Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mooching Books

When it comes to my books, I am incredibly pedantic. I can’t (or won’t) read books with creased covers, or those that have page corners folded down to mark where someone finished reading. I absolutely detest marking my books in any way – one of my friends always underlines those passages in novels that he especially appreciates, which to my mind is akin to a crime. As a student, whenever I came across an academic work that somebody else had made notes in or highlighted relevant passages, I would sit in the library grimacing and rubbing out their marks in a righteous fury. I also learned the hard way never to lend books out to people; a copy of A Clockwork Orange that I had never read came back to me crumpled, ripped and with paint fingerprints across it. I never picked it up again. In addition to these slightly ridiculous obsessions, I cannot bear to throw anything away, more so when books are concerned. When it reaches the point that some bookshelves are two rows of books deep however, and there is no room for more bookcases, something must be done.

I think either Dorothy or Danielle first introduced me to BookMooch. Initially, I was very sceptical; how could I give up any of my precious books? If I wanted to mooch anything from someone else, I had to list ten. There was no way I could find that many from among the volumes on my shelves; it couldn’t be done. Then I discovered that lured on by the promise of a coveted book for nothing (or for the price of postage), I could bear to make some sacrifices. Luckily for me, the first person to request a book lived in another country, so I got extra points to ‘spend’. (Should that be luckily, or fatally?) All I can be grateful for is that most of the books I want at the moment are obscure enough that they are hard to find even on Amazon, let alone on BookMooch, so the damage I have done has been contained. The plan was to give away more books than I mooched. So far, it isn’t working out. I’ve only received a couple so far but more are in the post. Plus I received an order I made before Christmas in anticipation of book tokens I knew I would be getting. I'm sure I am supposed to be decreasing the number of books I only consolation is that technically I haven't paid for any of these! Here are my new acquisitions (one day I'll work out how to upload photos from my camera):

The Night Buffalo by Guillermo Arriaga (Mexico)
Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutierrez (Cuba)
Memoirs, Pablo Neruda (Chile)
The Obscene Bird of Night by Jose Donoso (Chile)
Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar (Argentina)


BookGirl said...

I blame Dorothy & Danielle for my bookmooch addiction :) So glad you've joined in. I have sent and received quite a few books now and it's been a lot of fun.

Imani said...

I fear I am one of the scribblers of books but only in my own. I am as annoyed as you when I spy markings in library books--especially if it's in INK or worse highlighted. If it is in pencil I will spend hours erasing the offenses. I did that with my library copy of "Lolita" (oh, how I rubbed and grumbled).

I don't see myself ever BookMooching. My collection is not yet impressive enough that there is any book I could see sacrificing for anything else right now. Maybe in 20 years.

Dorothy W. said...

Sorry! :) I didn't think I could give books away either, but I quickly realized that I do have books I know I won't look in again. After I realized that, I was pretty much hooked on Book Mooch.

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

hehe I'm scared to look at the BookMooch site!!


Enyonam said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog, here via your Around the World post at the 50bookchallenge.

I never thought I'd have enough books I was willing to get rid of to really get into it, either.

I now have 90+ books listed, and been hit up for 5 books already. And 4 books on the way for me. I'm totally hooked.

Stefanie said...

I've been trying to stay away from BookMooch but I have the feeling I will cave in one of these days. Still, I know your dilemma. I went to a used book store with one and a half bags of books yesterday and came home with a full bag of books!

Danielle said...

I found it via Dorothy, and I think it is pretty addictive! It is a nice way to clear out books from my shelves I won't read again or that I have duplicates for. Usually I mooch books that sound good, but that I am not always sure about--I want to read them, but maybe don't want to go out and buy them! Most of the books I have gotten have also been in really good condition. Like you I don't bend the spine of my books, write on them, or dog ear the pages, but I am getting better about buying used books that are in that condition. I haven't mooched many lately as I can't seem to find the ones I really want, but I am good at hoarding points and then using a bunch all at once. Have fun with it!

Lotus Reads said...

lol, I, too, have Danielle to thank or blame for introducing me to bookmooch ( I have even mooched a book from her)! So far I have given away 8 books and received an equal number. I love it!

See you @bookmooch sometime! :)

verbivore said...

I am a recent bookmoocher as well but the number of books I'm willing to give away is so small that I'll never get any points. I'm going to have to let go a few more I think :-) I've mooched one book and sent one book so far...very exciting!
I'm definitely looking forward to what you have to say about The Obscene Bird of Night, it's on my list and I just have to get a copy.

Sheri said...

I still can't fathom giving up any of my books. I'm thinking about it though....I find myself eyeing the ones I could almost stand to part with. I fear the moment is coming.