Hello and welcome to TTT, where we look at my bad bookish habits! I’m bad and I know it. I have some awful habits, but also some I have gotten over (to an extent anyway!)
1. Buying too many books
Yeah… if you saw my last haul post, it was pretty extreme. I’d try and defend myself by saying it was over a couple of months, but even then it was a load and a half of books. I have read a couple already, and a couple I’ve wanted for a very long time and will read very soon. I also need to remind myself that I don’t need physical copies of books I have on my kindle, no matter how much easier I think it will be to read!
2. Getting too excited about books I’ve bought recently, but ignoring books I’ve owned for a long time.
I have a couple of books on my shelf, namely What Maisie Knew and Middlemarch, which I do want to read, but they’ve been on my shelf since 2006. I was even meant to read Middlemarch for university last year, but chickened out after a chapter. I am currently reading The Catcher in the Rye, which I bought in 2010, so hopefully I can work through them soon!
3. Avoiding big books, even when I want to read them.
I look at my bookshelf and go for bite sized novels over sprawling epics pretty much every time. I think that I somehow link big books with difficulty, which is silly. I have begun reading Les Miserables this evening, so I’m definitely trying to break this habit! Maybe this should be the summer of chunky novels!
4. Buying an author’s entire ouvre before I’ve even read one of their books.
I get excited about authors that I find interesting, and buy all their work. I have almost all of Jean Rhys’ works, for example, and I haven’t read a single one yet. I can tell you all about her life though!
5. Getting upset about ugly or mismatched covers.
It’s silly, since it’s what is going on inside the book which actually matters, and I’m truly getting better at not caring too much. I do prefer them to look the same, when possible. Sometimes you just need to go for the other one, because of things like font, price and availability. At least I don’t read many series, so I don’t have the problem of covers switching midway through.
6. Hanging onto books I know I won’t read or re-read.
I have been better at it, but I still feel guilty when I get rid of books. I recently purged about 30, mostly books I had read and know I won’t want to read again, or ones I didn’t finish. The vast majority went to loving homes, namely my best friend and my mother in law, and the rest to the local op shop. It felt good!
Things I Was Bad at But Kicked the Habit
1. Being intimidated by hard books
Until this year, I was always intimidated by books that I knew to be difficult- a stand out example is Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford. I stalled for ages on actually reading it, because I felt like I was inadequate and wouldn’t understand. Well, at first I was confused, and every so often I did get lost, but it really wasn’t that bad once I got used to the style. I have gone on to read much more difficult books this year, and have survived without feeling like I wasn’t able to do it!
2. Being overly cautious about the covers of paperbacks.
I used to like having my books in pristine order. I still like my hardbacks to be undamaged, but I have lost the habit of being very gentle to paperbacks. Now I will let it get bumped, I write in them, carry it around with me and stuff things in them. I think it adds character!
3. Buying all books new.
I used to buy most of my books brand new. I honestly didn’t know where to get used books from before, and was afraid of the used bookshop at my local shops. I don’t mind having a new book with bumps or a cracked spine- I’m going to do it anyway! As long as it’s not falling to bits and it’s legible, all is good. It’s also much, much cheaper, especially since books in Australia are so expensive. I recently got Tigers Are Better Looking by Jean Rhys, which is out of print, for under $5 on ebay. Score!
4. Not using a bookmark
While I can bear leaving a book open face down (much to my mum’s horror) I don’t like dog earing the pages. I have gotten better at having a bookmark in all my books, or using whatever I have hanging around… including train tickets, birthday cards, lolly wrappers, and, on the odd occasion, my phone!
Do you do any of these, and/or have you kicked the habit? I’m definitely not going on a buying ban, coz that will set me up to fail #1, but I do need to think more before I buy. There’s a few others that I know I can overcome, especially in regards to big books!
I’m proud of myself for no longer being intimidated and insecure about reading hard books. It’s a massive step forward in my confidence levels, especially when I find myself able to understand them, or rationalise what makes them so difficult.