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.

25 comments:

writergal said...

i'm so glad I'm not the only one who doesn't feel "cool" sometimes. I've gotten fairly used to it over the years but being on Twitter and seeing other people's blogs/sites does make me feel awful. And when I get rejected on a request? I'm thinking: What, I'm not a good enough writer for you?

Amy said...

While I don't feel as competitive about getting galleys, I do sometimes feel like I can't keep up with reading all the great books. That is something I'm really trying to relax about this year so I kind of know what you mean!

good luck!

Vasilly said...

I think this is a wonderful idea. I'm participating in the BLOB game right now with Amy and a few others and I've found it really hard to give up buying books for 60 days. But I'm trying.

I feel competitive also when it comes to blogging. From the number of weekly blog posts to the books I'm receiving, reading and reviewing. Good luck.

stacybuckeye said...

Giving up buying books is a tough one! Good luck.
I don't get too caught up in the competition for books, but some of the memes seem to make a point of 'look what I got' which make me feel like I'm comparing mine to theirs. I don't like it.

Lenore said...

At first I thought you'd be giving up READING books for 40 days. Now that'd be really tough! Not buying is tough enough.

wisteria said...

No wonder I like you...a fellow redhead. I think your sacrifice is awesome..but will be very difficult for you.
Good luck..truly this will be a toughy. :)

Amy...I agree with you. I found last year I was stressing about my blog and almost gave up. Nice to hear from other bloggers about this.

Marie..I know what you mean about the latest galleys. I'm definately trying to chill this year. I am reading what I want more. Isn't that the way it should be?
Happy Week!!!!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

That's tough but not so bad. I have been cutting way back lately. Now I thought yo wer going to give up reading books for Lent. That would be something else entirely!

readerbuzz said...

You ARE cool...in fact, you are the coolest! You are a role model for me in the blogging world.

Feel better?

I like the idea of giving up buying books for Lent, but I don't think I could achieve this...better go with giving up chocolate!

bermudaonion said...

This would be so tough for me. I wish you the best of luck!

Florinda said...

I've given up book-buying for Lent for several years now. I really don't go to church any more, but I grew up Catholic and the discipline of a Lenten sacrifice is still something I try to follow. And I will tell you that it IS a hard vow to stick to! Just make good notes for your wish list and the book-buying binge after Easter :-).

Technically, Sundays don't count as part of Lent's 40 days, but I try not to take advantage of that loophole. Some years I do better than others. Good luck!

A couple of the commenters have a good point, though: giving up READING books for Lent would be an even bigger sacrifice. Not going that far!

TheEccentricLady said...

You just about gave me heart failure! I thought you weren't going to read for 40 days! Not buying a book sounds like a good plan! I'm so glad I am not the only person who can not pass up an interesting looking book.

naida said...

I know how hard it is to give up books. Its a great sacrifice on your part, best of luck with it!
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Ali said...

Good luck--I'm sure it will be hard, but that's the point, right? I get most of my books from the library, so I'd have to give up the card, too, if I were trying to make a sacrifice.

Frances said...

Constantly find myself asking, "Where do these people find the time to read all of these books?" Then I pout a little. Then I snap out of it. Then I remind myself of all the great books I DO find time for including all of those delicious children's books for work. Sooo.... I completely get what you are saying here, and love the thought that you are granting yourself a little blogging forgiveness during a religious season. Best of luck with the Lenten resolution! And if it gets to be too much, drop me a line and I will gift you some relief. :)

April (BooksandWine) said...

Like everyone else, I thought you were giving up reading for lent. Not buying new books isn't so bad.

I definitely feel competitive a lot, and verbatim with the why did such and such get this and not me. It's a constant struggle to be like, yeah I am good enough, and I do have all of these awesome books in my house to-read. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an ARC junkie or anything, I just want to be as good as I can be yah know?

mominsanity said...

Giving up book buying is going to be so hard - I know. I buy books constantly! AND you have the Harvard Bookstore - which, as you know, is my favorite bookstore - so close to you. I don't know how you have the willpower to do it!

On a more positive note, I found that once I started really limiting the number of books that I bought (I actually started USING our library - people so underrate them - they are AWESOME), I found that I had more money for other stuff. :)

Good luck!

caite said...

I have so many unread books, I don't need any more. But yes, I see someone getting an ARC of a book I desire..it is hard not to feel some envy!

I am religious...and Catholic...and have given up all beverages except water for Lant. No tea is killing me. Killing me I tell ya!
Is it Easter yet? ;-)

Marie said...

Oh Caite, THAT is a sacrifice! Good for you. May the season be good for you and Easter be joyous! :-)

Booksnyc said...

I toyed with giving up books but ultimately landed on giving up cabs. Living in the city, I find I take them too often when I could walk, take the subway or bus.

Good luck with the book ban - just think how culled your shelves will be in 40 days!

Bonnie said...

It sounds like you have a challenge ahead of you. On the positive side, you should be able to read a lot of your own books. I have trouble keeping up with reading all the great books that I already own.

Kathleen said...

That sounds like a true sacrifice to me. It would be much easier for me to give up chocolate than for me to give up buying books! I'm sure you will feel great when it is over and you can enjoy reading without all the competitiveness of things getting in the way.

J.T. Oldfield said...

However, there is a loophole, where you can do whatever you give up on Sundays because Lent is actually longer than 40 days (seriously, look at a calendar!) but I think that maybe if you just saved all of the books you wanted to buy until Sunday, it wouldn't be the same.

nanscorner said...

Good luck with the no buying of books!

I don't feel competitive with other people but I do get competitive with myself (does that make sense)? I want to always do better than I did before. So this year it means getting closer to my goal of 100 than I did last year. I just feel that there are too many good books and not enough time!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I too understand the pressure and stress of wanting to read all the books everyone else is reading, in ADDITION to the books I find on my own, and there's just no way! Good luck with your Lent plan!

Zibilee said...

Good luck with your book plan for Lent! I know that blogging can be a very competitive hobby, so I completely understand your choice to get out of the rat race for awhile.