About a month ago, I announced that I needed to go on a book diet. My TBR pile had become overwhelming, I had stuff I needed to write, I was fearful of becoming a hoarder. And my school’s library’s book sale at the beginning of December provided a convenient endpoint for the experiment. I am happy to say I was mostly successful (I only cheated once! Ok, maybe twice! But how was I supposed to know Half Price would mail me coupons?). I think at some point I had plans to tell you about all the stuff I read and wrote and how productive I was because I wasn’t buying books. Or something like that.
And then life happened.
But my month-long book starvation finally ended last week. And I think I was a little high on life when I shopped because I had to lug my new books home in a box.
My total purchase included 27 books. They include 3 hardbacks (one of which looks to be a first edition of Daphne De Maurier’s THE GLASS-BLOWERS); 3 classic Signet editions of Robert A. Heinlein; 1 Ray Bradbury; 4 collections of poetry (including the Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath and selections by Pablo Neruda); 2 non-fiction/philosophy paperbacks; 2 collections of short stories. 1 Oxford World’s Classics. 1 paperback of John Steinbeck’s THE MOON IS DOWN, purchased because it shares the same title as Chris Carrabba’s cd with Further Seems Forever. At least 3 were already on my Amazon wish list. At least one autographed copy. The most recently published is Tom Rachman’s THE IMPERFECTIONISTS (2010). Oldest? Hard to say—I think probably the original publication date of the Voltaire volume.
It’s quite an impressive box sitting next to my bed. I’ve finished two in the past week, but it’s going to take a LONG time to work through this TBR pile.
Annie Lamott in Bird by Bird claims that books are like vitamins for her. It goes so much deeper than that for me. Books are oxygen, they are energy, they give meaning to a life filled with trips to the grocery and the dry cleaners. In the past month I have had to continually remind myself, “why am I doing this again?” Why do I write literary criticism, why do I pick apart the thing that keeps me alive? Am I thinking the right way, am I writing the right way? Am I doing the right thing? Am I crazy?
I probably am crazy, but it’s not because of my books.