Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Salon - No Books for Lent


I'm not a religious person, but I am a Catholic, and every now and then I participate in the annual ritual of Lent- giving something up for 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Over the years I've done all the usual things that people do- giving up chocolate, or fried foods, or things like that. Truthfully I don't have a lot of bad habits (I don't smoke or drink or eat to excess) but I wanted to do something this year and giving up chocolate didn't seem like enough, so I've given up buying books.

It's hard! I love books, and I have a lot of interests- new books, classics, subjects like France, Russia, the Balkans and others- and I love to go shopping for books. I think the thing I like to do best besides read is browse in bookstores and I almost always find something new that I'd like to read. I live in a town with fantastic independent bookstores and mouthwatering chains and I visit bookstores on average 4-5 times per week. That rumpled redhead haunting the new-release table every day at 7 am, on her way to the gym? That's me.

On the other hand, I'm also feeling relieved. Blogging has definitely opened my eyes to books and authors I'd never hear of or read otherwise, but I'm a competitive person and it also has this side effect of creating, for me, a level of anxiety and competitiveness I don't really enjoy. You know what I mean. So-and-so has the latest hot galley and you don't. Or someone got a book for free from a publicist who said no to me. Or someone got invited to some cool event I didn't, and I feel inadequate, or like I'm not one of the "cool kids". Reading for me has never been about being cool and I like being released (just for a while) from this need of having to keep up or compete. It's also going to give me a chance to dig into my TBR pile and enjoy what I have rather than stress out about what I'm trying to get.

Which is not to say I'm not adding to my wishlist in the meantime!

Have a great Sunday. You can read more Sunday Salon posts here.