Friday, January 7, 2011

Hereby Resolved ... Continuing the Book Fast

I have a number of ongoing resolutions which I strive for, fail at, and then renew. You know the sort. Keeping the house cleaner, being more focused, taking more walks, and the like.

Then there is the special one I made last year and actually kept, except for my end-of-the-year blowout where I gave myself the week in-between Christmas and New Year's off.

That resolution was my book fast. I didn't buy any books. Our city library is well stocked but if they didn't have it, then I didn't read it. The two exceptions were if my book club was reading something otherwise unavailable or if I needed it for doing the podcast or writing bulletin inserts or that sort of thing. That need didn't come up much, believe it or not.

I admit I did fall off the wagon in virtual space when I got the Kindle and a few extra short story collections somehow fell into my online cart. However, I didn't beat myself up about it and moving on was surprisingly painless.

This is a habit that has now stuck and I am going to continue with it for 2011.

I am tweaking it in a way that has to do more with my reading habits than buying habits.

I'm going to try to read the books that are stacked up at home before getting more from the library (other than those already in the house). Online library requests make it so very easy to flitter from book to book without reading what is right there next to me. Some of those poor babies have been waiting for several years for me to crack their covers. If I try and can't get through them, then I'm going to move on, but I at least should give them a fair chance.

Buoyed by the success of the 2010 Book Fast resolution, I made another.

You can't imagine how annoying it is not to be able to remember it right at this moment!

But when I do, you will be the first to know!

I remembered!

The new "resolution" is to return to a habit I used to follow a couple of years ago. Each week I'd try to dip into a different cookbook when planning the next week's meals. This was to try to encourage me to actually cook from all my cookbooks instead of the favored ten or so I always used.

It worked with varying results but I'm going to work my way through the shelves and see how that goes. It will add more variety in cooking as well as helping keep me more interested in the weekly planning and cooking.

If all works out, then I'll have a new recipe to share every week. So we all win!


  1. I did this for several years after I graduated from college. I eventually had to allow myself one book a month, because I really couldn't stand not buying beautiful books, but it was really good. And I tell you, I can list each book I bought, since it was such a treat.

  2. I used to try allowing myself one book a month, but would always find a reason to go over that limit.

    Then I tried using a dollar amount each month. Same problem.

    Seems on this subject, I'm all or nothing! Dang it! :-D

  3. Wow! I thought I was the only book addict.My den of sin is the Salvation Army Thrift Store.And what demon created Amazon?
    My pile is just like yours and I need to do something about it.SO,
    no new books until.....I'm working on it.

  4. Oh no, I'm a book addict of long standing. To the point that when I'm really upset (really, really upset) I go to a bookstore when most people would probably go to a bar. I stagger out bearing large, illustrated books which I may or may not like after the crisis is over. But somehow those books help dull the pain ...

  5. That made me laugh...picturing you staggering out, heavily ladened, and not from being in a bar.
    It is just that, once in awhile ,I find a book that is so touching or so meaningful that my heart rejoices.And I know that there are others just like I forage and bend down to read titles... happy in knowing that I am not alone.

  6. Tante Léonie1/7/11, 1:51 PM

    Boy, have I been there! My addiction was broken this year when we moved and I had to deal with over 50 cartons of books in a much smaller apartment. I had a meltdown and gave 2/3 of them away. I can't tell you how liberated I have felt ever since.

    This quote also helped me; it is from an anonymous Amazon reviewer (I forget what book they were reviewing, but I liked the quote so much, I put it in my journal):

    "Buying or reading yet another book is the easy, habitual behavior when books are your drug of choice, and your cluttered house is screaming at you with volumes of printed matter. Practicing mindfulness continuously, noticing a habitual tendency, and attending fully to the present moment, presents itself as the mindful, non-habitual alternative choice. Did I really need yet another book?" --- amazon reviewer

  7. What can I say but, "Amen!"

  8. My book fast is to see how long I can avoid paying for books for my new Nook (love it). Lots of Wodehouse and Chesterton and Belloc out of copyright, tho' sometimes the scanning process misreads letters and punctuation.

  9. If you have a Kindle, you're probably aware that Project Gutenberg makes all its books available in Kindle format. You may not be aware (since the instruction manual is vague on this point) that it can also display PDF files, like the scanned versions of Google Books, in most of which the type is large enough to be quite legible on the Kindle screen. Since most of the world's literature was written before 1923, and is therefore out of copyright, you might never have to pay for another book. And if you browse the scanned Google Books long enough, you can accumulate an enviable collection of pictures of librarians' fingers.

  10. I didn't think of Google Books because the pdfs I've seen before are pretty tiny when displayed. However, I've definitely been browsing Project Gutenberg and you can also find quite a few old books for free at Amazon.

  11. I make about one new recipe a week from my cherished cookbooks. I love perusing the pages and predicting the win/loss in trying the dish. Have fun!