Friday, January 08, 2010

No limits

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I read a great deal. I read 98 new books last year. 85% of them came from the library.

I’m in my local library about once a week or so. Sometimes I slowly browse the new titles, sometimes I head for specific subjects. Sometimes I just head to the circulation desk to pick up some books I put on hold through their website

Sometimes I use their wicked fast internet connection to upload a couple months worth of photos to Smug Mug.

Yesterday I ran in looking for Photoshop CS3 for Dummies. I was just going to get the one book & then head out. But in the same aisle my eye was caught by “Stuff White People Like” which I had been meaning to see if the library had for some time now. And then I saw “A Treasure of Deceptions” by an author whose other books I had read & enjoyed. Oh and there is “The Illustrated History of Human Migrations” I bet Havoc would like that.

I ran in to get one book and am now holding 4.

The most direct path to the circulation desk was through fiction aisle A-Be where I noticed another book by an author I had read recently. It seems it was the start of a series. Speaking of series, what is this collection of books all titled “Murder on the <insert ship name>”?  Oh and these a shelf a over which look like Sex in the City meet Stephanie Plum? One book from each is added to my pile

I arrive at the circulation desk with 7 books, having only intended to get one.

I do this all the time.

Back in my double income no kids days I did it in bookstores.

Odds are I will only enjoy about half the books I have picked out. I finished 98 new books last year, but I started almost twice that many. I’d get 100 or so pages into a book, decide I didn’t like it enough to waste my valuable reading time on it any longer, flipped to the last 10 pages, read how it turned out and toss it aside. In my bookstore days I would probably have enjoyed two thirds of them. The big difference is I am out nothing by it at the library, whereas I spent from $5-30 on that book I didn’t like at a bookstore.

I was and still am much pickier in bookstores since I can’t just take the book back & get  a refund if I don’t like it. That narrows my choices. I stick with authors I know & love & genres I am most familiar with. When I get my books from bookstores, new or used, I am limited by finances & fear of wasting those dollars on something I won’t like. I didn’t branch out much then & do so even less now.

But libraries! Libraries are wonderful! Look at all those books! And they are FREE! If you don’t like them, so what? Take them back. Get more. Try again. You are only out some time. I have been a regular visitor to my library since Mayhem was born and I have read or at least sampled hundreds of books I would never have picked up in a bookstore. Some of my favorite series, such as Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher or Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple mysteries would have been passed over because they are not in my preferred time period or setting. I certainly never would have read all the Discworld novels this past fall if I had had to pay for them (I didn’t like a third of them & disliking just one would have kept me from buying the rest). But I could take the chance on these hardcover books in the library. I feel so free in there.

When I arrived at the desk to check out I was told I had 25 books out currently & did I want to change their renewal date to match these? I said sure and tried to imagine what 25 books I had out & where they might be.  I suffer from book blindness. What others see as a huge stack of books is just some books to me, maybe about 5 or 6. Had you asked me on the day the photo above was taken how many books were on my nightstand I would have said “A few. Maybe 6 or so.”. I just don’t see them, they are too much a part of the landscape & decor of my home.

My personal best total at the library was this summer when, while checking out another half dozen or so books & movies with the boys I was informed I currently had 47 books already checked out.

Fortunately the library has no limits on the number of books you can have out at any one time.

21 comments:

Laurie said...

You sound a lot like me!! I love my library. It's smallish but I can order books from a whole consortium and pick them up at my local library. I don't take out more than ten or so items at once though! End up with serious late fines otherwise occasionally! Some year I'm going to track how many books I read but I'm sure we're in a similar range!

Laurie said...

You sound a lot like me!! I love my library. It's smallish but I can order books from a whole consortium and pick them up at my local library. I don't take out more than ten or so items at once though! End up with serious late fines otherwise occasionally! Some year I'm going to track how many books I read but I'm sure we're in a similar range!

Melissa said...

Wow!! 98 books in one year! How do you find the time? Working full time and taking care of 3 kids (4 if you count my husband) time for reading is a novelty for me.

Jessica said...

LOL I am sooo much like you in that respect. Orlando has a HUGE library downtown. Its like four stories tall. They have a used bookstore where discontinued novels are put for less then a dollar. Often just because there is a slight tear or a water stain. Sometimes nothing is wrong. I have been like this since I was a little girl though. Id go to the library and get literally 20 books. Mostly Nancy Drew LOL. So I really loved your journalling today

DawnMarch said...

I am a serious library user too. In fact, my family all like to go to the bookstore, but I always feel a bit guilty b/c I spend the whole time writing down book titles so I can later go get them at the library. When I get those automated notices about books being due, I have to hunt around the house to find them all!

Balinda said...

Our library would never let us have that many books out..you are lucky!

humel said...

Lucky you! Our library does place limits - 12 per adult, 6 per child. Luckily they know me, so they let the kids sneak out a few extra at times.

I buy books by certain authors, as I like to have those to keep. Sometimes I'll borrow a book and love it so much I'll want my own copy. I rarely buy a book speculatively now though.

The exception is when I visit the charity shop - and really I should do this less, but I figure that if I don't like it I'll donate it back and the charity benefits twice. My wallet doesn't benefit at all though...

Anyway, I really enjoyed this post, thank you :-)

Lena said...

Yes, I LOVE the library. I am very lucky to have met a man who shares my love...he even has a master's in library science! So, the two of us spend many Saturdays browsing the library. I just love it! I don't think I've ever had 25 books out though :P

Cheri said...

That "no limits" thing sounds both fun and dangerous. Our library limits not only the total number of books you can have out at once (I think it's 7) but also the number of books on the same topic - so if I go in for something specific, I can only take out 3 books on that topic at a time. I guess it's a "sharing" thing.

Laura said...

WOW! That's a lot of books! That's cool that you can do that!

Madge said...

i love love love the library. I love putting books on hold via their website. It's like shopping, but it doesn't cost me anything.

I went in the other day and walked out with four books. I probably won't read more than two, but I just love bringing them home, looking them over and then deciding if I want to read it or not.

Nonnie said...

OMG!! I have so wanted to get that book - stuff white people like!! You have to let us know what you think! I am a little jealous. I also read 1 to 2 books a week, but I can not put a book down if it sucks! I am stuck with it! I love the library - and Borders!!

Creative Junkie said...

holy sh*t - 47 books?!?

I think I read three last year. Maybe. If I was lucky. And I absolutely LOVE to read. I just haven't found the time and I don't have any good suggestions for authors.

Heather said...

reading this just makes me want to run out to the library! I used to go loads & need to do that again for the sake of my bank account! We don't get unlimited books.. I think it might be 8 at a time but I couldn't read that many in 3 weeks anyway. lucky you though!

Nikki said...

I wish I got into the library more often! Especially now, with working outside of the home, I find that "me" time is slipping further and further away!
98 books in one year? That's awesome!

Brandi said...

I am reader, too. I have a giant stack I have yet to get to so I have drawn a line in the sand on new aquisitions until I have finished what I already have. I have been meaning to check out the library. I just remember it as musty place growing up where you couldn't check out more than two at a time and they had to be back in just a few short days. What fun is that??

Traci Reed said...

LOL Stacey! I TRY to use the library, I do! But I always seem to not be able to finish books fast enough, even when I renew..or lose them! Maybe when I'm done with what I'm reading now, I'll try again.

Alyssa said...

Love your blog title and blog. I am following it now and so glad I found you to read!

Jenni Jiggety said...

I love the library...but because of cuts ours is rarely open.

I got a kindle for Christmas though!

Too Many Hats said...

Yes, libraries make trying new things much easier. I have to admit, I am always drawn to covers- great way to pick a book, but it works out more often than not - LOL.

Too Many Hats said...

Yes, libraries make trying new things much easier. I have to admit, I am always drawn to covers- great way to pick a book, but it works out more often than not - LOL.