Why a Book Pause Might Be a Good Thing

Image of Ryan McRae
Ryan McRae

This isn't easy to say, but I'm taking a 100 day pause from buying books. 

I want to support independent bookstores and trust me, the dopamine I experience when a bookseller pushes my stack of new book-babies towards me is irreplaceable. 

But I have a gluttony of books. And yes, I'm a scholar when it comes to the memes that say book buying is fine. Trust me, I can justify a lot

I just need a bit of a break to get some clarity, to enjoy the books I have (which is a privilege that I take seriously) and get through the eternal TBR that is my life.

Here's my reasoning, my plan and my hopes in no particular order: 


Just financially, I simply need to put my money towards other things: savings, vacations, etc. I understand I'm not wasting money by not reading the books I've not read, but I'm wasting it by getting rid of books I haven't read. In a recent culling, I estimated about $200 in books that were bought and went away without being opened. Oof. 


I want to appreciate the curated collection that I have. I have a long, long list of books that I want to get through. I feel like the banker in the Twilight Zone with his stacks of books he wants to get through. 

More Excitement

I'm more excited about reading the books I have right now. They aren't in danger of getting crowded out or having more books piled on them. Now I peruse my shelves and am I like, what book is next? 

Dedicated Reading Time

I'm putting in 30 minutes a day reading and it has been transformational to simply sit, put some music on, and get through pages. I'm surprised I'm reading this much.  The math is easy: 30 minutes a day at 30-35 pages is about a book a week! A BOOK A WEEK! (But not Brandon Sanderson though. My dude you write some chonkers.) 

Not in a Damn Hurry

There's this feeling that has left: you have to read more and be in a hurry. You're running out of time. I mean, granted that is a fact, but buying books doesn't change that fact, but now I can take my time and read the things I really want to read. (And when I know I'm not going to read a book ever, it leaves my shelves immediately.) 

A Deeper Focus

It's not a secret that I'm studying to be a writer, and not trolling through bookstores and websites looking at books saves me a bit of time so I can put pen to paper (or really fingers to keys). I get some time back to think about the books I want to write, not the books I haven't read. 

But What About After?

When the 100 days is up, I don't plan on going into a deep binge, but instead one book a month or buying a book after I finish two books. (I plan on being in the same apartment for the next two years, but who knows after that. And I just don't want to move these damn books.) Books will always be a part of my life, and I'm ride or die when it come to physical books, 

But a pause is what I need right now. A simple way to enjoy the books I have and as much as I hate to admit it, those books will be waiting for me on day 101. 

Image of Ryan McRae
Ryan McRae

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