I have a sneaky habit of not paying for books much.
I’m not saying I steal them; heavens, no! Using frugality as my friend, I have learned creative tricks into being able to read a looooooooot.
Just this very day, I removed the flat-screen TV and DVD player from my office. I only had it on my desk taking up space and collecting dust for no reason. Over Christmas holidays, it’s pretty dead around my office. The courts are closed and I have a propensity to bring some DVD’s with me to work to play as, er….background noise.
But that’s exactly what TV has become for my generation. Background noise. I’d rather listen to my iPod while working profusely at my work desk. This is one of those minimalism examples you’ve been hearing about. For me, it’s been cutting out TV a good bit. I’m not plagued by the constant barrage of advertisements making me feel guilty for not having said products.
On the other hand, I have nerdishly been hoarding books. The state’s biggest library is just 3 miles from my office. One of my clients frequents there among all the other urban hobos who like the clean facility and cool air condition in the Deep South. I’ll use the excuse that I’m looking for my client and duck out to the library.
Currently, my husband and I have been reading some of the Dave Ramsey saga, if you will. We started with Financial Peace and now we are on Total Money Makeover. We sit at the dining room table at night with an adult refreshment while he reads aloud and I take notes. We stop and discuss each chapter, in the hopes that Ramsey’s wisdom sinks in. Next in that set for our family to read is the book Ramsey wrote with his daughter called Smart Money, Smart Kids. Since the library check out of that one was about to expire, I made copies of the bulk of it and put it in a binder. We are going to share the insight with my son and stepsons before it’s too late!!!
I feel like with Non-Fiction, I can read about 10 books at a time and not get them confused. This used to baffle my grandmother. Out of respect for her and her demented mind in the nursing home, I only ready one fiction book at a time. I just finished The Revenant and for a western (not my favorite genre) it was pretty good! It was also a library book in which I had my local branch place a hold.
Then, when I open up my Kindle, I have an Amazon Prime Member’s Lending Library free book checked out right now. The one I’m about to start is Leah Remini’s scathing anti-Scientology autobiography My Escape From Scientology. I’m rather obsessed on the subject, especially since I just finished reading Going Clear, which was made into an HBO film.
Also on my Kindle, I have an e-book checked out from my library which expires in 14 days. I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, the follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love. I own my second copy of that book, having given my first copy to a divorcing sorority sister a few years ago. I have the movie too, but as the old adage goes, “The book is better than the movie.” Even Julia Roberts couldn’t completely redeem the written page. Liz also wrote Big Magic, which I bought and read during football season. My lucky ex-sister-in-law met Liz at a book signing in TN. #jealous
On my lunch break this week, I dropped off a bucket of hardback books and old movies to sell to 2nd & Charles. While I was waiting on my store credit to accumulate, I browsed all the books. I found a new author who intrigued me named Wilkie Collins. Instead of buying his book in the store, I searched iTunes Store on my smart phone and the Amazon e-book collection. Both had his works for free, so I downloaded The Moonstone and The Haunted House for gratis.
At any given moment, I’m on a list at my local library branch for whatever book that suits my fancy. Books typically don’t take up much space, especially if you use an e-reader. My Kindle Paperwhite fits nicely in my purse and I can read outside without eyestrain.
Basically, people come into my office and notice how sparsely decorated it is. That I have a tiny desk. That I have a Lilly Pulitzer for Target lounge chair. <—It’s for reading on breaks! But I always have at least two books with me. They are universally the best entertainment.
I can literally be working on a document while on the clock and as I wait for it to download, etc., I can steal glances at whatever book I’m reading that moment.
Here is my challenge for you, reader: substitute reading a book in lieu of your next boobtube opportunity. You may be delighted at the lack of mental distraction you face with an open book instead of incessant noise and rambling of the TV.
If you’re like me and you’re hungry for books, always go to the thrift store first for the best deals. Or have a book trading party. I did that once at my house and it was very successful.
Next, check out free downloads on Amazon Kindle, iTunes for iBooks, and Nook. Check with your local library branch about available e-books too.
Finally, go to your favorite physical bookstore with a hot beverage in hand. Carefully browse the sections that speak to you. Fantasy. Erotica. History. Young Adult. Health. New Age. Whatever… then, take pictures or type a list on your smartphone of books you want to read next.
Take that list with you to the library to request titles. Ask friends if they have those books to borrow. And always check if they’re free online. If they cost money, download a sample. Usually, you can get a taste of how the author is going to navigate said-book to see if it’s worth your while to buy. I have dozens of samples on my Kindle!! Sometimes the first chapter is ENOUGH.
“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”-Henry David Thoreau, Walden