haiku and other animals

Tag: books

a tower of books topples spring breeze


Breaking the fast

I recently ordered a bunch of haiku books from the excellent Red Moon Press.

Normally, there’s nothing much to talk about when you’re buying a few books, but this package was very special to me.


You see, I like to give myself little challenges, and the latest one was to see whether or not I could go a year without buying books.

This May 15 I will have gone two years without any alcohol and that, for me, has been fairly easy. Sure, every now and then I think about my days of drinking fine single malt scotch, but the temptation to go and buy a bottle isn’t really that strong and in the end it really doesn’t bother me very much.

Giving up buying books, on the other hand, has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever voluntarily put myself through.

I’m a compulsive and probably obsessive book buyer. I think fondly on all those hours spent in my teen years digging through Salvation Army bins in search of rare used book treasures, and then moving to New England and gleefully exploring the great used book fairs of old Connecticut libraries. And for those who grew up before online marketplaces existed, you can just imagine the magic and promise that Amazon.com held.

The temptation to grab some new book on this or that subject is a constant in my life. This past year it was an itch I would not let myself scratch. I made list after list in my mind of what I would buy when the year was up and tried to keep reminding myself that there were plenty of unread books already in my apartment.

In the end, I did manage to go the whole year, and I’m quite proud of that achievement. It has given me a new perspective on why I buy books and how I buy books and, most importantly, I’ve learned that I can resist my temptations. A lesson I will surely need again before too long… Still, it’s great to find a strength you were not sure you had.

So, to celebrate this accomplishment I went to Red Moon Press and ordered a treasure trove of new books including Jim Kacian’s excellent meditation on the one-line haiku, where I leave off / waar ik ophoud, and collections from the great Ban’ya Natsuishi and paul m. and essays from Kaneko Tohta and Richard Gilbert. I wanted to order so much more, but this is a good start and a wonderful way to break my fast.