A bit of a mish-mash of stuff for you today. A little spring clean of thoughts from my brain, if you will!
Firstly, an update on how my no book buying is going. I am pleased to say that, at almost a third of the way through the year, I’m still going strong! I have been helped by review copies here and there and wins from blogs, which I am thankful for, but they have been few in number. I have bought a few books as gifts for other people, of course, but nothing for myself apart from a copy of the Patchwork book I have a starring role in, which I don’t think can be held against me! It hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be, actually. For someone who used to buy A LOT of books every month, I have found it surprisingly easy to curb my desire to accumulate more books. I think moving house really helped on this front – boxing up my books made me realise how many I have, and how many I haven’t read. Some had sat on my shelf for about five years and I hadn’t even opened them. It was absurd! I was obsessively looking for hidden treasure in bookshops when I had plenty on my shelves as it was. I really did feel quite ashamed at how I had allowed myself to accumulate so many unread books – I felt like a greedy child who had eaten all the chocolate in the cupboard! It was the thrill of the chase that did it – I loved the excitement of finding books I wanted, of spotting those rare titles, of getting bargains – but now when I go in a bookshop that thrill is still there, but it’s accompanied by a very big helping of Common Sense that reminds me how many unread books I have at home. When I think ‘Oooh what a beautiful copy of Insert Book Name Here, I really want that book’ , Common Sense says ‘Rachel, you have five unread books by that author at home already. Do you really need another?!?!’ And then I think ‘No! I don’t need this!” and walk away. It’s a revelation!
I have enjoyed rediscovering my bookshelves; I’ve even enjoyed decluttering them, and giving away or selling books I didn’t feel the need to hold on to. Books will always be precious to me, I will always love collecting them, and I will never be able to resist going into a bookshop, but I now can say no to buying up everything in sight and this is liberating indeed. I don’t even know whether I’ll be in a hurry to start buying again once I am ‘allowed’ to – I’m sure there will still be plenty of unread books on my shelves after the year is up, and it makes no sense for me at this stage in my life to keep amassing so many books when I have nowhere permanent to keep them and have to keep lugging them around with me every time I move, which is frequently. If I see a book in a shop that I want, I just remind myself that it will still exist for me to buy in five years’ time when I will probably get around to reading it – so I can just wait until then. No book of the type I buy will ever truly be unobtainable. So, I can afford to sit tight until I’m actually ready to read a book, and then buy books as and when I need them. In short, I am a changed woman. Quite a feat!
In my reading life I have just finished a lovely self published book written by my dear friend Traci, who decided that she was going to finally achieve her ambition of writing a novel last year. She wrote it during NANOWRIMO and then had it beautifully made up into a book, and I am so proud of her and her dedication to achieving her treasured goal. The book is called Foreclosed: A Mitzi Neuhaus Mystery, and is a fun and drama filled tale of a bubbly young Real Estate agent, Mitzi, who gets caught up in a web of theft, lies and missing Romanov jewels when trying to save an old mansion from being sold to her arch rival. For a first novel, I thought it was fantastic, and the plot is so inventive! I would encourage anyone who likes a good mystery to give it a go, and I have a copy to give away if anyone would like to read it – just let me know in the comments and I’ll do a draw if there’s more than one. Anywhere worldwide is fine.
I do think self publishing is interesting – anyone can now see their name in print – and I think there should be more opportunities for people to sell their work in bookshops. I for one would love to be able to walk into Waterstones or Foyles (I don’t think the UK has any other book chain stores left now!) and see a display of self published books by local authors. As it’s so hard to get published by one of the big houses these days, more and more people who are very talented aren’t getting the opportunities to have their work made known and this is a great shame. It does annoy me that there are huge marketing pushes on terrible books like reality TV star biographies and celebrity ghost written novels when people who are genuinely good writers can’t even get their foot in the door. Has anyone tried self publishing? I’d be interested to know if anyone has and how they’ve gone about trying to market and sell their work. Just out of interest, mind you – I’m not planning on hawking my wares any time soon!
In other news, it’s a sunny day in London today, which is always a pleasure, I’ve stuffed my face with a huge cream slice from the posh bakery down the road from work and am now regretting it, and I am looking forward to Book Club tonight, in which we will be discussing Steinbeck’s incredible Of Mice and Men, which shockingly I had never read before. I’ll be reviewing that in the next couple of days. Currently I am reading Angela Carter’s Wise Children for Claire at Paperback Reader’s Angela Carter month, which is proving to be a riot – what an original and neglected author she is! Right..back to work for me!