Library Therapy for the Shopaholic
I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest. The day Hazlitt came he opened to "I hate to read new books," and I hollered "Comrade!" to whoever owned it before me.
~author Helene Hanff, from her book 84, Charing Cross Road
I can't believe I threw away money on that!!!
Now I still blow money on things I don't need, don't get me wrong, but one little device (or perhaps more accurately "de-vice") I have for quelling my urge to splurge is simply this: checking out library books.
Hunting for a new book really does, I find, produce the same sensation as hunting down something to buy, but doesn't cost a penny. And the trade off is often so much more satisfying because the act of acquiring a book--and reading it!--is experiential, not just material. On the materialistic side, however, you still get to have something concrete in your hand, to take home and feel that sense of mastery and control shopping often brings. But 'round about the time buyer's remorse over a purchase sets in, your library book is due back and you aren't stuck not being able to return it because you took the tags off it and wore it. Books are expected to come back used.
How many times have you touched a keypad today? Now how many times have you held someone's hand? We spend our days looking at LCD screens, but what about gazing into someone's eyes?