In Defense of Emotional Book Buying

Binge shopping. I know I shouldn’t. Especially when that shopping is to fill an emotional need somewhere inside me. But here’s the catch: it actually does make me feel better when it comes to binging on books. Hear me out.

When I’m emotionally overwhelmed, I turn to books. They are an escape for me. Another story my weary mind can rest on other than my own fears. And sometimes, when the stacks on my nightstand are too familiar, I shop. Spending time reading reviews and the insides of dust jackets and publisher’s summaries feels like good work.

So when I’m feeling distraught I click, click, click through that ever-present ‘Buy Now’ button, or I drive to my local bookshop and stack them in my arms. The next day, when they’re either sitting on my doorstep or already on my coffee table, I settle into the couch and let them comfort me with their beautiful stiff spines and unturned pages. Opening the front cover and hearing that delectable creak of new book soothes me. Hours of entertainment that will enhance my vocabulary while diminishing my anxiety. Their physical being is a comfort to me. Knowing that other people worked hard at making art and were then vulnerable by asking other people to read it makes me feel less alone.

But to that anxiety point, when I see I have dozens of un-budgeted dollars sitting in front of me, I start to panic a little. Yet here’s where the other good part comes in. I made a point, in my frenzied shopping state, to buy books from first-time published authors, people of color, women. My money and my impulse has done a good thing. It has supported artists and will, eventually, enrich my life through their narratives. When I am able to get through the stacks.

Binge book buying is helping the world. It’s not piles of cookies in the pantry that I’ll eventually have to throw out or another dress in my closet that’s already full to bursting. Those are specific to me, my taste and my size. Books can be given as gifts or donated to classrooms. They keep making change no matter where they go.

So me impulse buying books is actually changing the world. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

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