Monday, January 9, 2017

Resolution 2017 : Why I'm Taking Another Year Off from Buying Books

The above picture, which I posted on my Instagram - my second of 2017, hot on the trails of this year's new Day Designer purchase! - recently made a bit of a ruckus among my family and friends. You see, the stacks and stacks of books depicted in the photo, are the result of a 2016 left unchecked: this special collection is comprised of over 80+ titles, that I had purchased over the past year, and had not yet got around to reading.

Even better? The picture was actually more than a few days old. In the period between Christmas and New Year's, my mom and I crashed through a wall of boxes, bags, and hangers that represented the material history of my high school and collegiate years, in an attempt to cut out clutter (and ship the remainder off to our newly-purchased storage unit). Naturally, a significant offshoot of that was my bookshelf, which had started to bow under the pressure of double- and triple-stacked shelving, as well as the several dangerous mounds of books that had been collecting around its base.

After Marie Kondo-ing the daylights out of my entire living space, my darling IKEA bookshelf's status had been severely depleted, but only because it's stock had extended onto almost the entirety of the shelving next to it, as well as a completely separate bookshelf on the other side of the room. That third shelf, as fate would have it, is now the home of all of the books in that infamous Instagram picture... plus the several that I managed to purchase in the meantime, before the clock struck midnight!

(In between finishing up my last read of 2016 and ringing in the new year, I made time for one last library trip, a bookstore excursion, and even a few last Amazon orders before 2017 fully hit.)

So, you remember back in 2015, when I made the killer resolution to Stop Buying Books for the entirety of the year? It kicked my butt, but more importantly, it forced me to reconsider how much money my favorite habit cost me every year, and reevaluate how important it was for me to continually be procuring more reading material, when I already had so much to choose from.

Now that I'm graduated from college, looking for the perfect job, and trying to streamline my life into something that is a lot more manageable and worthy of the title of "functioning adult," obviously the whole compulsive book-purchasing thing was not going to fly anymore. One of the big words I chose to focus my 2017 around at the beginning of the year, was "curate," and buying this many titles indiscriminately, was definitely not the way to a happy and put-together book collection.

Additionally, I had begun noticing a disturbing pattern in my book-buying in the later months of the year: when going into book stores, I was having a more difficult time finding material that I actually wanted to read, that I hadn't purchased already. I would get so flustered that I'd either leave completely disheartened, without buying anything, or even worse, I'd scramble to find any titles that would rouse the slightest amount of interest, and end up buying books I wasn't entirely sure I'd be totally thrilled to own!

So, welcome back, 2015 Resolution! You have henceforth been repackaged, because, let's be real, everyone loves a good remake. I'm looking for concision and clarity, so we're taking it super minimalist: I henceforth pledge not to purchase any books for the duration of 2017!

However, true to my resolution style, I gave myself a couple of outs for procuring at least a few new titles in the coming year; for instance, like in 2015, I'll be allowing myself to purchase a few new books in celebration of my Bloggoversary when it comes up again in late July.

Still, in total, adding in the titles that are stockpiled in my Kindle, plus the ones I made as last-minute purchases on New Year's Eve, I have over 100 books currently at my disposal that I haven't been able to open the first page of yet. That's a lot to get through, so I probably shouldn't start thinking about my Bloggoversary right now.

And, of course, this Bookish Resolution isn't by any means the only one I set... it's not even the most important one, either! I lowered my Goodreads book count for 2017, in the hopes that putting less pressure on myself to rack up high numbers will invite me to explore different kinds of books, particularly pre-1900s and nonfiction titles. I'm also trying to allow for the diversification of my reading content, like newspapers, magazines, and even cookbooks, and I want to find more joy in a regular, daily reading habit, than by sinking into a series of binges and slumps that dominates my book consumption practices.

Clearly, there are plenty of reasons to believe that 2017 will be a notable year for me. As I told you already, I just finished deep-cleaning my room. I started on a new planner, and a new journal. I'm going to the gym, and trying my hand at meditation. Plus, my sister Delaney is Panhellenic President at UW, my younger siblings come home with plenty of high school drama to hash out every day, and someone is bound to give me a job sometime! There are so many things to think about even beyond books - if such a concept exists - that keeping myself from snatching up anything new shouldn't be too tricky.

At the end of the day, I want to go to sleep knowing that I filled my day with people and things that matter. I'd like to treat my bookshelves the same way! 

See any books in my stacks that you think I should get around to first? Would you ever attempt a Resolution like mine? Let me know, in the comments below! 


  1. This is such a hard resolution, but totally commendable that you made it! It will be great for you to get to all those books you have yet to read. I am trying to curtail my own book buying too - I just moved and need to figure out a way to make room for all my things. :) And if that is Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie in your stack, I highly recommend that one!

  2. Wow I am not sure I could do that!!! I am trying to buy less and read more of what I own but I get so sucked into sales. I do agree with setting GR goal lower because I also want to get to different kinds of books (i.e. some chunkier books). Good luck :)