Book lover’s leap

You may remember that at the start of 2020 I’d decided, in a bid to reduce the number of unread books I’d accumulated, to see how long I would go before forking out hard cash for new.

Now, at the end of February, on this intercalated leap year day, it might be interesting to see how I’m managing. And the answer is…

I haven’t bought any new books in the first two months of this year! That, as far as I’m concerned, is a cause for celebration, because I’m an inveterate browser in bookshops and rummager in secondhand book stores. But …

… I’ve carried on reading or dipping into books completely new to me. How’s that come about? Well, I’ve continued to use the local library, of course, and even have two reviews in preparation for books from there — one from Jan Mark and another from storyteller Daniel Morden. However, that’s not all.

A number of readers previously agreed that using book tokens I’d been given wouldn’t count towards my moratorium on buying books. After all, what I’d be doing would be exchanging a virtual portion of a plastic card for several sheaves of actual paper with dried ink arranged in complex patterns — none of my own money would have left my pocket. And to reject the gift of a token would be very bad form.

So these are what I’ve swapped for a generous token presented by the choir I regularly accompany:

  1. Eleanor Fitzsimons’ new biography The Life and Loves of E Nesbit. I’m more than halfway through this.
  2. Maria Sachiko Cecire’s literary study Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century. Saw this mentioned on Twitter.
  3. Isabel Greenberg’s graphic novel of the Brontë siblings Glass Town. At least two review blogs favourably noted this hardback.
  4. Tove Jansson’s classic Comet in Moominland, which I’ve already read and reviewed.

And I still have some virtual change left, even if it’s only a few pennies. All of these were recommendations from bloggers or tweeters I follow: look out for my thoughts on the remaining three books during the coming (fingers crossed) few weeks, or possibly months.

In other news
Tomorrow sees the start of three reading events I’m hoping to take part in. March Magics focuses on works by Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett (who both died in this month). There’s also Reading Ireland Month because 17th March is St Patrick’s Day. Finally I’ll be participating in the Wales Readathon and, tomorrow being St David’s Day, I shall set off March with a review of a collection of tales by Welsh storyteller Daniel Morden.

And I don’t plan to spend any money for any of them. (No, you didn’t hear an exultant *Result!* emanating from my direction, it was just your imagination.)

39 thoughts on “Book lover’s leap

    1. Without libraries? Significantly poorer, personally and communally, and as a measure of how civilised we are regressing to some dark age — which, by other measures, we seem to determined to do, and fast. Collective madness.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. So you bought 4 books: lets see how you will fare in the months ahead without tokens 😉 January might be the worst month to make resolutions to reduce TBR: with all the year of end lists recommendations and those token gifts… Hang on there. I made a similar resolution, but the 3rd part of Wolf Hall will be out in a few days, so…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, Bart, ye of little faith! I think with books on my shelves and the library I may manage another month at least… 😁

      Apart from the three hefty tomes I acquired with the token I tend not to get recently published books, just like I tend not to rush out to watch the latest film but wait till it appears on free-to-view telly a year or two later. I’m not an inveterate seeker after shiny new things just because they’re new, but I never say no if they’re offered to me on a plate!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve glanced into the Glass Town novel and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it — and it also seems a good primer for reading the three Glass Town collections I’ve acquired over the last two or three years. But, yes, reading the shelves is next after that! By the way, I took the photo of some of those shelves in such a way as to highlight the DWJ books precisely because of March Magics…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. While I have managed to read quite a few from my TBR, I failed miserably (ie: happily!) on the book-buying front, purchasing five books the other night at the event I attended – five authors – how could I not? I’ve acquired several other books too, but my book purchasing is lower than it has been in previous years, while still managing to frequent my local indie bookshops. I’m trying to make it fortnightly or more instead of weekly. You’re doing really well – keep it up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When inspiring authors talk about their work it’s hard not to want to invest in what they’ve produced (though I have to say I don’t worry about having the personal touch about an autographed copy these days). Well done to you for reining in your Shiny New Books habit, though I’m sure that must be a mixed blessing… 😁

      Liked by 2 people

        1. There used to be, I think, a pricey secondhand bookshop mostly selling vintage and first editions in Morgan Arcade but they seem to have disappeared a few years ago. The Oxfam bookshop is usually my first port of call, that or Waterstone’s.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done Chris! I am full of admiration, especially as I have totally failed in my resolution not to buy anything. And now I’ve been given a book token so there will be further acquisitions… One of my purchases is Glass Town and it looks lovely though I haven’t started it yet. I hope you’ll write about it!

    (I was hoping that the second photograph was also of your bookshelves but I note from the comments above that sadly it isn’t.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Book tokens, I am assured, DO NOT COUNT, as I’ve been told several times! And you can always reset the start period for your moratorium, Helen: a date is just a number after all.

      I will write about the Greenberg graphic novel, of course, but maybe not just this month — we’ll see.

      My bookshelves? There’s another picture of my shelves on the ‘So many books’ page, but it’s been a while since I posted about what’s on there. Perhaps I can rustle one up…


      1. Very good news about the book tokens and thank you for the suggestion to change the date, I think I shall do that. Hurrah!

        I am TREMENDOUSLY nosy and love seeing other people’s books. I shall go and have a look at the So many books page to feed this reprehensible addiction.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re not the only one to be tremendously nosy about other people’s shelves, Helen: I do that in real life but also zoom in on pictures of bookshelves others post online! Reprehensible? You’re in good company…


  4. You’ve done well. Mine has just gone up again as a result of the Orenda roadshow where I was restrained but still ended up buying three copies. Like you I’ve also been using the library more these past few months

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a feeling many of us are patting ourselves on the back for being a little more restrained this year, Karen! Unlike you and me, though, access to a still-open local library may not be an option for some, sadly.


  5. piotrek

    Congratulations! I actually also acquired only 4 so far this year, although it was a regular Amazon order, no tokens involved. It was 16 by this time in 2019… And libraries in Krakow actually got around a hundred books from me, without giving or even lending me any, as I continue my attempts to regain some space…

    If the trend continues, I might actually go to a library to borrow a book, for the first time since university…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do like it that Polish libraries will take books surplus to reader requirements, Piotrek. (I wonder if coronavirus will put a temporary stop to that for now?)

      The Friends of our local library have set up a fund to pay for books requisitioned through the County Library, to stay at our branch for longer than the usual period before they get transferred to other branches; but it’s policy that they don’t accept secondhand books for lending out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. piotrek

        Not all the libraries, only the central library in the city, local branch turned me down and they were actually rather unpleasant, they did not even tell me I could go to the main one, I learned that later.

        I gave them around 200 volumes, and they told me they divide them into three groups – some are added to the stock, the rest sold or given away for free.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. buriedinprint

    What’s more fun than an unused booktoken?
    If anything is, it’s the accumulated treasures.
    But the imagining of the bookish possibilities is just awesome.
    Enjoy your new arrivals and good luck with your dedication to your principles.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: #BookReview: Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett #MarchMagics #Discworld #Citywatch – Literary Potpourri

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