My New Year’s Resolution #1: Buy More Books

Buying more books might seem like a really silly resolution (especially given the number of books I already own!) but I have decided that I want 2011 to be my most enjoyable reading year ever. I want to read the best books, not just the ones that happen to be in my library or available as a three-for-two offer in the big book shops. All too often I have read about a book which sounds fantastic, added it to my wishlist and then hoped I’d happen to stumble across it at some point. In reality this rarely happens. Often these books come from small publishers. This means they are unlikely to even turn up in a book shop, let alone become part of a special offer. I want to read the best books and would prefer to pay a bit more for a fantastic read than waste my money on an average one.

I also love the fact that these books are less well known. I want to highlight fantastic literature that you don’t necessarily know about, not just the ones you already do. It is often just a single person raving about an individual book and if someone is getting excited about something then I think it is worth risking a little bit of money instead of letting a wonderful book slip further into obscurity.

Top of my purchase list are these books:


Light Boxes by Shane Jones recommended by David


Independent People by Halldor Laxness recommended by David Mitchell


The President by Miguel Angel Asturias has been on my wish list so long I can’t even remember how it got there!


The Obscene Bird of Night by Jose Donoso recommended by Damned Conjuror


The Juggler by Sebastian Beaumont recommended by Annabel


Are you going to join me in buying more books in 2011?

Do any of the above books sound especially interesting to you?


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  1. Laura says:

    Good for you: make a resolution that’s easy to keep! Seriously, the way you describe it I do think this is a good idea. You might even spend less buying the one book you truly want than buying the 3 for 2 offers. I’m not familiar with most of these books, except for the Laxness, which I’ve read. I predict you’ll like it ! I did, but it has a certain “Jackie” thing to it which makes me think you’ll like it even more.

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, It will actually be quite hard for me to keep. I’m quite stingy really. I’m happy to buy lots of books if they are a bargain, but buying full price books has been something I rarely do. Hopefully I’ll notice an improvemnt in the quality of the reading which will mean I can justify the increased cost.

      It is great to know the Laxness has my name on it – I’ll take that as a good sign.

  2. Alice says:

    I must admit, on first inspection none of those books jump out at me. But I am trying to get out of my book comfort zone at the moment and try novels I wouldn’t usually pick up. See how I find a new genre.

    I shall definitely be joining you in buying more books, and a new book shelf to go with them.

    1. Jackie says:

      Alice, The blurbs of the above books don’t especially grab me, but the enthusiasm of people with a similar reading taste to me really makes them appeal.

      I really need to sort out my book shelves too :-)

  3. Annabel says:

    I hope you’ll make up for me buying less then!

    I loved the Juggler – hope you do too, fingers crossed (after you not liking Spy so much!). I have Light Boxes on my TBR, so I could read that one too.

    I didn’t get on with ‘Under the Glacier’ by Halldor Laxness, so I hope you do better with Independent People – I was glad to have read him though as he’s a very influential writer to other Nordic authors.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, The Juggler sounds fantastic! I’m sure I’ll enjoy it much more than Spy (I was a bit sceptical about that one, but am pleased I tried it)

      Sorry to hear that you weren’t a fan of Under the Glacier. Hopefully I’ll have more luck with IP. It will be nice to know his style, even if I don’t turn out to be a fan.

  4. Sounds like great rationale there Jackie. I OWN Independent People; Laxness, so I guess I should make that one a reading priority this year. Hope you have a wonderful New Year and read lots of great books in the process :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Bibliophile By the Sea, I hope you decide to read IP, then we could compare notes. :-)

  5. Lovely idea! I use interlibrary loan a lot for books not available at my library (or in my country). I’ve found one of the joys of book blogging is discovering great reads not available in the U.S., and I binge on buying international books at least a few times a year. Happy reading!

    1. Jackie says:

      Carrie, Unfortunately a lot of the books I want aren’t in the library system at all so I can’t even get them via that method. I do have the occasional international splurge, but normally I’m happy to wait for books to make it over here. It is the ones that are here, but permenantly expensive that I am going to try to bring myself to buy now. Fingers crossed it works for me.

  6. JoAnn says:

    I do like your reasoning, but I’m going to read all the great books I purchased last year! Independent People is a very memorable book… I read it almost 10 years ago and some of the images are still with me.

    1. Jackie says:

      JoAnn, I’m so pleased that you still remember Independent People 10 years on!

      I did buy quite a few books last year (50ish?) but most I bought because they were very cheap (car boot /library sale) not because I REALLY wanted them. I hope that buy changing my buying habits I’ll just buy books I am very excited about.

  7. Robbie says:

    Glad to see Laxness on your list Jackie. Independent People was one of my top 10 for 2010, you’ll love it!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Robbie, I’m so excited!

  8. stujallen says:

    probably buy same as last year tend to buy little less than I read over the year but mostly second hand as we have a woefully small waterstones in chesterfield that is under stocked in translated fiction for me ,all the best for 2011 Jackie ,stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, It is the fact I want so much translated fiction that has led me to this decision. I’ll be buying the books I want online as book shops often don’t stock what I want either. Such a shame translated fiction isn’t more readily available :-(

  9. JoV says:

    I’ll probably buy too. The stuff I like to read are not really well stocked in my local libraries, esp translated fiction. Good luck in buying more books next year Jackie!

    1. Jackie says:

      JoV, We’ll have to meet up and swap some at some point.

  10. Great idea, Jackie. I think you won’t be endlessly buying books but jsut buy a good one, read it, buy a new one, read it, etc. Right? So you won’t end up with 200 unread books at the end of the year.

    I actually am stingy too and love a good bargain. But I will buy a book if I want it a lot. This year, I’m first reading the books I already own (and haven’t read) and then will look at my wishlist and see whether I buy or borrow the books or maybe sometimes even delete them from the list. The end result should be fewer unread books on the shelf and a shorter wishlist (wel,l just trying!!).

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, Don’t worry – I won’t go book buying crazy! I hope to buy a book and then read it before getting the next one. I’m hoping to reduce my TBR pile a lot in the next year (see resolution #2 tomorrow ;-) ) My book stacks are getting out of control and I really need to avoid making it any bigger so I won’t rush out to buy my entire wish list.

  11. Amy says:

    What a great and interesting list. Good point about the buying books – I bought quite a few over the last few months that have been on my wishlist but I was just hoping would come available on BookMooch – so unlikely so I caved and bought a lot. Now I can’t wait to read them :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Amy, I think I’ve given up on Bookmooch – I’ve had about 200 books on there for over a year now and only 1 has turned up :-( Buying is a much easier way to get hold of them ;-) )

  12. Patty says:

    Actually my resolution is to stop buying books…at least for the month of January…I have 405 books to read on my Kindle!!!

    So…my resolution has to be just the opposite of yours!!!

    The only book on your most recent list that I have wanted to read was the first one…but now I am not sure about that…

    Happy Buying To You!!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Patty, 405 on the kindle?! Wow! Looks as though you’ve already done the buying part!! Good luck in sticking to your resolution.

  13. Jenny says:

    Well, this may be the best New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever heard of. Alas, I am too broke and live in too small a room to resolve this same thing, but I strongly support you! :p

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks Jenny. I hope that one day soon you’ll be able to do the same thing.

  14. Good for you, Jackie! Why not?

    I really like the sound of Light Boxes and The Juggler (my maiden name is Beaumont so it would be rude not to really, wouldn’t it?).

    Happy new year!

    1. Jackie says:

      The Book Whisperer, Definitely rude! ;-) I’ve just bought my copy -let’s hope The Juggler is as good as it sounds.

  15. Steph says:

    Alas, my resolution this year is the exact opposite of yours – to purchase no books this year! I know it will be so hard, but I already have about 200 books in the apartment that are unread and with a big move planned for some time this year (once I’ve graduated!), I loathe the idea of accruing more books that I haven’t read but will have to pack up. If anything I’ll probably do a big purge before we leave… :(

    I do want to read Light Boxes at some point, but I do not think 2011 will be its year! ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, If you have a big move planned then I understand your desire to read as many of your own books as possible – it would be terrible to have to get rid of books you wanted to read. Good luck!

  16. FleurFisher says:

    Well said Jackie! I could never give up buying books, but I buy the out-of-print or can’t-get-them-any-other-way titles. The more mainstream titales will always be gettable if the moon strikes, but I’m driven by a fear of missing an unknown gem!

    1. Jackie says:

      FleurFisher, I hate the idea of gems going under the radar just because they didn’t have a big marketing drive. Let’s hope we can find all the best reads whether they are out-of-print or not :-)

  17. She says:

    I think that is a fantastic resolution! I too would like to buy more books this year and found myself purchasing more at the end of this past year, so I think it’s not going to be too difficult for me ;p

    1. Jackie says:

      She, Yay!! Here’s to book buying!

  18. I’m sure you can get these books from the library. Your library should have a database that lists all books in stock from every library. My library allows me to order book from libraries nationwide. I have to pay 50p but still cool beans.

    That’s where I got Obscene Bird of Night from because I wasn’t going to pay £17 for a book on a whim.

    The President has been something I have wanted to read for ages too.

    The Juggler sounds mildly interesting, so does Independent People and Light Boxes too.

    1. Jackie says:

      DamnedConjuror, Your library must be much better than mine. I have just done a double check and discovered that they have 1 copy of Independant People I can order (and I’ve done so) but they don’t stock any of the others. I can order county wide, but not nationwide (unless they have a new scheme I don’t know about?)

      1. I live in Northern Ireland so it’s easier to have a database of all libraries.

        That’s a shame, I suppose you could ask them to order these books although I think you need a good reason other than because I want to read them…budgetary reasons I guess..

        just did a cursory glance at abebooks and ebay…nothing below £17 which is annoying. shouldn’t backlist books be cheaper?

  19. I wouldn’t say that I will choose to buy more books in 2011 but I think the principle is very good – basically, read more of what you really want to! I’ll join you in that!

    1. Jackie says:

      Novel Insights, It is even easier if all the books you want to read are already on your shelves/in the library, but heres to reading what we want!

  20. Mystica says:

    Well this goes the other way. Practically every blogger has made a resolution not to buy anything till they finish all what is on their shelves. But, and this is a big but, there are such a lot of wonderful books coming out all the time, how on earth do you wait without getting your hands on them.

    Your books are all new to me so I will wait to read your reviews. Almost the next best thing to actually reading the book.

    1. exactly. lets stop with limiting ourselves and read whatever we want, who cares that you haven’t read books on your tbr list. Reading for pleasure should be about taking risks, going on a whim, choosing a book for the sheer enjoyment of it being new.

      1. Jackie says:

        I couldn’t say it better myself :-)

  21. SEY says:

    Glad you are supporting authors and lesser known publishers by buying more books in 2011. Not in the budget for me but we have a wonderful Second Hand Bookstore in our area that will give you credit for quality used books and you can use the credit at their regular bookstore, an independent seller where I can then get the books I MUST have. Its a great barter system for real readers and recycles books. I think I’ll be looking for Light Boxes there after I hear from you. Happy New Year!

    1. Jackie says:

      SEY, I wish I had a book store like that – it would certainly encourage me to recycle my books there.

  22. Amanda says:

    Interesting, considering most of us put ourselves on buy bans. :D

    1. Jackie says:

      Amanda, As long as we are all reading wonderful books it doesn’t really matter where we get them from :-)

  23. Anastasia says:

    That’s a very wonderful and true thing you say about smaller books needing all the help they can get re:acknowledgement (and advertising, I suppose)! Luckily I’m not on a book-buying ban myself, per se, just a paper book buying ban! (Because I don’t have the room for more paper book, really.) But unfortunately that still means that some of the lesser-known books I want to buy will have to wait a bit longer, because they don’t have ebook versions! Although I hope that will change as more people start using ebook readers and the ebook market expands even more.

    (There are exceptions, of course! Like Baen– they’re a sci-fi/mystery publisher that has almost if not all their books in DRM-free ebook format as well as paper. But the “regular” literature publishers don’t seem to be doing ebooks. I think partly that’s because they’re more about the whole experience of a book instead of just what’s inside it, like with Persephone books, but still. It makes it hard for me to indulge!

    This comment is way long. Sorry about that!)

    1. Jackie says:

      Anastasia, I have yet to buy an ereader so don’t have the same problem as you. I hope that they are converted quickly for you.

      PS. Never worry about comments being too long – there is no such thing as a comment that is too long :-)

  24. Christina says:

    I like your thought process. Now if I could only get my parents to agree that yes, more books do need to come into the house I would be all set.

    1. Jackie says:

      Christina, I’m hoping that by combining my book buying with my book abandoning the number of books I own will actually go down. Whether it works or not will remain to be seen. ;-)

  25. Stephanie says:

    I spent $140 at B&N on Friday, so if that is any indication of how many books I will buying this year, I will have to buy a new bookcase! We are currently in the process of refinishing our basement though, which will include a library of sorts, so I am stocking up on books to fill it!

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on books in one day. I wish I had a new library I had to stock – I’m a little bit jealous. Have fun!!

  26. Jenners says:

    I’d love to join you in this resolution … but I need to convince my husband first.

  27. Kathleen says:

    I agree that when you really want to read a book it is best to buy it and not wait for it to be half price or at the library! However, I will still read more from my existing shelves this year or from the library. I have a son ready to go off to college in a year’s time and these days it seems that all of my book buying money is going to him!

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