Top Ten: A Book-Binge Survival Guide

Happy Friday, readers! Hopefully you have recovered by now from a flurry of festivities, many of them shopping-related. If you’re like me, the shopping starts in the summer and doesn’t end till December 23rd (I am detrimentally personal with gifts).
Even though this is the season of giving, it is also the season of receiving. My birthday was last week, and I am still enjoying celebrations of it (it only happens once a year, after all!)–more on the specifics later, but thanks to all who have celebrated with me. ❤ Anyway, I am again amassing new books, with a gift from a coworker setting off a chain, continued by my mom tonight. (How do people know my passions so well?)
For bibliophiles, this generosity of books and gift cards feeds our voracious book hunger, but it does present a few problems, as identified so poignantly this week by Rachel Cordasco on BookRiot. But never fear–she has a ten-step strategy outline to deal with the issue. Please enjoy her list as this week’s Top Ten. (My comments/additions are in pink.)
Posted by
Rachel Cordasco
December 2, 2013

A Book-Binge Survival Guide

Close your eyes and imagine. Oh wait, you need your eyes to read this–scratch that. Anyway, the holidays have passed. The first of the year has arrived. And there you are with SO MANY bookish gift cards/certificates that you feel giddy and sweaty and excited all at the same time.

Your first reaction is: MUST BUY ALLLLL THE BOOKS!!!!!

Your second reaction is: but then I’ll have a huge TBR pile on my floor and it’ll give me heart palpitations whenever I look at it because there aren’t enough hours in the day to read.

And then you feel depressed.

Well, consider this your lucky day, cause I’m here to help. Now, all you Hannukah revelers may be past help at this point, but you might be able to salvage that last bit of gift money for something special. All you Christmas revelers, though, still have time to prepare, with the help of this friendly survival guide to the BIG BOOK BINGE.

So, once the wrapping paper is cleaned up, the Hallmark cards are set out on your table or stuck to your refrigerator, and all the guests have left, you’ll find yourself laden with (hopefully) many gift cards/certificates to your favorite indie bookstores or Barnes & Noble. Here’s how to stay sane in the face of those riches and maximize your book-buying experience*:


1. CALM DOWN. Breathe deeply, iiiiiiinnn and ouuuuutttt, a few times. Good. That’s good.
I do have a yoga book for this…maybe I should get another?

2. Now, place the cards/certificates in relevant piles (i.e. all the indie bookstore gifts in one pile, the B&N in another; or cards to use now vs. later; etc.).
What’s “later”?

3. Go to your MUST READ list (don’t look shocked, of course I know you have one) and carefully scan through it to see which books are truly beckoning to you. Compose a new list of those books.
Beckoning, guilt-tripping, threatening, etc.

4. List only the number of books that could be covered by your cards. So, if you have a $25 card, and you like buying new-release hardbacks, understand that you’ll only be able to cover one book (or almost cover). Multiple cards, though, or larger amounts will give you more flexibility.
This sounds like it would take up time that I could use browsing books…

5. Rank the books on your subset list in order of MUST-READness.
According to pop culture, physical threats from loved ones, brain–level-up potential, etc.

6. Watch an episode of Game of Thrones. It’s like reading, but shorter, and just as epic.

7. Return to your list and make any necessary changes additions.

8. Stick to this list when you venture forth to book-binge.

9. Understand that you CAN portion these cards out over time. For instance, you might use only one card per month, or only when you are finished with the book you just bought. Whatever works for you.
Not sure how good I’d be at this one. Keep me away from autographed and clearance racks…I don’t even look at what I’m buying at that point. Just kidding, not really

10. Feel good about your self-control and go crazy with something else.
Self-restraint is a lot easier in a candy store than a book store, for me. One is bad for your waistline, the other is good for your brain. However, both are good for your soul, or so says my mom. 😉

Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week.

* this list applies to cold hard cash, as well

(The featured image comes from Little Otsu)

About Rachel Cordasco
Rachel S. Cordasco has a literary studies Ph.D (which means she’s read a freakin’ TON of books over the years) and has taught American literature and composition. She has also worked as an editorial assistant at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

All posts by Rachel Cordasco  Twitter Facebook


I hope you enjoyed the list, dear readers! I fear I sabotaged it a bit with my responses, although they were candid in my self-doubt, at least. 😉

Have a fantastic weekend, dear readers! May your book karma reward you with as many books received as given. 🙂


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