I am the Queen of Rationalization

Remember that long ago date, what was it, ELEVEN DAYS AGO, when I wrote

My hope for this year (I prefer hopes to goals; I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a simple transposition makes them gaols) is to read two shelf books a month, to continue my library patronage, and to keep book buying to a minimum.

The shopping goddess thought it was time for my uppance to come. I broke that vow within 48 hours. I broke it again three days later. And again, five days after that. Curse you, Half Price Books. Herewith are the books I bought, and how I came to rationalize buying them:

Four volumes from The Gresham Publishing Company’s Complete Work of Charlotte Bronte and her Sisters: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Villette, Shirley, and The Professor. Me: Gasp! I was just thinking I wanted to read more Bronte books, and here are these lovely old editions in good shape with photo and illustration inserts! Wait, I’m not supposed to buying books. Wait, it’s my birthday at the end of the month. Happy birthday to me….

Pride and Prejudice, Norton Critical Edition. Me: I was JUST thinking that I’d like an edition of this with notes. And here it is!

Wuthering Heights Barnes and Noble Classics edition. Me: I am really craving notes right now, and these look pretty good.

Jane Eyre, Penguin Classics. Me: Look, notes!

Wide Sargasso Sea, Norton Critical Edition. Me: I can take this off my amazon wish list now. It’s cheap! And full of notes so I can understand the book this time!

Ironically (or pathetically; you decide) the reason I’d gone into the bookstore was that they were holding a mass-market paperback (MMPB, i.e., portable) copy of Little Women. But in the excitement of rationalizing EIGHT books, I forgot to pick up the one on hold. So I had to go back, three days later.

Little Women, Signet MMPB. Me: I really want to re-read LW before I read Geraldine Brooks’ March, and I don’t want to lug around my big HC even if I love the illustrations.

Ken Follett, Pillars of the Earth MMPB. Me: Ha! Who needs to buy the expensive TPB Oprah edition! This is much more portable for when I read it again, which I’m sure I’m going to do soon.

Then, five days later, I’m in the bookstore again. (It’s near where I have doctor appointments; I did have legitimate reasons for being there.)

Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho MMPB. Me: I am loving Northanger Abbey, and have to read this, since it’s mentioned so often.

Caleb Carr’s The Alienist $1 MMPB. Me: Becca just commented that this was a thumping good read, and since I’m so into Victorian literature lately, I’m sure I’ll read this soon.

Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics UK HC. Me: Ooh! Pretty textured cover! So much nicer than the US editions!

There you have it. I expressed a hope to keep book buying to a minimum, and within ten days I bought thirteen books. Better get reading.

3 Responses to “I am the Queen of Rationalization”

  1. Vince Tuss Says:

    Yeah, I’ve tried to vow the same — and was able to do so for much of 2007. Even cleaned a few off my plate. And in the past week, I’ve bought: The Road, No Country for Old Men and a couple of sci-fi/fantasy books. At least it was with gift cards and gift money.

    I’d second the recommendation of The Alienist. And you know there is a sequel…

  2. gretchen Says:

    Oh, I have to stay out of bookstores for precisely that reason. I can’t stop.

    I’ll be very curious to see what you have to say about Special Topics; I read it right when it came out and desperately wanted someone to talk to about the plot!

    The Alienist is a thumping good read (though gory), but I did not know that there was a sequel! Off to buy more books . . .

  3. Vince Tuss Says:

    “The Angel of Darkness” is the name of ‘The Alienist” sequel.