Used Books and Book Monogamy

I have a confession to make: barely 3 days after compiling my August TBR list (which I already thought might be tricky to get through in terms of sheer page count), I cheated on it. Yes, that’s right, having committed monogamously to that poor TBR list, I found myself swayed by the allure of another. Specifically, I made the mistake of popping into a couple of charity shops when I was in York yesterday.

Anyone who knows me knows you can drop me off in an Oxfam bookshop and come collect me in an hour or so (depending on the size of the shop in question) and I love buying used books in charity shops. Because of the low price, because it is a small way to help charity, because you often get treated to the marginalia of the previous owner, the latter of which appeals to my nosy side*. The one issue of allowing me to cross the threshold into a shop that has a used book section, however, is that I frequently end up buying books. Which isn’t bad, no, I wouldn’t be a very good reader if I didn’t want to buy books. The problem lies in the fact that at any given time I will already have 2 books on the go and have a good 4 or 5 lined up to read once I’ve finished those. Allowing me to venture into an Oxfam bookshop means I’ll return 20 minutes later with at least 2 new books or it will have been a bad day.

And I’ve tried, goodness knows I’ve tried lately to be a monogamous reader, mainly because I’ve had to be disciplined about getting through required weekly reading lists for my course. But I’ve fell right back into old habits once my course finished; I am, once again, a serial book polygamist.

All of which has made me curious about other people’s reading habits – how do you read? Do you read one book at a time? Do you shelve a book you’re currently reading if a new book you’ve been anticipating is released? Do you juggle multiple books at any given time and if so, do you choose a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, or traditional literature and a 10k Dramione fanfiction (no judgement here)?


*Side note: going into charity shops also helps illustrate which books were read a lot in the past 2/3 years – any Victoria Hislop, Audrey Niffenegger’s debut The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Sylvia Day’s erotic adult romance of the Fifty Shades vein called Bared to You, to name but a (very) few.

4 responses to “Used Books and Book Monogamy”

  1. You book whore you!!

    I don’t understand polygamous reading. I know I read quickly, so any book I have on the go doesn’t really last long, but the thought of having two new worlds and imagination threads in my head isn’t for me*. If a new book I want to read is due out I will rush through my reading list, or shelve it before I start it to make way for the new release!

    *Excluding fanfics of course.


    • Hey I just have a lot of love to share, ok? ;)

      This is partially why I wrote this post; it intrigues me whether people are polygamous or monogamous readers. Although I did have an inkling you would be the latter because, yes, the speed at which you can read definitely helps in my opinion.

      My main reason for having two or more books on the go at any one time is purely to help stave off book fatigue that can keep me slogging away on a book for 2 weeks. If I hadn’t done that this summer I’d still be going through Anna Karenina in a fatigued state, this way at least some other books are getting a look in.


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