When I first joined the book community, I was extremely excited; I still am. I’ve never had anyone who read so much as I did and read the same types of books. When I created my blog I was originally going to have my friend/brother-in-law make graphics for the visuals, unfortunately I read so much I overwhelmed him and it was too much work, for anyone. So after publishing a lot of posts without any visuals and thinking, “My blog is really bland” several times, I decided to take pictures. When I finally did start taking pictures, I drew inspiration from bookstagram. I didn’t have all the props people on bookstagram had, but I did my best, I have since recovered from this mindset and now have my own aesthetic on my bookstagram account, but back to the main point.
When I look at pictures of bookstagram, I seldom see pictures of library books and I wonder, “How do people have money for all of these books?” People have shelves and shelves of books, we continuously see posts and videos of “book hauls” and people who are buying new books. As Krysta from Pages Unbound said on her post Why I Don’t Collect Books, “In the book blogosphere, collecting books seems to be a badge of honor. The more volumes you own and the less floor space you have to put them on, the greater your bookworm cred.”
Almost from the first picture I took, I realized this burning insecurity I had; all my books were from the library. I would take pictures and try to crop out the caller code identifying it as borrowed. I realized I felt embarrassed I had none of these books. I didn’t have the impressive library all of my fellow book readers seemed to have. I don’t even own the Harry Potter Books, much less different editions of the series. I don’t read the newest releases right when they come out because the library either hasn’t ordered them (Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels, Labyrinth Lost, Jerkbait) or lots of other people were on the ball and I don’t buy every new book that comes out.
This shame came from no one, but it’s very difficult when I never see pictures of library books on social media. But I’ve realized I don’t need to feel ashamed of this. I am very selective of my personal library for a reason, and if that means I’m taking pictures of borrowed library books, so be it. I’ve honestly tried to care less about the face there are always tabs on the bottom of my books and sometimes the glare is real, even when all the windows are open. It’s presented a new challenge to me because I need good lighting, but often times the light is my enemy.
But I still slip up; just the other day I was taking a picture and cut out the YA sticker on the top of the book. But to be anything than what I am, whether in real life or on social media is an injustice to myself and the world. The reality is, I don’t have money to buy every new book published, and I don’t even want to. In my honest opinion, not all books have a place on my personal bookshelf and it really is a pain to move (which I likely will do more than twice in the next 5 years) 20 boxes of books.
This is not me criticizing anyone who has the money or the budgeting skill to buy any and every book they want to read or may not read. This is also not me criticizing those who have the motivation to move 20 boxes. But recognizing the shame I feel and actively fighting against those feelings is important. Because in the end, we are more than the things we buy or the books we own. We are more than what is on our bookshelf. We are what we read and consume and how we learn from it.