books, reading

Forming New Reading Habits

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Or, Why I Am Going to Use the Library Less This Year.

Necessary disclaimer: I love public libraries, and think their service is so valuable. Will I continue to use them? Oh, my, yes. I just need to cut back for the immediate future because of these things:

Unfortunately, I do not live in an area where all of the incredibly new and vastly pretty books are available to borrow. Due to this exact factor, I have been waiting for some titles forever, and when you have little/no patience (that’d be moi), this becomes tiresome.

My bookshelf is looking a bit peaked. Since Muffin was born, there have been a) many other things to spend money on, b) a lot less space to store things that weren’t baby-related, and c) for the first time in years, we are again collecting picture books. So — while having a great collection of picture books is essential to happiness — the selections for people over the age of, well, 8, is a little, er, lacking. (The resident Book Dragon is embarrassed to admit this.)

I have started signing up for ARCs. I know, what took me so long?! When those begin arriving (offers quick but very sincere prayer for publishers to be nice to me), I’ll need time to read them, right? If I have a bunch of library books checked out, and I’m trying to avoid fines, how am I going to accomplish this if I must drop them all immediately to devour these precious commodities?

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Winter is so here. Since we have not had a second car since last February, and I walk everywhere for the past 10 months, it’s turning into a major hassle to haul more than 2 library books 3/4 of a mile up the street to my house. In snow and cold. It is physically much easier to acquire 5-6 books at once from a store or website.

It is very difficult to set a time limit for finishing anything when you have a 2-year-old. Muffin is actually 2 1/2, but, really, there’s no splitting hairs on this. I set my Goodreads goal at 20, for the entire year, and believe me, that’s being quite optimistic. Having too many library books, on a time limit, is, again, not financially practical when your reading is constantly interrupted, and it may take you beyond the renewal period to finish one novel.

I need to concentrate on completing Volume 2. As previously mentioned, Volume 1 of my fantasy series will soon be published (insert all the excitement here!), and in the interest of not getting into a writing slump, I want to revise my draft for Vol. 2, well, now. One of my goals for 2017 is to use Camp NaNo to reach a set word count for this draft, and I can’t do that if I haven’t worked on it at all.

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I am now very bad at searching for novels in the library catalogue. Call it parenting-a-toddler-induced memory loss — I no longer remember authors’ names. When you’re hunting for something in the library catalogue without knowing the author’s name, this website will not be very merciful. Goodreads and Barnes & Noble will. And they always have a cover image up. I remember pictures much better these days.

There are other disadvantages to borrowing books. Examples: Other patrons impolitely damage before they return. If you lose a library selection, you have to pay for the replacement, even if you didn’t like it. There are restrictions on how many books you can check out at once. Or have on hold request at once. What if you really need to refer to something from a book that you already turned in?

If you don’t own a ton of books, you can’t… Build a book fort. Use hardcovers to protect yourself from having to make small talk on the bus. Avoid boredom at that party you didn’t want to go to, anyway. Employ the really heavy ones as doorstops or lethal weapons. Or legitimately call yourself a Book Dragon. And, quite frankly, I want to be able to do *this* next December.

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3 thoughts on “Forming New Reading Habits”

  1. haha obviously that last point is the most important!!! I one hundred percent agree with you about the catalogue thing! Plus the downside to the library is, cos I never find what I was looking for, I always end up with books I never intended to get… (this wouldn’t actually be a bad thing if I had some modicum of self-control and didn’t walk out with every single book that catches my eye) Still love libraries though! 😉


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