Wednesday, 11 March 2020

It seems I can't stop buying books!

As an experiment for this year I thought I'd keep count of the number of new books I acquire. In previous years I've just bought books willy-nilly, I've not kept a record. Consequently, I never have any idea come the end of the year whether I've made any impact on the number of books on my TBR pile or not, suspecting that I may well have bought more new books than I've actually taken off it. So this year I thought I'd change that and monitor it.

So, I created a shelf on Goodreads and every time I buy a new book I add it there. And it makes for interesting reading. I'm a bit shocked to see that the shelf now has 13 books on it... and we're only halfway through March. But the breakdown is interesting, it seems that only 3 of these books are physical... actually adding to the number of books on my shelves. The other 10 are sitting on my Kindle. I think what I've subconsciously done is been happy to to buy ebooks but tried not to add too many real books to my TBR mountain shelves. What I have to work out is whether or not this is OK. Is it cheating when I'm trying not to add too many books to the pile to quietly sneak them onto my Kindle instead and hope no one notices? It's a very grey area. After all, ebooks take up no room and they don't worry me, it's the number of books on my shelves that I'm trying to reduce so that when we downsize in a few years it won't be so difficult when I find I don't have room for as many.

Anyway, just out of interest I checked my '2020-my books read' shelf and counted the number of physical books read or being read off my TBR shelf: they number 12. So that's 3 physical books in, 12 out, now that makes for more cheerful reading. I think. *Tries not to look shifty*

So which ebooks have I bought recently? Let's start with these three crime yarns:

Deep Waters edited by Martin Edwards is what it says on the tin - a selection of short stories all about water, the sea, rivers, even swimming pools I gather. I never can resist these vintage themed anthologies from Martin Edwards.

A Watery Grave by Joan Druett is the first in a historical crime series, set in the 1800s, about 'Wiki Coffin' who goes to sea with The United States Exploring Expedition. I spotted this series on Cathy at Kittling Books' blog.

Lying and Dying by Graham Brack. This is book 1 in the 'Josef Slonsky' series, set in Prague. I'll be reading this for the European Reading challenge.


Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor is set in Virginia and is a family history and family secrets kind of book. At the princely sum of £1 I thought it was a no-brainer.

A Kilo of String by Rob Johnson. Brits olive farming in Greece. Another one for the European reading challenge.

Why the Dutch are Different: A Journey into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands by Ben Coates. Another self-explanatory title and another book for the European reading challenge.

And just for the record, these are the three physical books I've bought this year:

The Nine of Us: Growing up Kennedy by Jean Kennedy Smith. A rec from Nan at Letters From a Hill Farm

The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures edited by Mike Ashley. Because, obviously, you can never have enough Sherlock Holmes.

The Aeneid by Virgil. Well, I thought I'd give it go...

So what am I? A Lost Cause when it comes to my book-buying habit? It certainly looks like it. But you know what? I don't think I'll fall into a decline over it. Judging by all of your blogs, I'm in very good company.



Peggy said...

I think your quite normal in our world of books, Cath! I just counted and recorded all my books on my book shelves. I like the idea Cathy @746books has. She counted them hence the name of her blog and she is marking them off one at a time. I thought it might make me more aware and start reading what I have. I have 1,181 books not counting my cookbooks and I didn’t count the books on my devices! Ebooks truly are in a ‘grey’ area. It was somewhat of a shock to actually see how many I have! Some of those I have read and keep for some reason, but most are unread. I am in the process of making a list on the computer so I can alphabetize them and mark them off as I go. I think it has helped me have more control when I’m at physical book shops. I’ve been sorting books for our annual library sale and I definitely see a difference in my ‘I have to have this book’ mode! But I’ve added 6 new physical books purchased onlinešŸ˜©. I am reading more off my shelf though! Now I just need to get back to blogging...

TracyK said...

Cath, this post prompted me to count the books I have bought since the beginning of the year. I had started a Google Docs list (although I do like your idea of a list on Goodreads). But I had not added any since mid February. Since then I have bought six books and that brings my total to 15. More than I want to be buying since I have stacks and shelves and boxes of unread books already. And that does not count the Kindle books I have bought. We only buy less expensive Kindle books but they do mount up. (My husband buys lots of ghost story books on Kindle. Lots.)

Please tell what beautiful flower that is in your blog header. It is lovely. All I have is weeds. Not really true, but all I can see is weeds. Which I have to work on once it stops raining here.

Sam said...

Those are some interesting additions to your TBR stack, Cath. I'm going to have to take a closer look to see if there's something there I need to get hold of.

As for me, I've just about given up on the whole idea of resisting (or even trying to justify to myself) the purchase of new books. I do try to limit myself when I am feeling especially guilty, but even guilt doesn't slow me down for long. I keep a handwritten list similar to the one you describe, and I see that as of today I have purchased 25 books (so you shouldn't feel too bad about your purchases), with 15 of them being physical books. It just never ends, does it? I hope that's a good thing, even though my children are one day going to curse me when they have to clean out my personal library.

Judith said...

Your post makes me dying to go on a little book-buying binge myself.
Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light arrived yesterday, so I guess I'm on my way.
And I LOVE, LOVE your header photo! How delightful, and I'm thinking this must be a photo from your garden. Is this by any chance a type of primrose??? Just wondering.

Cath said...

Peggy: Judging by the responses here it seems you're right, I'm normal in the world of books. It's reassuring. I think the key issues as you say are being aware that you have a lot and ought to read one or two occasionally (LOL) and taking control a little. Which is what I'm trying to do this year. Come December it'll be interesting to see how well it worked, but I won't be devastated if it hasn't.

Tracy: I'm glad I prompted you to get your list up to date. I'm really keen to try and do that and see what the figures are at the end of the year. Like you I go mainly for the cheaper Kindle books and I nearly always check to see if the library has the book I want to read first. Nice to hear that your husband is a fellow ghost story collector.

The plant in my header is a primrose. They grow wild in the woods in the UK and people have them in their gardens too. They're very prolific this time of year. I love how delicate the flowers are.

Sam: Guilt over book buying doesn't slow me down over much it would seem either! And let's be honest, there are worse vices. I love the fact that you've bought more than me! It doesn't end because there are always new books or series someone mentions that sound so wonderful you have to start reading them 'right now'. And many of us read a lot of genres and that hardly helps as well. Such fun!

Judith: Ooops ... sorry about the book-buying urges (not really...)

Here's an interesting little snippet for you. My youngest daughter was a library assistant in Minehead, on the Somerset coast, when we lived there from 1995 until 2001. And Hilary Mantel used to come into that library to borrow books. I never saw her and anyway would not have recognised her as I'm not sure if she was a published author then. She's moved from that area now and now lives in Budleigh Salterton in South Devon... it's quite an exclusive and expensive village on the coast.

Yes, that's a primrose, the kind that grow wild in the woods here in February and March and one of my favourite flowers, so we have a lot in the garden.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I haven't kept count of what I've bought so far this year - so this prompted me to check what I've got from Amazon and Barter Books - no surprises when I did! I have acquired, some for free and some swapped at Barter Books, a total of 27 books, most on Kindle. Like you I go for the cheap e-books and check the library first. My latest addition is The Mirror and the Light in hardback and I'm loving it - even though it weighs 3lbs!

Cathy said...

It was good to see the Wiki Coffin mystery in your purchases. Druett found the perfect premise for a series, and it's very enjoyable and so well-written that you can feel as though you're on board ship and dodging the occasional cannonball.

I have been buying many more eBooks than physical books for over a year now. My eye surgeries started that trend. I've now started buying a few more physical books, but I have plans for giveaways after I've read them.

Marg said...

I am doing a lot of one click buying on the Kindle, way more than I am ever going to be able to read!

Cath said...

Margaret: I had to look up The Mirror and the Light... of course, it's the new Hilary Mantel. Pleased to hear you're enjoying it. And after all, if us oldies have to stay indoors for a few weeks we'll not be bored because we have all our lovely book purchases to keep us occupied. I'm pretty sure I have more than a few weeks worth...

Cathy: Yes, I saw the lovely cover of the Wiki Coffin book you're reading on your blog and had to go and see what it was. Next thing I know, book 1 of the series has mysteriously appeared on my Kindle. LOL

My optician said to me that she couldn't understand why more people with eye problems don't opt for ereaders, but some people are just so resistant. Personally I don't care how or on what I read just as long as I can.

Marg: That one click is a dangerous thing!

Terra said...

I have to laugh at myself, I am like you in my book buying and seem not to count the ebooks as much as the print books because I am trying to weed down my physical books. Still, I continue to buy scads of books. The Watery Grave series interests me, I love the Patrick O'Brian Master and Commander Series.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Cath,

I have more books, both physical and virtual, than I shall ever be able to read, unless I get to be well over 100 years old, and assuming I could get through at least one book a day! Does that stop me adding more? - What do you think?!!

I have to admit that I have resisted the urge to buy any more physical books, for many weeks now, however that was a decision forced on me and in no way of my own free will, and is so very difficult when I deal with books, day in day out!

These days I do try to confine myself to only downloading books from the two pre-approval publishers I work with.

I really like the sound of the Graham Brack stories, however we are already six books into the series, and I am rubbish at playing catch-up. I checked Graham out on Fantastic Fiction and noticed that he is launching a new series next month, which looks right up your street!

I hope that you enjoyed your short break away and that you manage to stay safe and well during the current coronavirus emergency :)


Nan said...

I love this, and will be back with a better comment. I might even do a similar posting. Delighted you bought the Smith book!

Cath said...

Terra: it does seem that a lot of us book fiends are very similar in our urge to collect and hoard books. I think there are worse things to be honest and I do find my books comforting especially now in these difficult times.

I'm very interested in the Watery Grave series too, I feel like it almost has a Moby Dick feel to it. Intrigued, so I plan to get to that very soon.

Yvonne: I rather think I too have more books than I'll ever be able to read. And still I acquire more. Lost cause...

I will report back on the Graham Brack series, I've always fancied going to Prague so this may be a way to do so vicariously while we're all in lock-down. His new series does sound rather good doesn't it? *And* it would qualify for The Netherlands for the European challenge. Hmm, I will think on that.

Yes, thank you, we had a super break but are ready now to self isolate at home as much as possible. You take care too, Yvonne. At least these days we can all keep in touch via social media. xx

Nan: Yes, please do a similar post! We need more people blogging at the moment to cheer us all up. I'm just going over to read your latest post, slightly behind due to being away for a few days.