On Writing, Reading & Books

Photo: DesignVerb

I’ve made no secret of my book obsession. And I do read. In fact, I am usually reading more than 2 books at a time, as a result of my sometimes non-existent attention span. At the moment, I am shuffling between Atonement, Julie & Julia and Anthony Bourdain’s The Nasty Bits. Last night I plucked Virgina Woolf’s Women & Writing from my bookshelf and dug in. Which inspired this post.

It’s so easy to excuse away buying books.  I mean, they’re books.  They make you smarter!  They expand your mind!  They help you spout out random facts like you know what you’re talking about!  Like NPR!

But, if I am being entirely honest, I have loads……LOADS of books that I haven’t read (or looked at since college). Three large bookcases and multiple baskets scattered throughout the house, all bursting with books

This isn’t too terribly surprising, seeing as how one of my dreams is to someday own a home with its very own library.  Complete with a ladder, fireplace and comfy leather chairs. And a few cats. And a bar.

Anyhow, seeing as how I am trying to stick to the dreaded B-word, books should be one of the first items I cut. For starters, I can check out books from the library or swap on Bookmooch.com. And, I actually kind of have my own mini library – right at home. I often find books that I’ve forgotten I owned.


And what about magazines?

I devour them.  Probably not the smartest form of entertainment for a person such as myself, as one of the main goals of magazines is to convince you to buy shit.  But, I love them.  They provide infinite inspiration – something I need.  I swear, it’s how I earn my living.

That said, I can certainly cut back, right?  Currently, I subscribe to the following, in no particular order:

– Saveur
– Vogue
– Food & Wine
– Bon Appetit
– Elle
– Allure
– Budget Travel
– Sunset
– W
– Martha Stewart Living

I tend to buy, but not subscribe to, UK Vogue, Italian Vogue, French Vogue, Flaunt, MOJO, The Economist, The New Yorker, WWD Collections and miscellaneous other rags.

I have absolutely no business buying any fashion or art related magazines.  I work in a creative services department and we get them all here in the office.  Everything from Dwell, Modern Bride, People, Communication Arts….the list goes on and on.  And I can borrow them anytime I wish.

I also get WWD at work, which pleases me to no end, even though they end up in huge piles at my desk.

US Vogue has evolved into absolute crap but I still compulsively save them.  I have yet another bookshelf filled with Vogue issues dating back to the late 90’s.

So, no more fashion magazines, with the exception of Allure.  We don’t get it at the office (randomly) and I kind of have a girl-crush on Joan Kron.

As for Budget Travel, don’t ask me why I subscribed to this.  It’s boring.  And, I can’t even afford to travel.  Buh-bye!

News magazines are hit or miss.  I buy them when I travel.  Which, as I’ve established, I can’t really do anymore.  I get most of my news from the Internet, anyhow.

As for the food magazines…..well, you can pry those from my cold, dead hands.  Let’s just call them research for my other blog.


So, to wrap up, my goals around reading/resource materials are as follows:

– Get a damn library card already.
– Mooch.
– If a craving for a new book arises, look through one of those overflowing three bookcases.
– Let all magazine subs run out, with the exception of cooking-related publications, and Allure.


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6 Responses to “On Writing, Reading & Books”

  1. futurestruck Says:

    It’s funny that I stumble upon your post. I have just recently started a blog about being a stay at home dad trying to read all of the books I have collected but never read. You are right, it’s easy to rationalize an addiction to books because it’s not like being a crack addict or alcoholic. But it sounds like you, as am I, are addicted to also purchasing books. This tends to get expensive over time, especially when you factor in interest paid on the credit card you used to buy the book.

    I have found that using a site called shelfari.com has actually helped me control the desire to head down to the local bookstore. As from there I can peruse new books and add them to my “wish list”, and then they show up on my virtual shelf. It’s not quite the same, but it’s free. Also writing the blog has helped me to stay focused on the book I am reading. This way I have something new to write about.

  2. Sukie Says:

    your dream library and my dream library are exactly the same. I assume you want a giant spinning globe in the corner as well?

    I am currently letting my subscriptions die out as well. Except Vogue. That will never end (and it’s a christmas gift from my mom’s friend).

    When/If I get a raise, I will either reup W or try to get UK Vogue (or realistically, Economist) but the subscription would only be a reward for working harder.

    And if you absolutely HAVE to own a book, used bookstores are like buried treasure. :) And Powell’s has a website.

  3. pennyplastic Says:

    Sukie, how could I have forgotten about the globe!?!?!

  4. colleen Says:

    do not cut saveur. jesus wouldn’t want you to. f&w and bon appetit can both go (and most of their recipes are printed online), but saveur must. stay.

  5. Maeg Says:

    You’ve got books you’ve never read, and.. well can you be honest with yourself enough to realize you may never get to them at all? Or you’re not that interested in it anymore?

    You sell all sorts of stuff on eBay.. so how about purging some of those books via Amazon, to help lop down that credit (or at the very least squirrel away enough money to buy more books)?

  6. pennyplastic Says:

    Hi Maeg!

    I do have some books listed through Amazon at the moment. Quiet honestly, most of the books I don’t want (academic or old paperbacks) won’t go for much on eBay or Amazon and I try to avoid selling anything for a few dollars (or cents) profit. Simply because I don’t have the time for constant post office visits or the energy for packing up tons of a books a week.

    I will likely do a purge this year and donate some books to the library or an organization.

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