#ShelfLove – End of Year Check-In!

Shelf Love Challenge 2016
This is it!  The last month of the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge!  Those of us participating are discussing how we did.
For those of you who don’t remember, I chose not to purchase any books this year.  Free books, of course, didn’t count.  However, I didn’t meet this goal.  I ended up purchasing several books at the Texas Book Festival.  I did succeed in reading at least 51 books that were already on my shelves…or on the floor.  Yeah, lots of books, but I got rid of a lot of them, too.

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My TBR Shelf

I plan on participating again next year, but that’s for another post.

#ShelfLove – Library Love

Shelf Love Challenge 2016

For this month’s #ShelfLove discussion, participants are supposed to write about their local library.  However, I’ve done that before.  A couple of different times.  I’ve also written about the important role libraries have played in my life.  Libraries have had such an enormous impact on my life that I want to be a Librarian.  Unfortunately, that’s several years away, and I haven’t set foot in a library since before I graduated.  I’ve stopped myself from checking out any books because I have so many at home that my shelves are struggling under the weight.  So, instead of writing about a library I haven’t been to in several months, I’ve decided to re-share those older posts along with a few links about libraries and librarians.

Posts I’ve written:

Other stuff:

#ShelfLove – End of Year Check-In


This is it!  The last month of the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge!  Those of us participating are discussing how we did.

For those of you who don’t remember, I chose not to purchase any books this year.  Free books, of course, didn’t count.  I made one exception, but other than using gift cards I received for Christmas and my Birthday, and getting books from the Boyfriend as a prescription against insanity, I didn’t buy a single book.  Not spending my own money on books took some creativity on my part and generosity on the part of others, but I can at least say I was successful.

I also succeeded in reading at least 51 books that were already on my shelves…or in boxes…in a storage unit.  Yeah, lots of books, itty bitty living space.  There, my friends, is where I flailed.  You see, despite not buying books with my own money, I still managed to bring a lot of books home with me this year.  In fact, I have less space on my bookshelves than I did before the challenge started, and that’s after taking several boxes of books to the used bookstore to earn enough money to buy the Outlandish Companion, Vol. Two.  I earned that book, darn it, so why isn’t there any space on my shelves?!  Well, between the Boyfriend showing he loves me through books, a couple of subscription boxes I get, and all the giveaways I’ve won this year, I not only replaced the books I sold but ended up filling every last nook and cranny of my bookcase.

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I have so many books and so little space for them that when the Boyfriend asked me what I wanted for my graduation present, I told him, “NO BOOKS!”  I then checked myself for a fever because that is the first time in my life I’ve ever turned down the opportunity to get books.  It turns out this challenge has been a sort of 12-Step program for me.  So, I plan on participating again next year, but that’s for another post.



#ShelfLove – Thankfulness


This month, those of us participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge are discussing whether or not we’re thankful for taking on the challenge and whether or not our book buying and reading habits have changed.

Am I thankful for the #ShelfLove challenge?  Oh yeah, and I have reasons:

  • I came up with several ways to get books for free, and I started listening to serial and short story podcasts.
  • I’ve fallen in love with audiobooks thanks to discovering the free audiobook website, podiobooks.com.
  • I became much more discerning about the books I purchased with the gift cards I received for Christmas and my Birthday.  The same goes for the books I chose when the Boyfriend made an agreement with me to help me survive the Spring semester.
  • I finally got my Goodreads shelves updated, created a spreadsheet of all my unread books, and made TBR jars.
  • I cleared out enough books from my collection to earn enough money to buy the one book I had been looking forward to for most of the year.
  • I’m finally ok with not buying books.  I’ve also come to prefer book-related gifts instead of bookstore gift cards.  Why?  I own more books than can fit on my shelves.  Despite all the books I took to the used bookstore, my shelves are no less stuffed than they were at the beginning of the year.  In fact, I have even more books thanks to the Boyfriend, gift cards, and winning giveaways.

#ShelfLove – Organizing the Shelves


This month, those of us participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge are discussing how we organize our books.

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Dresden likes to keep one of his toy mice on top of the boxes for safe keeping.

I have too many books to keep in the apartment I share with the Boyfriend.  Because both of us have large personal libraries, but only so many walls to place bookshelves against, most of my books are in boxes in storage.  Only two of my book boxes are in the apartment instead of my storage unit.  They hold my Harry Potter books as well as all my books from Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles” and the “Lives of the Mayfair Witches.”  Since I’m re-reading all those, I decided to keep them at home rather than having to go to my storage unit every time I finish one of the books.  There are several other books in the boxes as well, but I simply don’t have space on my shelves.

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My overcrowded bookcase.


With a few exceptions, all the books on my shelves are books I’ve never read.  Also, I have them organized by height and from hardcover to mass market paperback.  The disadvantage to organizing them that way is that, whenever I get a new book, I have to rearrange the shelves.  You might think I would also have the problem of finding specific titles, but there is a large part of my brain dedicated to the books I have and where they are at any given time.

Even though we have four floor-to-ceiling bookcases, I only have the use of one of them.  That might seem unfair, but they’re his bookcases, and he made room for me when I moved in with him.  However, my books were creeping into other parts of the apartment, such as the table and floor next to my desk, which was in the living room until a couple of weeks ago.  Now that Summer is over, and Texas finally got the memo, I’ve moved my “office” into the dining room (the air conditioning never quite makes it there).  We aren’t planning on renewing our lease, so I decided to take over the room until we move into a place with three bedrooms.  I also have a shelf that contains all my French books, and I’ve loaned him several of my books so I can keep them on one of his shelves instead of mine.  Clever, huh? 😉

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One of the Boyfriend’s bookcases post-organization. Can you tell he likes ducks?

After our trial period of living under the same roof assured us that we could share living space without committing double homicide, I convinced him to let me organize his books.  The closest he got to being organized was having all of his Jim Butcher books on one shelf.  He culled books to go to the used bookstore while I began grouping the ones he decided to keep into genres, more or less.  I also kept any series together and in order, and then I organized by height whenever possible.  Since we’re both writers with decent sized collections of reference books, we decided to combine them on one shelf with a bookend in between.  We’re just not at the point in our relationship where we feel comfortable completely integrating our libraries.  Right now, it’s enough to know that we have similar tastes and many of the same books in our separate collections.


#ShelfLove: The Perils of Book Hoarding


This month, those of us participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge are discussing the pros and cons of owning a significant number of books.  For myself, I’ve only seen having a large personal library as positive, with one exception: moving.  I’ve been packing and unpacking my belongings throughout my entire life, and I don’t even know the number of times I’ve moved.  I’m uncomfortably familiar with the general workings of Uhaul rentals and storage units across the country and during one move I managed to double the weight of my poor Nissan.  I’ve also hurt my back a countless number of times from overfilling boxes with my book collection.

You would think I would have learned by now and tossed the majority of my Smaug worthy hoard.  Think again.  Despite my efforts to pare down the number of books I own, my library has only expanded in size.  Thanks to ebooks, and the No Book Buying Challenge, that’s no longer happening exponentially, but it’s still happening.  I have bought with gift cards or received as gifts, more physical books than I’ve read this year.  The books I have at my apartment are double stacked on the shelves, I have several more boxes in storage, and the Boyfriend and I are planning to move next year.

The boxes of books are the ones I hope always to own.  The ones at home are mostly books I’ve never read; which has led me to think that perhaps there is another con to book hoarding.  I’m not getting any younger and tomorrow is never a guarantee.  Either I need to make peace with the idea of never reading many of those books, or I need to make a decision.  Do I cull my collection (again) or develop the discipline to choose a book I own instead of a library book or one borrowed from the Boyfriend’s shelves? I think I’ll just throw my hands up in the air in frustration when I move again, just like I’ve done every move before *sigh*

#ShelfLove: Mid-Year Check-In


Six months down, six more to go for the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge, and I swear I haven’t gone insane….yet.  Actually, these first six months have been easy for me; at least until the Spring semester ended, and I was no longer getting a paperback of my choice from the Boyfriend every week.

As many of you know, the Boyfriend made a deal with me that I would get a new book every week I completed all of my assigned writing.  It was a way to both motivate me and keep me from having a nervous breakdown, and it worked.  I didn’t realize just how much those weekly trips to the bookstore had helped me until they were gone.  A trip to the library resulted in me lugging home seven books, which helped.  However, the problem is that I tend to pick books that I then want to buy, so my wishlist is only growing.

I also realized that I truly do have a book buying habit.  I’d call it an addiction, but so far I haven’t spent any money on books to get that “fix”.  However, I’ve used all my gift cards, I choose the slowest shipping option when I buy anything on Amazon to get the $1 credits, and I frequently “1-click” free ebooks.  I also compiled a huge list of sites for free books.  Because of this, my digital library has expanded exponentially, and I’ve listened to quite a few audiobooks, all for the low, low price of free.  I’m ok with that though since those books aren’t taking up space on my shelves or in my storage unit.

Speaking of my physical books, I removed an entire box worth of books from my life and sent them to the used bookstore.  I’m trying to earn the money to buy The Outlandish Companion, Vol. 2 by Diana Gabaldon.  I got $21.67, and I’m putting together another box from books that have been sitting in storage for years, thanks to moving at least once a year and living in increasingly smaller apartments or overseas.  My apartment is bigger now, but I’m sharing it with the Boyfriend and both of us have the problem of not having enough shelving or the wall space to add more.  If it were just me, I’d get rid of the couch and replace it with two shelves, but that’s not the case, and it’s not my couch.  So, instead, I’m participating in this challenge.

So far, I plan on participating again next year, but I already know I’ll do things a bit differently.  I’ll have graduated from college and should have a decent paying adult job by then.  So, I’ll set some goals for myself to “earn” money, including activities such as finishing physical books and exercising.  Until then, I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing and hopefully won’t end up in a straight jacket.

#ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge: Avoiding Relapse

showyourshelves_zps8f6e8b06-png320x480This month’s #ShelfLove topic is all about how well we’re sticking to our goals and what we’re doing to refrain from caving to the temptation of buying books.

Honestly, I feel like I’ve got it pretty easy so far.  The Boyfriend has been buying me one book of my choice, as long as it’s not a full-priced hardcover or new release, every week that I get all of that week’s writing finished for my research papers.  Not only is the agreement motivational, but it’s keeping me sane.  It’s also making this No Book Buying Challenge a breeze.  So, check back with me around mid-May, when I’m not getting a book every week.

Besides the Boyfriend’s amazing gift of books, I’ve been making do with the books I already own but have never read, as well as the books I get through Netgalley, and I just recently used up the last of my gift cards.  I’ve also done quite a bit of “buying” and downloading of free books offered around through so many different websites besides the major book sellers, and checking out the occasional book that grabs my attention from the library.  Other than that, I don’t have any special strategy, which is why I’m a little worried about what I’m going to do when the semester is over and the Boyfriend is no longer enabling my habit.

The problem is that I’m addicted to bookstores, and not just to books.  Bookstores, with their mostly quiet and peaceful atmospheres and organized shelves, calm me down, but I have difficulty leaving them without buying at least one book.  Even when I lived in South Korea, I would find something to read in the smallest of sections dedicated to books in English.  It doesn’t matter if I’m also buying a magazine or something to eat or drink from the store’s cafe, I will come across a book that will call out to me and beg me to take it home.  After this semester is over, if I want to make it through this challenge, I will have to stay away from bookstores, unless I have adult supervision.  I have no idea how that will affect my mental health, but I plan on trying to mitigate any craziness by making frequent trips to the library, since it has a similar calming effect.


#ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge: Finances



It’s February, which means those of us participating in the No Book Buying Challenge are supposed to share their book budgets, or what the money saved from not buying books will be spent on.  As you all know, my goal for this challenge is not to spend any money at all for the entire year, but gift cards and free books don’t count.

I got $75 in gift cards for Christmas and my Birthday this year.  I’m also earning gift cards by using a few different online rewards programs.  On top of that, the Boyfriend made an agreement with me that for every week I get at least 2 pages written for each 20 page research paper I have to write for my classes this semester, along with whatever other papers I have due, he will buy me one book of my choosing, as long as it’s not a hardcover.  His reasoning for this agreement is partly motivational, but also because going to the bookstore and seeing all those organized shelves of books is relaxing for me, and he wants me to keep my sanity throughout the insanity of this semester.  That’s what I call love <3

I’ve spent most of the money on my gift cards, but I’m saving the rest for the new edition of The Outlandish Companion by Diana Gabaldon that comes out in March.  I’m close to earning my 1st $5 Amazon gift card through one of the rewards programs, and I’ve also downloaded several free ebooks that I’ve come across.  I’ve earned 2 books so far from the agreement with the Boyfriend.  So, overall, I’m not feeling at all deprived for books.  However, I do have to repeatedly tell myself when I’m at the bookstore that I don’t have to buy every book on my wishlist right now because they’ll still be there when I’ve earned them.  I don’t know where that sense of urgency comes from, but I do know that my self-discipline and willpower are growing 🙂  I’ve read 5 books off of my TBR shelves towards my goal of 50, which means that if I’m able to keep that up, I’ll have met my goal by November.

I don’t have any plans for the money I’m saving from not buying books, but I will be taking the books I’ve read and decided not to keep to Half Price Books at the end of the year.  The money I get will go towards my book budget for 2016.  By then, I should have my degree and hopefully an adult job, but I want to continue spending as little or no money on books until I’ve got free space on my shelves.

No Book Buying Challenge: TBR List


There’s no way I could possibly list every single book on my TBR bookshelf and all the ebooks I have in my 1st gen Nook (thankfully, Kindle links to Goodreads).  Even just randomly listing the amount of books for the level I chose (Black Belt: 51+ books) is daunting.  Since I signed up for this challenge, I’ve been very slowly adding books I already own onto a newly created TBR shelf on Goodreads, but those are only a drop in the bucket.  So, my TBR for this challenge is a weird combination of lists and photos:

To start off, I’ll be reading my review books:

  1. The Kingdom Lights by Steven VS
  2. Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by Marion Grace Woolley
  3. The Very Best of Kate Elliott by Kate Elliott
  4. The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber
  5. Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes
  6. Onyx Webb: Episode One: The Story Begins by Andrea Waltz
  7. Feast of Fates by Christian A. Brown
  8. Walking the Labyrinth by Lisa Goldstein
  9. Tommy Black and the Staff of Light by Jake Kerr

Then, I’ll be clearing out as many of my ebooks until March 6th, which marks the end of COYER.  These are the ebooks I’ve managed to get listed on Goodreads:

Foreign Correspondences Lesley Krueger
Little Boy Lost (The Librarian, #1) Eric Hobbs
The Princess of Dhagabad Anna Kashina
Ren of Atikala (Kobolds, #1) David  Adams
Turn of the Tide Margaret Skea
The Uncanny Valley: Tales from a Lost Town Gregory Miller
Lights Out Holly Black
Birth Of The Monster Shane K.P. O’Neill
The City of Worms (Everville. #2) Roy Huff
Everville: The Rise of Mallory Roy Huff
The Magic of Highland Dragons (The Clan MacCoinnach, #1) Kella McKinnon
Vigilante of Shadows (Novel 1 of The Scarlet Rain Series) Miranda Stork
The Final Formula Becca Andre
A Sea of Shields Morgan Rice
Gods & Dragons: 8 Fantasy Novels Daniel Arenson
The Lord of the Plains (Mixed, #1) Sarah Chapman
Fell’s Hollow A.J. Abbiati
Penny Dreadful Multipack Vol. 3 Robert Louis Stevenson
A Tide of Shadows (Chronicles of Llars, #1) Tom Bielawski
A Quest of Heroes (The Sorcerer’s Ring, #1) Morgan Rice
Mad Tinker’s Daughter (Mad Tinker Chronicles, #1) J.S. Morin
The Great Darkening (Epic of Haven Trilogy) R.G. Triplett
A Shadow of Lilies (The Last Savior) R. Moses
The Sibyl Cynthia D. Witherspoon
Sabriel (Abhorsen, #1) Garth Nix
The First Pillar (Everville, #1) Roy Huff
The Queen of the Tearling Erika Johansen

After COYER ends, I’ll move over to my physical TBR shelf.  Here are the 3 I’ve added to Goodreads:

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1) Catherynne M. Valente
The Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry Gabrielle Zevin

And here are pictures of my bookshelf, sans knick knacks, with the books I’ve already read, and decided to keep, blacked out:

first shelf

second shelf

third shelf

As you can see, I have way more books to read than I will get through this year, and it doesn’t include the 136 books I have on my Nook.  I would be ashamed if I didn’t know that I’m not the only one with a major book buying addiction.