My Best Self Spends More Money on Books
Since the beginning of 2016, I’ve read two books:
- Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person (Shonda Rhimes)
- Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick (Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky)
I’m also partway through two other books:
- The Enthusiast (Josh Fruhlinger, whom you might remember from his Billfold piece “Here’s a Surefire Tax Estimating Process For Freelancers”)
- The Dust That Falls From Dreams (Louis de Bernières)
My current stack of books still to be read includes:
- The Argonauts (Maggie Nelson)
- Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family’s Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time (Lisa Tracy, and recommended by Billfolder Andnowlights after our first “economics of Downton Abbey” discussion)
- How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much (Samantha Ellis)
- Alexander Hamilton (Ron Chernow)
Of this list, only three of the books (Argonauts, Sex Criminals, and Objects of our Affection) came from the library. I paid good American discretionary cash for the other five.
What is this about? What person am I becoming? What happened to my determination to put library holds on books I want to read and then wait six months until the books become available?
It all comes back to those Best Self goals I made at the end of 2015.
Goal #6 is “spend less time looking at screens.” That means physical books, which are still as relaxing and engrossing as they have always been.
(Also, my nearly three-year-old Kindle has started to slow down — not to the point of being nonfunctional, but definitely to the point of being annoying. Lags between page turns, etc. Amazon will give me $35 for the Kindle if I decide to trade it in, which I feel is an appropriate assessment of its value.)
Goal #7 is “spend more time with My People and meet more of My People in Seattle.” I’ve gone to a couple of places this year to try and figure out where those people might be, and the place that felt most like YES NICOLE YOU NEED TO SPEND TIME HERE is Phinney Books; they hosted a Random House event last night, which I attended for what should be completely obvious reasons.
Every time I’ve gone in I’ve bought a book (last night I bought two), and when I go back next week for their Dock Street Salon event I’m going to buy another book. I feel like part of showing up and joining in means paying for things, especially when the place at which you are showing up is a small business in an industry notorious for its unsustainability.
(Showing up doesn’t necessarily equal paying for things if it would be a financial hardship, of course. A previous version of Nicole would have walked in, eaten the free cheese, and left quietly. Now I’ve got enough experience/confidence/income to walk in, talk to people, buy two books, and leave without eating the cheese. We already discussed the truth about cheese.)
But what I mean to say is that these Best Self goals—which I knew I was going to take seriously but had no idea I was going to take this seriously—are shaping my life in some very interesting ways.
Plus, now I own the Hamilton book. You all knew it was only a matter of time.