other book lovers out there?


  1. You lucky, lucky lady!!! I am so jealous, I love, love, love a good book sale, and this looks like it was the book sale to end all book sales! I don't know how you could have been so disciplined. I suppose knowing that you had to walk a mile carrying the books might have helped. I'm afraid I would have gone bananas. It sounds like you and your roomy had a lovely adventure.

  2. Thanks Debbie! It was indeed the book sale to end all book sales! I've never seen anything quite like it =)

  3. Wow! That is way bigger than I imagined! After seeing the pictures I am a little shocked that you only walked away with 7 + 1!

    Did you get rid of 7 because when bringing in 7? Just wondering? : )

  4. I know! One in, one out, right? =)