Book shopping proclivities


Recently Cornflower asked her readers if they were given unlimited resources would they go on a binge and buy everything they wanted for their library or would they take a more piecemeal approach. No sooner had I responded that I enjoyed the hunt and would not get much pleasure from buying everything I wanted at once, when I was faced with two book buying opportunities. As I mentioned in a post last week, I am really tempted to buy the complete 37-volume Melville Publishing Art of the Novella series at 30% off. If I really was the onesy-twosy book hunter that I claim to be, I don’t think I would be consider buying this whole set. I highly doubt I would be interested in all 37 volumes, but my god the completeness of the purchase would be stunning. And then in a comment on my post I have CB James egging me on, for the right reasons mind you, but egging me on nonetheless.

And then I went to a book sale at my local library (Frances: that would be the Chevy Chase Library, not the new Tenley Town branch) and came away with 17 books. Granted the total haul only cost me about $25 but I must admit I was a bit indiscriminate in my choices. Not really finding anything that I really had to have at first, I started to grab every Virago I could see. I don’t feel bad about this. While not impossible to find here, Viragos are much rarer in the US than the UK. And who knows which of these Viragos will turn out to be undiscovered gems for me? It was only after I got home that I actually read the back covers and determined that most of these seem right up my alley. So it seems like I didn’t buy anything I shouldn’t have.  And there was one that was a true find: Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns. Her novel The Skin Chairs turned me into a fan so I can’t wait to open up this one.

I guess the lesson for me is that while I wouldn’t find it interesting to buy a whole library worth of books in one fell swoop, I certainly can’t claim to be the restrained book buyer that I may have thought I was.

12 thoughts on “Book shopping proclivities

  1. Laura June 11, 2011 / 3:01 pm

    No, you can't claim restraint, that's for sure! But the Comyns was indeed a good find — I enjoyed that one.


  2. rhapsodyinbooks June 11, 2011 / 3:23 pm

    Teresa of Shelf Love tells a similar story of grabbing at Viragos when the occasion presented itself.

    If I had unlimited resources, I think I would have to start by getting a bigger house and/or bigger shelving system. We already are being forced out of our home by encroaching books (which no doubt harbor alien pods)…


  3. Relish June 11, 2011 / 4:23 pm

    I like this – I, also, am a bit of a one or two books (strictly, or I would be perpetually broke!) kind of gal… HOWEVER certain bargains have to be taken advantage of…

    I remember a frenzy of French/Spanish book buying with a friend in the first year of university. Some of the books were clearly dull as dishwater study guides..but all were 10p!!! Why not?? I bought the whole shop… :*)


  4. reviewsbylola June 11, 2011 / 4:36 pm

    I don't generally go on book buying binges, but I have been bad recently too! It's hard not to take advantage of a bargain!


  5. celawerdblog June 11, 2011 / 5:09 pm

    I used to love library sales. Now that I got a Kindle, all of my reading is done on that. I used to go on book buying binges all the time. I don't ever remember a time where I only bought one book at a time.


  6. celawerdblog June 11, 2011 / 5:09 pm

    I used to love library sales. Now that I got a Kindle, all of my reading is done on that. I used to go on book buying binges all the time. I don't ever remember a time where I only bought one book at a time.


  7. StuckInABook June 11, 2011 / 8:02 pm

    You do know it's essentially criminal for you to say you bought 17 books, and only mention one of them?


  8. Karen K. June 11, 2011 / 8:19 pm

    I don't blame you a bit, if I saw a VMC at a library sale I'd snatch it up right away unless I absolutely knew I didn't want it. But please don't keep us in suspense, we need details! What else did you get?


  9. music-books-steve June 11, 2011 / 9:41 pm

    Isn't half the fun following up on current, new, unsuspected, or fondly remembered enthusiasms? Of course, I work in a bookstore, but I find most of my purchases are of the spur-of-the-moment-doesn't-that-look-interesting or I-finally-should-get-a-copy-of-that variety, rather than following any rational program.


  10. Frances June 12, 2011 / 4:19 pm

    Even with unlimited resources I do not think my buying speed would change that much. Fussy sort that I am, I do not want anything on my shelves that I do not like. I make my husband keep his books separate. And thanks for the library direction. You do know me.

    As for the Art of the Novella series, I am getting ready to post this week that I intend to read all of them in the month of August. Really. And I am doing some fun stuff around it too. So go ahead and get them all and read with me? We could egg each other on. Details to come. Believe Melville House is helping out.


  11. LifetimeReader June 13, 2011 / 2:35 pm

    I think I need a bigger house and a bigger study to accommodate all the books I already own–but I think I would have to acquire a whole castle for books–or perhaps just a library?–if I had an unlimited book-buying budget.


  12. Thomas at My Porch June 14, 2011 / 9:27 am

    Laura: Good to know on the Comyns.

    Rhapsody: And the Viragos tend to be cheap second hand. Probably because of the lack of demand.

    Relish: If I had a shot at 10p books I know I would go crazy.

    Lola: I certainly don't feel bad when 17 books cost $25. The joy of second hand.

    Cela: I can remember when I was a poor student and buying a single book (not for school) was a big deal.

    Simon: I probably should post those titles shouldn't I? I will try to get on that this week.

    Karen: Oh I never blame myself for buying books…

    Steve: I think we are the same in this regard. Once upon a time I did print out the Modern Library top 100 list and tried to find them all in cheap, mass market editions. But even that is following up on a temporary enthusiasm.

    Frances: I can't belive you are going to read all of the novellas in August. You will probably have fun, but I think I would fail miserably. I think the set includes a lot of titles/authors I would find a challenge to read all in one month. Plus I don't own any (yet).

    Hannah: I just culled my herd by about 20 books to make room for some of the new things.


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