Last year, I banned myself from buying any new books. After years of living in single rooms and tiny flats, we moved into a two-bedroom place with a large lounge (luxury) and invested in bookshelves. I finally had a place for all my books. They came out of boxes, they came from my Mum’s basement, they returned from friends. My shelves soon filled up with books I hadn’t seen or read for months and years.
At the start of 2015 I went on one last book spree with a Waterstones voucher from Christmas, and then I settled in to reread my little library.
One year and eighty-three books later, my reread is still not finished. I have the All Souls Trilogy to finish, Blackout and All Clear, Naomi Klein’s No Logo, Rose George’s The Big Necessity, The Goldfinch, Bring Up The Bodies, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, plus The Mortal Instruments and prequels still to go.
For the past couple of months I’ve been really desperate to buy a book. I cheated a little bit, filling in the gaps in my collection of Discworld novels on Amazon, and buying Graceling and Fire when I couldn’t find them in the local library. But while I was happy to be going back through old favourites, I could see new books coming out which I desperately wanted to get my hands on.
In 2013 and 2014 I was relatively uninspired to discover new authors. I kept up with series and trilogies which I had already started, like Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series, Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century novels, and Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, or picked up books by authors I recognised like David Mitchell, Imogen Robertson, Katie Fforde, Jenny Colgan, K.J. Parker, Kathleen Tessaro and Steve Berry. I browsed the local libraries and scoped out Waterstones shelves, waiting for the next book to come out by authors I already knew, and I never made any further effort to discover new authors and new books.
My book-buying ban began with a simple question – what’s the point of keeping hold of all these books if I never read them again?
Now that it’s over, I realise that it was just what I needed to become interested in books again and active in seeking out new authors, new books, new recommendations and reviews – and to start recommending and reviewing books myself.
So that’s what I’ll be doing here. In the next couple of posts I’ll tell you more about the genres I usually go for, and about my reading goals for 2016.