Tuesday, February 09, 2016

A LITTLE LIFE Affirms That Book Buying is Not for Me


It happens, right? Different strokes for different folks. A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara has gotten sooooo much positive press from every direction: book websites, "best of" lists, literary awards, my favorite bloggers, you name it. But...

I just couldn't do it. 100 pages into the novel I felt like everything was soooo flat. It took forever to even begin to know the characters, and once I did begin to know them, they were still lackluster. Understanding that everything ahead was over-the-top doom and gloom and potentially caricature, I decided not to torture myself by reading further.

After reading 10 of my own damn books in January, this was my reward to myself. I bought a digital copy to read along with Heather and Care, and I was SO STOKED to talk about it and explore it together.

Ultimately, though, part of my goal in #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks is to cycle through a chunk of my TBR books and NOT force myself to read things I don't want to. This particular DNF experience brought my own evolution in book buying into sharp focus. I don't want to burn money, y'all. I dropped $13 on this book I felt was a really good bet, and I knew within 48 hours that I had essentially burned that money.

With some yet unspoken but very real career changes on my wishlist for the near future, I cannot burn money. CANNOT.

It's high time I make friends with my local library with which I've had an iffy relationship. It's the only one for miles and miles and MILES around. There are no library systems in this neck of the woods unless you go to Dallas (45-50 minutes away). It is a small library with an extremely limited collection of books, though they have branched out in the last few years with more Overdrive selections. It's $20 per year to join the library if you live outside the city limits, and I do.

For a long time I forsook library checker-outing not only because I don't love my local library (it's an easy scapegoat), but because I was stuck in a cycle of buying books and letting them sit on my shelves, sometimes for years, which is how I got to this personal challenge in the first place. It didn't feel so iffy, so wasteful, to spend money on books when I knew they'd grace my house for years and someday possibly be a thing I'd enjoy (or not). But to be actively whittling my pile down, and ultimately working toward a quicker turnaround of reading the books I own, hating a book within two days of buying it made the light bulb go off in a very, very tangible way.

Bottom line: Even though I've allotted the opportunity to buy books for myself, I think I'll stick to books I know I'll enjoy (books I've read as galleys that I want keeper copies of, etc.) and opt for the library on new, spur of the moment reads. Many of you already do this, so I'm sure this post seems silly, but it's a BIG change of mind for me who has been a library dropout for so many years. Will I have to TRY to use my library? Yes. I may even have to think far enough ahead to use interlibrary loan at the university where I work, too, but I think it'll be worth it.

Are you a natural-born library user? Do you live in a place where it takes effort? Was there a reckoning that pushed you to the library?




64 comments:

  1. I knew not to touch A Little Life (Thomas slaughtered that book in a review and he and I tend to have similar book preferences). Can you use your university library and their ILL system? You might find that useful.

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  2. I am a natural-born library user...or maybe it was nurture. My mom took me to the library (libraries in our case) in at least three neighboring towns when I was young and I've been addicted ever since. Now I work in a library. I don't think it really takes effort anymore to use libraries, especially if you read ebooks, e.g. the Free Library of Philadelphia. No reckoning every pushed me to the library, except maybe being in a job that I wasn't enjoying. I now enjoy my job at the library.

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  3. I don't use my library very often because I have so many of my own books on the shelf, but I do use them for graphics! I rarely buy books these days--if I do then it's either something I feel pretty sure about (bought Between the World and Me this morning) or something that's like $2 on daily deal. I've had that feeling of being burned over the years and with space running out and so much to read already, it just hasn't appealed to me. I just mentioned to Amanda yesterday that I rarely even go to HPB anymore. Tweeted you this, but you might check out Plano if you don't have access to Dallas anymore. Think anyone can join Plano and their selection is decent (at least better than McKinney!).

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  4. Well... I use the library a lot and mostly because I work there ;) I still love buying books (though I am doing well with #readmyowndamnbooks and have kept the buying in check). I buy a lot of used books too. I use the library for comics & graphic novels as well as books I know are more of brain candy and quick reads. I also love putting books on hold and being surprised when they come in. Or putting them on hold and then suspending the hold so I don't forget about them. But my library is close, free, and has a lot to offer in physical formats as well as digital (and I don't love reading digitally).

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  5. I read enough about A Little Life to know it's a book I'd never read.

    As for libraries - I am a big user (60-75% of my books). The reason is that I'm lucky to have two fabulous library systems that are also convenient. I work in one county and the central branch is within walking distance of my office. I live in another county and have a branch that is a right turn in, right turn out between the park and ride lot and home. Whenever a library levy is on the ballot my husband says "Hell yes, I'm voting for this. It saves me money!"

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  6. I'm not a library user in the least. The only time I ever went was in college and grad school - mainly, because I had the professors order the books I needed for my dissertations. And now, I would just rather own the books. Of course, I hate when its a DNF -then I wish I went to the library. So, maybe I should look into joining again. Hope you have good luck with the library :) By the by, I enjoyed A Little Life, but have to admit it was not as great as everyone seemed to think. It seemed that anything and everything bad that can happen to someone had to happen to Jude over and over again. It was a bit much.

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  7. I am an avid library user, but I'm also fortunate to have only lived in areas with big library systems. The other day I looked up a book I wanted in the catalog, and I almost had a heart attack when I saw it was in NONE of the 20ish libraries in our system. That has never happened here before! So for this, I know I am lucky.
    That said: I used to have a serious book buying problem, one that my home shelves have not recovered from. Easily over 100 unread. I haven't bought books in ages, but combine my full shelves with my love of the library = home shelves never get read. I chip away at it slowly, but I have no illusions that I'll ever get through them all, given how quickly I get distracted in the library!

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  8. Sorry to hear that your reward to yourself fell flat. I am not sure whether I want to read A Little Life or not; maybe in a couple of years... I am lucky to have three library systems in my area that offer open borrowing and that don't charge for usage. Strangely, the one that is most "in the boonies" has the best selection; it's always a pleasant surprise to browse its catalog. I'd say pay the $20 to try your library. It's the price of maybe 3 books, and you'll probably find enough books to make up for that expense.

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  9. I'm such a fan of my library. It does take effort to use it because there's not one that's very close to me but I put items on hold from the dozens of libraries around our city and they're shipped to my local branch for me to pick up. I mainly use them for audiobooks, but also for e-books. I rarely buy books new, but when I do it's a special treat and I've gotten to the point where I try to buy books I know I want in my permanent collection instead of just something that sounds good. If I read a library book and love it and know I'll reread it, then I'll buy myself a copy to own.

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  10. Aw, man! That sucks! But me, too! It was soooo depressing! And not in an rapturously engrossing way like GOLDFINCH last year. But mine was a library loaner, sooo...yeah.

    Ideas: If you have a library card to Dallas, could you do library ebooks? They must subscribe to Overdrive like my library does and you could at least borrow for your ereader. I have library cards to three different libraries to maximize my results. If you make it up here ever, we could get you a card at my local - they just require a TX driver's license and they definitely do ebooks. :)

    Idea 2: What I've started doing is reading the first chapter online via Amazon's Kindle Store where they'll send you a free sample to your ereader of choice. That way I have a pretty good idea if I'm going to want to invest in buying the book. I keep a list in a little black book I carry around of the books I *do* want to buy, so if I'm out and I"m tempted, I have a go-to list! Doesn't always work out, but it's as close to foolproof as I've found for myself.

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  11. I use the library all the time for ebooks. I think in all my time of being a Kindle owner, I've only purchased maybe 4 ebooks.

    What??? No A Little Life!! I am hurt deep down. Such a gorgeous book but you do have to get to a certain point to see it. Kind of like The Goldfinch.

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  12. I like buying books but am a huge fan of my local library. For a small town library, it's pretty awesome.

    Can you get a library card for the Dallas library and utilize their elibrary? I know a lot of people who do that when their local library doesn't have a lot of options.

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  13. I'm fortunate enough to get a lot of ARCS at work, so I rarely use the library. If you don't need to buy a book right away, but really do want to own it, I recommend waiting for it to go to paperback on the bargain shelf at B&N. I'm constantly amazed how fast most books go to the $4.99 shelf. Just a thought.

    I have a feeling I won't be reading Little Life afterall...

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  14. Haha! Your post really made me think about my buying/borrowing habits. The library takes risk away for me. I still buy books, but if I'm on the fence, I'll check it out from the library. I've read some GREAT books that way, but I feel less guilt about putting one aside if it doesn't strike a chord with me.

    I'm lucky to have a great library, though I haven't used it in a while - I bought over two dozen books right after Christmas, and I'm still making my way through them.

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  15. Well I understand your thoughts on this. I haven't read it, and don't want to, especially after the very persuasive take down that was published in the New York Review of Books. That said I think it makes sense to buy keeper copies of books you love and borrow the new ones. I did that for a while with proceeds from books I sold and it was very satisfying.

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  16. I am a huge library user. The books I buy are usually only rereads these days or books my library won't get. I am a rereader so those end up on my shelves.

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  17. I rarely ever buy full-price books anymore unless I am strolling through a bookstore and managed to sample a book. I use the library and used bookstores heavily. But I have had this happen to me too - buying a book I was looking forward to and then have it fall flat on my face. When that happens, I try to make myself forget that I spent a fortune on it even though that fact will keep niggling me for a long time.

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  18. I've recently started using the Sachse library and I've been pleasantly surprised. I'm not as well read as you, but they have more than I expected. I've also noticed what I want to read is almost always available or available after a quick hold. Have you looked into the Garland library? Not sure how great it is, but it might be free.

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  19. Boo! I'm so sorry you earned yourself a reward, and then the damn reward turned out to be a total bust!
    I'm a huge library user, but I couldn't have said that before homeschooling. There was just no way we could afford to buy all the books we use. And I still buy books (though a very small fraction of what I once did), but they're almost exclusively used books--and it's usually from the library book sales.

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  20. I agree with you on so many levels. One of my best friends refuses to spend money on books. She finds going to the 2 or 3 libraries in her area a challenge or game. She loves the hunt for a new book or title she hasn't heard about. She doesn't use the online hold that I favor when using the library. Because I still accept galleys for books I always seem to have too much to read, and it's nothing to complain about. I "give" myself an audio a month on audible so if a new book comes that I want to read but feel a crunch in reading time or other things I have the audio option and the time I listen is different than the time I sit and read.
    Good luck with your library goal, and remember to ask your friends if they have a copy to share. ;)

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  21. That was Fates and Furies for me.

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    1. Made me LOL because I'm reading it now. So far it's ok. We'll see.

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  22. I am a natural library user. I am also a natural book buyer. Boy do I have a problem! I'm also old enough that my books owned/books unread is quite astonishing; I rarely reveal the number. Over the last several years, my unread collection has become a burden to me and I have books in places I don't want books. I have tried a number of methods to try and get myself to quit buying and reduce the unread TBR. I've tried "read 5 before you buy" and some other tactics, but didn't persist, so I didn't get far. So far your #readmyowndamnbooks hashtag has actually been working (I was sceptical)! I don't know why it is so motivating, but it is so I'm running with it. I've also broken my "book problem" into smaller areas to address so I can see progress. I've been using the library or Amazon's read a first chapter before I buy ANYTHING unknown. Mostly I've been shopping my own shelves (my LibraryThing catalog has been helpful with this) and have gotten more excited about what I already own. I want to get back to using the library more and mostly spending money on books I know I want to keep. I started tracking the number of books I didn't keep (can't keep them all anyway) and was shocked at how much money that represents. Hopefully all of us can find that better balance with our books!

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  23. This is also why I don't buy a lot of books unless there is a deal. I'm just afraid of throwing away money. That said I will buy a book if it is pretty because then a least I can say it's nice to look at.

    I do use my library a lot, especially now with the digital borrowing. If a book doesn't work out, it's not a big deal.

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  24. I've never been one to buy a ton of books (which is part of why I haven't done much jumping into #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks...I just don't have an overwhelming number hanging over my head), though I'm sure I own more than the average bear. I tend to buy books I've read and loved and want to own or titles I'm nearly positive will fall into that category. Everything else comes from the library. I hope your shift makes you feel better and helps you find more books you love (and can buy!).

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  25. I live in the Dallas area but I am in Denton and the library's here are great in my opinion. I know if I were across the bridge (i35)I would be in Lake Dallas whose library I have not heard great things about but for a fee you can use the Denton library. Idk where u are at but I can say maybe that type of thing can work in your favor. I can't believe all the positive praise for the Goldfinch but that was a huge DNF for me last year but to each their own. Also I second the electronic idea from libraries, our libraries have a great selection for that as well so great ideas.

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  26. Ha! I'm a huge fan of the library, but I understand the appeal of purchasing books -- especially for that instant gratification. We have an outstanding library system here, thankfully; if I want something my local branch doesn't have, they'll bring it over from a neighboring county for pick-up. I really only went back to the library when I started listening to audio books a few years back, though. I want to get into getting Kindle books through the library next!

    And I totally feel you on not wanting to waste $$$ on books that suck. As a book blogger, I was definitely spoiled by receiving galleys and not needing to purchase much for years and years. But now I'm committing less to reviews and need to read my own damn books, too -- the ones that have been hanging around for-ev-er. Maybe this is the time!

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  27. I feel you on the book buying cycle ... and the buyer's remorse when the book is disappointing. That's the second reason your challenge resonates with me so much. I feel more bothered when it's an e-book that I end up archiving forever because I can't even pass it on in the hopes that a) the book will find an appreciative reader and/or b) I can donate it for a library book sale. I might as well have just flushed the money down the toilet. It's a little maddening! So, yes, your challenge has inspired me to rediscover my library as well. Now if I can just remember to get the books back on time...

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  28. I made this transition a couple years ago, and it's done wonders for my budget and for my shelf space. These days, I only buy books I've already ready via the library and know I want to keep for ever and ever or books I picked up at the thrift store or during a Kobo sale for under $3. I try to limit the latter to things that aren't in my library's collection.

    You should see if your library has a Suggest A Purchase option on their website or via their community desk. They may be willing to buy some of the books you want but can't currently borrow from them, especially if other people have already expressed interest.

    And, as others have suggested, you may be able to tap into a nearby (but not quite local) library's ereserve for digital books and audiobooks. Look for Hoopla as well as Overdrive; they've got a great selection, and some libraries also subscribe to their comics service (mine, alas, does not).

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  29. I've been fortunate to have spent most of my life in Singapore where the libraries are very well funded (by a special government endowment), they open everyday from 10-9 and Singapore is small so they're easily within reach. Some are even in shopping malls. So to come here to the US where libraries arent so well funded was a bit sad. However my city's library is pretty good. Theyve started opening on Sundays again and have a pretty great collection. And also Overdrive is awesome. I tend to buy books mostly from library sales or at Book Outlet (bargain books).

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  30. While I've always been a big library user in a good place for library usage, I had a similar revelation in 2010. There were a lot of books that I thought that I might as well just buy instead of getting from the library. I had hundreds of unread books on my shelves. Then when I started going through them, I ended up abandoning at least 75% of them. And that's a LOT of money to waste. Sure, I got some back at Half Price Books, but not NEARLY as much as I spent getting them. That's when I decided to almost never buy books that I hadn't yet read. There are a couple authors I'll splurge on to get books I know I'll read. I'll buy Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven King the day it comes out in April, for instance. But if I become interested in a book, I won't buy it, no matter how cheap. I just put myself on the waiting list from the library. I *like* having no unread books on my shelves. I always have a supply rotating in at the library, and if I don't, I browse - some of my favorites over the years have come from random library finds, and I waste no money grabbing a pile of those instead of a pile from a store!

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  31. We have a medium sized library system here and I used to use it all the time. Now, I rarely darken it's doorway, I'm sad to say.

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  32. I use the library all the time - right now I have 26 books checked out and about a dozen books on my holds list that aren't published yet. I buy a couple of books for myself each year, but they are books that I usually know I'm going to love (like favorite sci-fi authors). I had a similar experience several years ago with a Simon van Booy book. Everyone said it was just the best book ever - so beautifully written - the gushing was off the charts. I bought it sight unseen and didn't make it past the first chapter. I hate his writing style, and yet I didn't want to go overboard saying how much I loathed it at the time, because bloggers with whom I was close friends were completely in love with it. I ended up giving the book away and have been more cautious about buying books solely on the recommendations of others since then.

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  33. I'm a natural library user...because I work in one. But I realized when I was looking at everything I've read in the last year that buying books in the future would just be silly. In 2015, I read maybe 2 books that I own and EVERYTHING else was a library book or galley. While I have grandiose ideas that I will one day read the books on my shelves at home, I'm pretty sure I should donate all of them. I'm only allowing myself to buy books for the baby this year (and only ones that I think she'll want to share with her own hypothetical children one day).

    As far as your library experience goes...are there other library systems that are larger that you can join for a fee? If you've got to pay, you might as well pay for the one that gives you the biggest bang for your buck. In our system, if you live outside of the county it's $40 annually. But not only do you get access to an amazing digital collection, you also get Lynda.com, ConsumerReports.org, digital magazines, downloadable music and lots of research databases.

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  34. I am a natural-born library user, but so far this year I have bought more books than I did in the last couple years combined. I see how overwhelming buying books can be, especially since I keep adding books that I get from the library for free, but with a deadline. I'm always torn between reading the book I spent my money on first or reading the book I have to return (or ebook that will expire) first.

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  35. That's pretty much exactly why I quit buying new books. I'm a fairly fast reader so there was no way my budget could keep up with my reading habit - especially in my college days and I basically lived in the library or the used bookstore that was near the college I attended. I took a break from the library for awhile but I read a book called Free For All about a guy who worked in a library and that interested me in the library branch near me and I decided to check it out and have been hooked ever since. Does your library do library loans from other libraries? Or purchase requests? That might help broaden your choices a bit.

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  36. First of all, I feel your pain about this book and money you spent. I tried reading it earlier this year and got a couple of chapters in - nope - not for me. And so there it is, on my Kindle or rather in my cloud. Anyway, I am really, really trying to curb my book buying impulses.

    I used to be a big, big library user. I worked at the library for many years and before that, I was always there checking books out. Well, time passed and we've been lucky. I have the funds to be able to buy books pretty much when I want. But, the question is, should I? Couldn't I spend that money on things that I would actually use or give it away to the needy or hey, save it for retirement. So, I am working hard at reading my own books and then I'll be also using the library a bit more. We are outside any library system here and so we have to pay non-resident fees. Austin just went back to charging non-residents for cards - they had a grant before that meant you could get cards for free. They have a very extensive e-book and audio section though and the cost is worth it, probably.

    Good luck and I applaud you aim to read your books, use your library, and curb impulses to buy a little too many that you might not like. :-)

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  37. I use my library, but I tend to overindulge there as well. Which is fine because it is cheaper than buying, but there's still a lot of books on my shelf that get pushed aside .

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  38. I'm sorry you wasted all that money... ebooks are getting ridiculously expensive! I've been avoiding A Little Life because I have a feeling I'll feel the same as you. Have you ever used the "request sample" button on amazon? Sometimes that's enough to know whether book will grab you.

    I'm mostly buying only ebook bargains or daily deals these day. Otherwise I'm reading my own books or using the library. The library here in FL has hoopla, which is amazing - an electronic service with no waiting, you get whatever you want instantly! They have ebooks, audiobooks, and movies. There is a monthly limit to checkouts (5 here) and ebooks are fairly limited, but they've just come to a deal with Open Road Media and a couple of other companies. The selection should improve dramatically soon!

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  39. I'm not a natural born library user, which is actually pretty weird as I was a library monitor in primary school and I basically lived at the school library on lunch breaks (I even still have my 'Library Monitor' badge).

    I'm the same as you - I buy the books to keep; it is unfathomable to me that I could dislike a book enough to not keep it. But times have changed, and I'm trying to make a conscious effort to get more books from the library and if I really love them, I might considering purchasing my own copy.
    I have a really good library across the road from my work, so whenever I'm after a book (this is mostly in the last couple of months) I'll check if they have it before I consider purchasing it - with a few exceptions. My main reason for starting to use the library is just that my book buying was out of control. At least if I get lots of books from the library, they're free!

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  40. This is a packed post! I am a HUGE library fan. I can't get enough of it! I used to live where a public library was rare and I totally flipped moving to Canada. The library was MY PLACE.

    I'm a little sorry to hear that A Little Life didn't work out for you. But then I'm not surprised because it one of those books that you either love or hate. I slogged through the first part too, and I had to get to a certain point before it picked up for me. I;m pretty sure it was well over 100 pages. Needless to say I am of the love camp.

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  41. Goodness. What a fun post, excellent discussion and rock star responses! Squeeeee

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  42. I'm sorry A Little Life didn't work, but good for you for bailing right when you knew it! It did take me awhile to get into the characters and I had trouble telling them apart for awhile (had to resort to note-taking). And I read it early, so had no idea how gut-wrenching it would end up being. I think part of my love for it was the unfolding while knowing nothing.
    And - I'm the WORST library user. Correction - I do not use my library at all. I read 100% electronically, so that's part of it. I tried signing up for its Overdrive system earlier this year and it wouldn't recognize my library card (which I've only used to check out DVDs for my kids), so I temporarily gave up. I feel like such a sh*t admitting all this. I have gotten better about sampling e-books before I buy them, but I'd still like to use the library.

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  43. Oh boy! That stinks that it didn't work out for you. I've been fortunate to have a great library system close by (I also work there part-time) and use it much more now as I try to avoid buying books as well. If I do buy books, I get the ones I want to reread over and over or reference. I've also gone to the library book sales and can get recent titles for as low as $1 a piece. I hope the library works out for you!!

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  44. I'm lucky enough to,have an awesome public library, and I use it A LOT. Really the only time I buy books at this point in my life is when I loved them or if the ebooks are on sale (or if it's by one of my favorite authors and I just. Can't. Wait).

    But! Before that, I was at university, and I used ILL for all my library borrowing. You will be shocked at how many books and how easy it is to get them through ILL. I think you'll love it.

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  45. Well you know with me being a librarian..it's just my first instinct and there is no way I could have ever have afforded my reading speed and new book selections for freelance work over the years. Galleys and ARCS are great but you can't always get your hands on what your particular audience is interested in when doing freelance work beyond your blog.

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  46. I'm a diehard library user and have been all my life. When I was a kid and in college, I bought a lot of books but also often read them right away so I didn't have much of a physical tbr. But in grad school, I collected a lot of books and realized after graduation that none of them appealed to me. At a time when I didn't have a job and had to live with family, those books felt like a waste of much-needed funds. From then on, my policy has been to only read library books with a few exceptions, e.g. when I have a 16-hour flight home and no reading material left. I also buy books when I've read and loved them, and will be rereading for years to come. My physical tbr is small (11 books!) but my virtual tbr is huge (932 books!).

    As for library tips, I think it helps to do some comparisons before you commit. E.g. If ebooks are important to you, I'd check to see what systems near you offer in terms of the most (or best quality) selection. Personally, I couldn't live without my library's ILLs because I tend to read a lot of small press and poetry titles. So the fact that my library does ILLs between branches, between public library systems, and with academic libraries is a huge bonus. If you know people who are library cardholders for the systems you're considering, they may be able to help you figure out what the best fit is for you. Finally, I also want to say that you shouldn't be too hard on yourself. This reading your own books thing is new and you're not always going to get it or the reward right. And even with the library, it takes some time to adjust.

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  47. You can do it! I hate it when I spend money on a disappointment.

    I am about thirty miles from Houston, so I save up and request all my difficult-to-find books 2-3 weeks before major holidays at the enormous Houston Public Library. I make a run to H, check out a huge stack of possibilities, and read like a crazy person. If a book doesn't make the cut, oh well.

    That's my strategy.

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  48. Sorry to hear about A Little Life because I was one of those bloggers that loved it. I don't buy a lot of books, myself, and am a heavy library user, even now that I'm not working in one for the moment! It does take more planning to get yourself back and forth to the library when it's open (unless you're reading e-books from the library) and sometimes new books come in all at once or at a bad time for reading, but I figure that if a library book comes home with me and I don't read it and I have to borrow it again, that still helps the library's circulation figures, even though it's preventing the next person on the list from getting it sooner! I try to buy books every so often, as a treat and to do my little part in helping the publishing industry stay alive!

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  49. Yes! You said it! That is pretty much the reason why I don't buy books. I use my library service as preview, and only buy the books that I want to keep with me. The exception is of-course - an upcoming book in a series that I love AND own.

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  50. I am a hard core library person. I have bought books in the past, book sale books, that I never read. Once I saw that pile of bought but unread books, I stopped. In the last year I have bought 3 books. I am reading 1. The other two are anthologies so their is no push to read them right away. This year I am greatful that I bought the books I have purchased because they are slow reads. Books, that make you pause and think. Books that set the pace you read not vice versa. I am also happy that I bought the books because today and Saturday, I cannot go to the library due to frigid conditions. In short always the library first unless I know that I am going to "have a moment."

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  51. In the case of A Little Life, I went with the library, mainly because it's been so polarizing. People really either seem to love it or to absolutely hate it. I figure I can buy a copy if/when I know how I feel about it.

    Overall, I am planning to use the library more this year. I am trying to stick with the TBR, but I can't kid myself that I won't buy books. As a matter of fact, I've already bought six--but I bought them from Better World Books, they were all used, and the money goes for a good cause. Those were all older titles, but when I wanted a new, shiny book (Girl Waits With Gun), I went to the library. So I guess it's a mix for me. If I can get something used or on sale, I might buy it. If not, it's library all the way.

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  52. I'm very much a library girl. I've mostly lived in places with good libraries, and I try to remind myself that I'm lucky for that. Like others, I really only buy books I've already read, loved, and will want to read again. I used to have a couple auto-buy authors, but as my tastes have evolved over the years, I'm trying to get better about trying out even those books ahead of time.

    Where I have gotten burned though is with comics. My library has a pretty wide selection, but it's still pretty common to come across a comic series I want to read that they don't have, so I'll impulsively buy on Comixology and then later wish I hadn't.

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  53. Boo! I'm sorry this one didn't work for you. I am a little scared to pick it up - but it will be a library book for me for sure. I'm a library addict so I'm very lucky to live in a big city with an amazing system. Hope you have better success when you pick up another of your own damn books!

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  54. I really wish that A Little Life would have worked for you. I agree that it's slow going in getting to know the characters at first, but that book gutted me; I was unable to even think of another book for a week, not to mention it took me 10 days to read it because I had to put it down so often due to the emotional exhaustion of it.

    I've begun using my library a lot more lately. My library is pretty big, but they don't always share the same tastes in books as I. I recently got an email from them saying that I had recommended too many books for their purchase too soon! Yep. I'm one of THOSE people. haha I will say that my library has helped my budget A LOT! Luckily, my library is free, but I would love to be a member of another library in other states for Overdrive ebooks and audio. I just can't find one that will take an online application. :( They all want me to come in and fill out the application. Boo.

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  55. Check your local library to see if you can get a TexShare card. They are free, but have to be issued at your local library, and then can be used at most Texas libraries without having to pay a fee at the other library. That said, you may not get "full access" - the big one closest to us allows us to check out only 15 items at a time (as opposed to unlimited), and only physical items - so no downloads. This was a recent change - we had full access for free until this year. They are now charging non-residents $120/yr for unlimited access. My husband is considering paying the fee since he gets most of his audio books from there, and it would still be cheaper than an Audible subscription. Just something else to ask about that might save you money and allow you to access other libraries without the fees. (And, it does vary from library to library as to what you can access - you might be lucky enough to get downloads on your TexShare!)

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  56. I can't even grasp the concept of "a reckoning that pushed me to the library." I'm a bit older and grew up with libraries; much later in life I became a medical librarian, though I had other careers too. Libraries are vital to a flourishing democracy and I think it is very concerning that many have had to struggle financially. Libraries are so much more than books, they are assets to their communities in many different ways.

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    1. I completely agree with you that libraries are essential to communities and democracy. I was fortunate to see that first hand when I worked in the same library I don't really use before I started my master's degree. I also recognize my privilege that I could *not* use the library because they didn't have many books that reflected my tastes. I tend to use the university library where I work more because the ILL is more readily available to me.

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  57. I buy too many books, and it makes no sense because I am a public school teacher on a low salary. I have no self-control. My local library is very small and has hours that are not friendly to my life. But I do borrow books from the library at the high school where I teach. I love my school librarian and really want to be her. Also, I'm pretty jealous of all the people who work in libraries.....

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  58. I've been so lucky to live my life near good public libraries, so I hardly ever buy books I haven't already read. There are a few authors that I'll buy their books automatically (like, three), and apart from that, I mostly get books from the library. I want to write my library a love letter one of these days -- they're so responsive to the patrons, and I just, ugh, I just love them so much.

    ALSO I am unkindly pleased that you didn't love A Little Life. I'm in the extreme minority of not loving it, so. I like having other people on my cranky team. :p

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  59. I'm sorry this book didn't work for you, Andi. I know it's gotten so much hype so that's kind of why I've stayed away from it. I don't want to be disappointed. With regards to the library, I seem to be using it a lot more this year for some reason. I do buy books but I do have a "budget" I allot myself a month. Sometimes I go over and sometimes not but that way I feel more in control of my purchases.

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  60. I was beginning to feel like "A Little Life" was a book that I HAD to read since everyone said how great, though how difficult it was to read. Glad to get an alternate opinion. And a reminder of why I rarely buy a book in hardcover now matter how much it's the rage.

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  61. I think this is a great decision! I've also had books I've bought disappoint me and I would like to get back to using my library more :)

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