Monday, May 24, 2010

What to do with all the books?

When I first moved to the UK, I had a strict rule of no material acquisitions. I knew I'd only be living in the UK two years and anything I bought I would need to either transport or get rid of when I moved. If I had to have a a pair of pants? I had to get rid of another pair. If I had to have a book? Another book had to go.

I was pleased with my frugality and my spacious bookshelf. Though if I'm entirely honest, I really missed my books. As a writer, I used them for reference frequently. How do other writers tell backstory in present tense? What kinds of language do other writers use in historical fiction? How are minor characters introduced?

Well, it's been almost three years since then. My visa was extended for another two years, and who knows what the future holds. And this past year I decided to pursue my dream and get my MA in Writing for Young People. So suddenly... I needed stuff. I agonized over buying a printer. But buying books? Bring them on! I love my books.

The no material acquisitions policy was happily scrapped as I bought books for my classes, swapped books with my new writing friends, got a new book every week for my publishing class. Oh, and then last week I won an award for perfect attendance (I know! It's like 5th grade all over again!) and got twelve more books.

The good news: I've got a whole library again. The bad? I'm running out of space.

The good news for my British friends? Sometime in the coming years, I'll have a lot of books looking for good homes. Keep in touch!


  1. Oh, you are so lucky to live in the UK. I piggy-packed on my husband's work trips to London two years in a row, and London is officially my favorite city.

    I personally love collecting signed books. I try to donate 10 books a year...still more than I collect in one year, but progress nonetheless.

  2. Anne, I hope you're feeling better. I'm a couple of weeks behind on reading blogs so I'm just catching up with your life.

    As for the book-collecting issue, I was so good for years and then I started reading all of these wonderful MG and YA books written by people I "know" ...

  3. Katie: London is my favorite city, too. I have less nice things to say about Bristol (my current hometown), but love London and visit whenever I can! Yes, I do think I need to get back into the habit of donating some of those books.

    AnneB: Thanks Anne! Completely agree--awfully hard to get rid of a book by someone you "know"!

  4. I'm always happy to find another expat American in the U.K.!

    You're in Bristol? We used to live in Cardiff and a few years back, we were in Bristol for a wedding. It's definitely breezy, but I liked it.

    If you were closer to Scotland, I'd offer to swap books with you when we go back. We've got a ton that we don't quite know what to do with.

  5. A book swap would be great! Ah well.

    Likewise, I hadn't realized you used to live in Cardiff. That's a beautiful area as well.


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