I didn’t read much growing up. I don’t think I read a single book in high school that I didn’t have to. It just wasn’t my thing.
I started reading in my early twenties, largely due to the works of Haruki Murakami. I still read pretty regularly, but I found myself buying way more books lately than I could ever hope to finish. Dozens of books sat unread on my bookshelf for years. I was buying them as if I would never have a chance to buy another book again.
As part of Abagail and I’s effort to save more money, I checked out our local library branch that’s a few blocks away. It’s a cute little library and the staff is always friendly. I started checking out books and making the most of it. It’s such a great resource.
I realized that about half of the books I owned I was never going to read, and if I really felt the need to read them, I could check them out from the library. I sold those books for $80 at a local bookstore, which is much better than them sitting on my bookshelf unread. I’m still working my way through the other half of my books.
In addition to books, the library also offers a bunch of other media that can be borrowed. They’ve got CDs and DVDs, which I don’t have a way to play but is still neat. They’ve also got digital books, music, audiobooks, TV shows, and movies, all for free. It’s incredible. I’ve been listening to audiobooks, watching documentaries, and reading ebooks in addition to the regular physical books.
Utilizing the library has me reading more, which is always a good thing. There’s a sense of urgency when reading a book since it’s due in a few weeks from when I checked it out, so I’m taking reading the books more seriously.
Plus, if I don’t like a book, there’s no guilt in dropping it off and moving on to another one. (No more regretful purchases and feeling like I need to read the whole thing!) My local library also has an online website to place books on hold and request books. It’s a really slick experience and a great way to see what’s available. Goodbye, wishlists. 👋
A book might not be immediately available, which is totally okay with me. Putting a book on hold and waiting for it has helped teach me patience. I can always find something else to read in the meantime. I don’t have to read the book I’m interested in right now. It’ll be just a good in a week, month, year, etc.
Some highlights of what I’ve read since getting into the library:
- Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
- You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham
- Happy City by Charles Montgomery
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
We have been able to cancel digital video and music streaming services, stop shopping for books, and make use of what the library offers. It’s helped cut our monthly entertainment budget from $500/mo to $40/mo. Money saved, reading more, getting out into the world. What’s not to love?
If you haven’t joined your local library, you should! It’s a wonderful way to feel more connected with your community and save money. It’s a joy to pick up, drop off, and browse books. I’ve truly been loving my local library.