Wanted: Book Buying BabysitterRachael Berkey

I really need a babysitter.

It’s getting out of control.

I know that it’s the holidays, Christmas specifically for me, but still, the egregiousness of my lack of thrift is off the charts.

Since coming home for the holidays, I have been into no less than three independent bookstores, and I will be taking more than seven books back to New York City with me.

Only one of these books was a gift by the way: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by famed food-blogger Deb Perelman. That one I got from my parents on Christmas morning. The rest are just a result of my complete and undeniable inability to walk through the doors of a bookstore and not exchange my credit card or some cash for yet another pile of bound paper. At this rate, I won’t be without things to read until March or April.

(Okay to be honest, I’ll probably finish these books in the next two weeks. I spend a lot of time reading.)

What is it about a bookstore that makes me want to spend money I really don’t have there? Is it the smell of old binding and glue and paper? Is it the friendly staff who come up with recommendations when they don’t have the title I’m specifically seeking? Or is it just the magic of so many books in one place that drives me to want to take some of them home much like people who can’t walk into or by a pet store without gaining a new puppy or kitten?

Sometimes I think it is a little bit of OCD presenting itself in me, but then I have a rare visit to a shop that doesn’t drive me to part with my paycheck and figure that if I do have a problem, it’s one I can control.

This week’s excursions were all in pursuit of Ready Player One, a book that people all over the internet and my real life have been telling me I simply.must.read as soon as I possibly can. Of course, this emphasized description, with the extraneous punctuation and everything, means that no bookstore I have wandered into has had the book on its shelves. And of course they all have helpful, well-read staff who are quick to point out other post-apocalyptic themed novels. That’s how I ended up with Colson Whitehead’s Zone One yesterday. It’s also how I got into a long-winded and somewhat adorable conversation with the staff at a Cleveland independent bookstore who fangirled out about my regular indie haunt in New York City, Word Brooklyn. Apparently, they has some fans which was of no surprise to me.

Today I managed to control myself. I only bought two books at my favorite shop in town. When I went in initially, I ended up walking around with five paperbacks hemming and hawing over which ones I wanted to buy, hoping against hope that some guardian book angel would step forward and buy them all for me when said-angel saw my plight. But I was not so lucky. None stepped forward waving a magic, limitless credit card, and I was forced to choose just two to take home with me.

Now that I’ve expanded my library so significantly, the only thing left to do is figure out how I’m going to get them home. Perhaps, much like smugglers of old, I should sew them into the lining of my clothes. I don’t think that they will fit into my suitcase unless I sit on it or leave something here.

Should this be my New Year’s resolution, readers? More control? It might just have to be.

Image via Shutterstock

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  1. As a totally broke person, the library is my best friend. Sometimes I have to wait 5 months for a new book, though! In the meantime, I read all the books that I pick up at the library book sales, where I’ve gotten 20 books for less than $10. I rarely buy full-priced books and, when I do, they’re books that I’ve already read and loved and want to have forever. I would just be destitute if I bought all the books I wanted.