A Book-Binge Survival Guide

Close your eyes and imagine. Oh wait, you need your eyes to read this- scratch that. Anyway, the holidays have passed. The first of the year has arrived. And there you are with SO MANY bookish gift cards/certificates that you feel giddy and sweaty and excited all at the same time.

Your first reaction is: MUST BUY ALLLLL THE BOOKS!!!!!

Your second reaction is: but then I’ll have a huge TBR pile on my floor and it’ll give me heart palpitations whenever I look at it because there aren’t enough hours in the day to read.

And then you feel depressed.

Well, consider this your lucky day, cause I’m here to help. Now, all you Hannukah revelers may be past help at this point, but you might be able to salvage that last bit of gift money for something special. All you Christmas revelers, though, still have time to prepare, with the help of this friendly survival guide to the BIG BOOK BINGE.

So, once the wrapping paper is cleaned up, the Hallmark cards are set out on your table or stuck to your refrigerator, and all the guests have left, you’ll find yourself laden with (hopefully) many gift cards/certificates to your favorite indie bookstores or Barnes & Noble. Here’s how to stay sane in the face of those riches and maximize your book-buying experience*:


1. CALM DOWN. Breathe deeply, iiiiiiinnn and ouuuuutttt, a few times. Good. That’s good.

2. Now, place the cards/certificates in relevant piles (i.e. all the indie bookstore gifts in one pile, the B&N in another; or cards to use now vs. later; etc.).

3. Go to your MUST READ list (don’t look shocked, of course I know you have one) and carefully scan through it to see which books are truly beckoning to you. Compose a new list of those books.

4. List only the number of books that could be covered by your cards. So, if you have a $25 card, and you like buying new-release hardbacks, understand that you’ll only be able to cover one book (or almost cover). Multiple cards, though, or larger amounts will give you more flexibility.

5. Rank the books on your subset list in order of MUST-READness.

6. Watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

7. Return to your list and make any necessary changes.

8. Stick to this list when you venture forth to book-binge.

9. Understand that you CAN portion these cards out over time. For instance, you might use only one card per month, or only when you are finished with the book you just bought. Whatever works for you.

10. Feel good about your self-control and go crazy with something else.

Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week.

* this list applies to cold hard cash, as well

(The featured image comes from Little Otsu)


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