Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Bookbuyers Anonymous

By Tamara Girardi

Ever since we were high school sweethearts, my husband has enforced a rule when it's time to leave the mall. He puts the horse blinders on. It's kind of embarrassing actually.

He places his hands on either side of my face, creating blinders, so I will not stop at one more clothing rack, not another display counter. I can’t thank him enough. Retail therapy is one thing. Book stores are completely different.

I cannot go near a bookstore unless I plan to leave with a stack of books and spend lots of money. Like max the credit cards, kind of money.

It’s an addiction, and the horse blinders come in handy.

I don’t literally hold my own hands up, but you get the picture. Just last week, I had to go to the bookstore to buy a gift. I knew which book I wanted. The plan was to get in, get out, and keep my credit card bill in check.

It was tough. I got the book quick enough, but then I had to weave through the expertly-designed aisles to get to the checkout. Used to be you could walk straight down one aisle without really looking at anything. Now, the bookstore is a maze of end-caps stocked with beloved authors.

Passing the bargain books without a second glance is torturous. But I mentally enforced the horse blinder rule.

Keep walking, Tamara. Oooh, Lee Child’s books. I love Jack Reacher.

No. Focus. Regroup. You can do this. Just keep walking.

Wait, is that Janet Evanovich? With a bargain book? Do I have that one at home? Or did I borrow it from the library? I mean, either way, I already read it. It’s just a matter of having it in my collection to gather dust.

Oh, a table just for the classics. I should read more classics.

Do you see the problem?

The other day, I charged up my Kindle, found some really great books unread in my Kindle library and rediscovered the joy of pushing a button and a book being delivered within seconds. Um, hmmn. Talk about going from bad to worse.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a writer. Supporting other writers is key, and supporting them means buying their books (among other things). I have a full library in my house to prove the kind of literary cheerleader I am.

Still, I go to a bookstore or click on my Kindle store, and I feel like Sophie Kinsella’s shopaholic Becky Bloomwood in a high end clothing store.

Is anyone with me?


Annette said...

Tamara, I don't have it as bad as you, but absolutely. I love the smell of bookstores. I love the feel of books. And there are sooo many books I want to read.

One of the worst things about Hubby being currently unemployed is the freeze on spending I've had to place on books. It's horrible!

Thankfully I have my stash on my to-be-read shelves to keep me going.

Martha Reed said...

Bookstores have the same feeling to me as being in a church. Quiet, peaceful, full of friends.

I agree about the bargain table! That's where I get into trouble - it's like finding a lost orphan who needs a new home.

Joyce said...

I've been so busy lately that any extra time I have I've been spending writing.

My problem isn't so much buying books, it's that when I sit down to read a book, I have to finish it. Nothing else gets done!

Gina said...

Joyce -
I found a trick for that - I will alternate cleaning with reading, i.e., read one chapter, clean for 20 minutes, etc. etc.
I agree. Bookstores are seductive. [Come on, we all suspect Mary Alice and Richard of a hidden agenda when they allow meetings, etc. to use Mystery Lovers. They know it's like holding AA meetings in a bar. Most of us will succumb to temptation.]

Tamara said...

Annette, the TBR pile being as high as it is for me may be enough of an indication that a freeze is a good plan.

Martha, orphans. Yes! My, how we rationalize.

Joyce, glad to hear you're writing so much, and Gina, I agree with your conspiracy theory!

Liz said...

You know I'm with you, Tamara. Can't go to the mall without going to the bookstore. Can't go in bookstore without buying a book. And I just got the new Borders coupon in my email -- buy 2, get 1 free. Eek!

Anonymous said...

I generally avoid book stores until I've saved sufficiently that I can allow myself to go wile. I then proceed to shop up a storm. I love books and bookstores are the absolute best place to spend the day.

Lisa D said...

I completely understand the love of bookstores. Since my hubby bought me a nook, I am now a "nook-a-holic"! But...there is nothing better than a bookstore! :-)

Patg said...

I never take anyone with me when I go to bookstores. They cramp my style, which is to browsssssssssssse until I have a bathroom or a coffee call (they all have them now), refresh and start browsing again. Luckily my favorite bookstore is a block from a great grocery store, so I can convince myself that I was also industrious that day.