No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The big NKK de-stash

In the months since I started my blog and came across all you lovely people out there, I have admired, in a detached sort of way, the discipline involved in going on a de-stash diet.  I have no such addiction to yarn or fabric.  I have yet to become hooked on it all to the extent that I would buy yarn without a specific project in mind just because, well, it was there.  I know.  Will you still speak to me after this?

But before you turn away in disgust, never to read NKK again, I thought you'd like to know that I am staging an intervention with myself.  Because there's nothing like the prospect of moving every last thing you own across the Atlantic to focus the mind on the amount of stuff in your life.  And I have come to a realisation that I have been hoarding my very own stash.

I've always had a bit of a problem when it comes to books.  I love them.  Everything about them.  The feel of them.  The smell.  And of course the stories they give me.

Now, I know there are worse addictions in life.  I could be a crack whore. So, I've always told myself that it was harmless.  That I could stop anytime....  But in the last three years, my book buying has got a bit out of control.  For two years in North Africa, I couldn't buy books, except in rushed visits when we were home.  And I was always conscious that we wouldn't be there forever, so I somehow managed to curb my acquisitive tendencies.

But there's been no such holding back since we moved to New York.  It's been so fabulous to be able to wander into a bookshop and come out laden with treats.  So, it's only as we get ready to pack up and go that I've really thought about all these lovelies on my shelf.  And only now that I realise that I haven't read any of them.  Yet.    Oh, I have read other books.  Lots of them.  But somehow, all these slipped in there along the way and I haven't yet got around to reading them.  Instead I buy more.  Think of it as the literary equivalent of staring at your wardrobe in despair because you have nothing to wear...

So, I have resolved to read them.  And not buy any more books until I have.  Even as I write this, I'm not convinced I can do it.  It's going to be made all the more difficult because the house by the sea is in a small town with an excellent bookshop (one of the main attractions for me).  But even I realise that it would be truly ridiculous to ship all these lovely books back unread and then go out and buy more.

I have devised a few rules.

1. Presents don't count (as long as they're real presents and not me asking Mr. P to buy a book I'm craving).

2. I want to join a book club (if I can find one) when I get home.  So, if I can't find the chosen book in the local library (also excellent, I'm told), then I'm allowed to buy that book.

3.  If I start a book and can't get into it, I'm allowed to not finish it and start another one instead.  (Twenty years ago this would have been unconscionable to me but there are way too many books I want to read and never enough time to waste on badly written or uninteresting one.

4. I will write a review of each book as I go and post it so you get to see my progress.

There.  What do you reckon?  And do you have the same problem?  And would you like to join me?  Have you read any of the books in my piles?  There's all sorts there from the light and fluffy to more weighty tomes.  Where do you think I should begin?

I have no idea whether I can do this.  But I am determined.  And cussed determination gets me through all sorts of things I didn't think I could do.  Which brings me to an update on the wavery ripple.  I am discovering there is something very satisfying about getting to the end of a ball of yarn...



  1. The ripple looks marvelous!

    I have my own book problems but lost my ability to read long-form fiction sometime during my postgrad years. Some combination of too much reading I had to do and miscellaneous life traumas added up to a distaste for novels. But I'll be cheering you on as you assault the walls there!

  2. I knew that I had a problem when I started to run out of shelf space in a house with a book shelf in every room, and the books were just everywhere. Luckily we have two charity bookshops where I live, so I did the clothes thing (you know, have you worn it in the last year, if not, throw it out) and was totally ruthless, especially with the academic books, many of which do become out of date. But it was heartbreaking, especially when the ladies in the bookshop asked me if I was absolutely sure, and said that they couldn't imagine throwing out such lovely books. I just told myself that if I really regretted any of them, nowadays it is so easy to buy a secondhand copy if needed, and now as soon as my shelves are full, I have a cull. And of course, if I make a bit of space then it gives me an excuse to go and buy another book!

    Pomona x

  3. You are so right - the town you are moving too has a fantastic book shop and an excellent library :) (I'm in the next town along but spend many hours in the book shop ;) ).

    I come from a family of bookworms so we share books between us :)

  4. I have exactly the same problem & working in a bookshop doesn't make matters better! Regular book culls are the only effective solution that I've found so far...

  5. Ah but the yarn and fabric stashing will get you eventually... I share your book problem. I have a degree and Masters in English Literature and I'm a librarian. Can you imagine how that combination impacts on one's book buying?! I loved Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin (but I am a fan of Atwood, generally). I agree about not finishing a book if you hate it - nothing on earh could induce me to finish The Time Traveller's Wife. Life is too short.

  6. Will it make you feel better is i said my piles of books were worse, i am talking in the hundreds! i have a book blog as well as my craft blog.

    Your ripple is looking great, i think the Grey and Red go very well together.

  7. Wow, you have some reading to do there!
    I also find it hard to pass up a good book that I think i'll enjoy, but tned to try to buy from charity shops or amazon to save money! I just love books - and being a former Librarian I am kind of addicted and just want to own them!
    Good luck with sticking to your rules!!!
    Love the red and grey ripple crochet!
    Gill xx

  8. Read Marylin French "The Women's Room" it is excellent and made me furious for weeks. Everytime I picked it up to read I just got more and more mad at the world. Also "The handmaids tale" Margret Atwood is ace. I didn't see it in the pile so I probably shouldn't suggest it, is that like feeding an addict. Stashes are the best until it comes to moving.

  9. I am another book hoarder and like Pomona our shelves are groaning and piled up high. Of course sometimes I justify my book buying sprees by getting some for the children or my husband. But who am I kidding? No matter who the book is for I feel great buying it.

    Your plan seems like an alluring challenge especially for your faithful blog readers. I cannot wait to see how you get along.

    Regularly I try to curb my spending on yarn/books/fabric by giving myself a stern talking to and trying to me a good girl and using up what I already have.... but sometimes - and maybe I shouldn't be writing this here - I think if I can prove to myself that I can do it then what is the harm of indulging such a healthy fancy?

    Isn't life too short?

    Oh, and I tend to lend books out a lot which creates spaces on the shelves especially when they don't return. (Gnashing of teeth!)

  10. Sorry about the spelling mistakes; my keyboard is missing a few keys and I'm missing a few brain cells!

  11. No yarn stash for me either! I, too, like to have a project in mind before the yarn is purchased (otherwise I would feel guilty to have it sitting there unused). Keeps the house neater, that's for sure.

  12. I have had the same problem you have many years ago. I moved across the Atlantic three times and really had to cut down on everything. I kept the books I really love and only purchase very few. Most of the books I read come from the local library and I do enjoy my trip there and browsing.
    I love your wavery ripple, gorgeous colors.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog... Have a great week!...Heidi

  13. Oh my you do like books don't you! I have read three of yours, A Thousand Spledid Suns', which I enjoyed, 'The Book Thief', which I loved and 'The Slap', which I did'nt finish as I found all the characters very annoying. I am intrigued by 'Belfast Ghosts', must look that up. I think you are being very wise to get through these before you buy another. I advise you to start with something you are really keen to read, and that will get you off to a good start. Good luck! Love Linda x

  14. Oh hi. You're my twin did you know?

    I have been very muchly considering making not buying any books my new year's resolution because I currently have 68 (yes I just got up and counted them) books waiting to be read. So really I wouldn't need to buy another book for the next year and half.

    But the thought brings me out in a cold sweat.

    I am definitely going to be watching you with this one - you could be my inspiration!!

  15. Missed this when you posted ... I think it was probably when I was poorly back at the start of last month.

    I have contemplated a similar 'diet' myself. We are positively disappearing under books and though I have at least looked at 99% of them many of them are unread. Perhaps I should join you!


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