As you most likely remember, Carole and I famously declared a moratorium on book purchasing in January. I say "famously" in part because it was a public declaration and in part because Rose didn't believe me.
My skeptical co-worker was not convinced that I could survive such an animal. She watched me distribute Borders coupons throughout the office in December, counsel people on what books would be suitable for whom (and even where they'd find them at My Borders) and discuss what books I would find on my bookshelf after the holidays (including a copy of Weird Virginia she let me win from the office gift exchange).
She laughed long and hard when I told her about my agreement with Carole, but she gave me the benefit of the doubt.
Until the first book arrived in the mail January 10.
She looked me right in the eye as she handed me the padded envelope and asked, "This isn't a book, is it?"
(Try explaining Half.com in a situation like that. Ordering Peyton Place and A Christmas Memory on December 26 was not the same as breaking the moratorium, even if the books were delivered in January. At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
Aside from People of the Book, those were my last two books purchased from Christmas until February 2.
And it was glorious.
Don't get me wrong, I missed many things about hunting for books. In January, I did not wander the aisles of My Borders. I did not haunt Yesterday's Rose. The local library was closed, so I did not find books for a dime. Even Salvation Army was off-limits. I did not want to slip.
However, I did not suffer the guilt of stacking on the nightstand one more book that I knew I wouldn't read anytime soon. Nor did I add too many more books to the towering stacks wobbling on the floor at home. I received many books as gifts for Christmas, and I still had to find homes for them somewhere in the home library. I had my hands full.
Truthfully, I enjoyed the time off.
And when it was over, I perused my favorite secondhand stores and purchased eight books for about as many dollars: two were gifts, two were for the L3 (Lunchroom Lending Library) and the rest sounded too interesting to pass up (heads up, Carole!).
Am I reformed? Absolutely not. But I am sated for now. After forcing myself to think before purchasing, I think I know the difference between books I pick up while the ink is still drying (Jasper Fforde, Geraldine Brooks, Khaled Hosseini) and others I can pick up when I have the time. Wanting every book published is all well and good, but where will I keep them?
(That is not the question I asked myself when I picked up a first edition hardback copy of the Warren Commission Report or a pristine first edition of The Godfather to replace my tattered crumbling oft-read copy. I am, after all, only human.)
And if tomorrow I walk out of Yesterday's Rose with yet one more handful of books, I give you permission to laugh at me. I'll join in.