Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm a library addict

I spent most of the day yesterday tweaking my blog a bit to add handy little buttons in the sidebar for ordering Destined and visiting the various websites I use. It looks better than a long list of text links, and takes less space, but man, was it time-consuming! How am I going to get my second book revised and edited when I spend all my free time dealing with promotion for the first one, or messing with my blog and website? *sigh* There aren't enough hours in the day. It's a good thing my job isn't really full-time, because I'd never get anything done if I had to work 9-5 every day. A 9-5 paycheck would be nice, though.

I’m going to deviate from my usual blog subject a little bit and talk about something near and dear to me: the library.

I love the library. I think I may even be slightly addicted to the library, but with good reason: when you read over 100 books a year and work less than 30 hours a week, feeding the need to read can get impossibly expensive. I had hoped when I bought my Kindle years ago that it would help curb the book cost, but then agency pricing happened and out went the “bestsellers always priced at $9.99” promise of Amazon’s that initially sold me on the device. I don’t blame Amazon: I know the publishers are responsible, and Amazon had no control. But it still sucks, and I refuse to pay more than $10 for an ebook, no matter how badly I want to read it. This, thankfully, is where libraries come in.

I live in what I consider a big-small town. It’s big in terms of population (nearly 100,000), but small in most other ways. It doesn’t have the big-city feel, or some of the amenities, and while the library system has a number of well-stocked branches, they’re slow to get new books unless they’re big-name releases (I’m still waiting for them to get the two newest Richelle Mead titles, for instance), and there are a lot of titles they never get in. But they’re tied in to the Tampa Bay Library Consortium for ebooks, and I’ve found that I’ve been able to get some titles that way. (Come on, Amazon, hurry up and activate library books for Kindle! Reading on an iPad hurts my eyes.) The rest I either keep waiting for, or, if I’m really desperate to read them, I buy them myself or put them on birthday/Christmas wishlists. The problem with buying books now, though, is that I always have library books, and since those have due dates, I have to read them first. It's a vicious cycle, and I never seem to get around to reading the ones I own. You should see the size of my TBR pile next to my bed. It’s a little daunting. I really should just stop going to the library for a while, but this is where the addiction comes in. I can’t stop. There are too many good books there! I must read them all, and I must read them now!

*ahem* Sorry. Got a little crazed there. I told you, I’m hooked.

Anyway, for those I don’t buy, I can usually find them at my library, which is awesome, even if they’re almost never on the shelves. Thank goodness for holds. I usually have anywhere from 4 to 10 books on my waiting list there. In fact, right now, I have 2 waiting for me, which is what prompted this post.

I wonder if I'm the only one who does this: whenever I know I’m going to go to the library, I prepare for it, almost like an athlete would for a big race. Okay, I don’t do stretches or anything like that, but I research. I sit down at my computer, pull up the library’s online catalog in one tab of my browser, my GoodReads to-read list in the other, and start looking up titles. Some days I have no luck: nothing is on the shelf, or, more to my luck, nothing’s on the shelf at the branch I’m going to. Then other days, like today, too much is on the shelf.

I spent over an hour today in their catalog. (My to-read list is nearly 300 titles, so it takes some time to get through, even skipping over those not released yet, those I own and those I know the library doesn’t carry.) In the end, in addition to the 2 holds I’m picking up, and the 2 library books at home I haven’t read yet, I found another 5 titles. And that’s only after narrowing it down to one branch. If I included other branches, I’d be driving all over town to check out another 5 or so on top of that. I’m not quite that crazy, so I’m forcing myself to resist the urge to consume mass quantities of books (for now). Still, even limiting myself to the one branch, bringing home 7 books is pushing it a little, especially since the 2 already at home are due next week and 3 of the 7 are new releases and will be due in 2 weeks. I read fast, but maybe not that fast. I tend to average a book every 2 or 3 days. If I get really into a book, I’ll sometimes read it all in one night, but then there are others that take me nearly a week if they’re long or don’t grab my attention right away, and the 2 at home look like they might fall in to that latter category. They're more literary fiction than romance, mystery or YA, which I tend to read quicker.

So now I’m in a state of “Too many books! Must. Have. Them. All.” I’m not sure what to do about it. The smart thing would be don’t check out all 5, but I know myself better than that. I’ll take them all, because I have no self-control in the face of new books.

As addictions go, I suppose I could have worse. Mine seem to be limited to buying new gadgets, adopting cats and checking out library books. :) Much preferable to drugs and alcohol, no?


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