When looking at bookstagram it is not just the books being added to my ever growing TBR list that make me drool. I also see candles, funkos, bookmarks, artwork, pillowcases, book cozies, and all the other wonderful merchandise to be had. It is rather amazing there are so many bookish things available for people who love to read.
I remember when reading made you a nerd rather than a fangirl, when it made you a bit weird rather than part of a world-wide community, when there wasn’t much swag to be had outside of bookmarks and even those rarely depicted book related things –though unicorns and puppies are cute. In fact, growing up, I don’t know of anyone who made such things even just for themselves, because it was just something no one really thought to do. It makes me wonder how this phenomenon started, at what point reading became a major marketing campaign. Does anyone remember or know?
I really do love all that stuff, but cannot really afford all that stuff. I get a bit envious when I see the various things other people have —new books and bookish things alike— and wish I could have them too. But what I just realized is that I could have them if I really wanted them but, to be honest, they aren’t a necessity nor have they ever been a priority.
For half of my life there were two things I wanted most in the word: an education and to travel. Both of those things are incredibly expensive and I put most of my funds into savings so that one day I might accomplish both. If I wanted a book, I waited until the library got it in or used gift cards I received for my birthday and Christmas. If I needed clothes or movies or music I waited for sales or debated how much I really wanted one of those items if it meant taking away from my travel plans or paying off my school loan.
As much as I love to explore the worlds found in books, I also wanted to explore our world and experience it for myself. Being able to go up the Eiffel Tower, gaze at Big Ben, meet a highland cow, try Welsh cakes, and visit the place where the Claddagh legend began has been an amazing opportunity. I wouldn’t want to give any of that up in order to have more trinkets on my bookshelves and beautiful Instagram photos (though I’d like that too).
I am living in Ireland as I write this, wishing to decorate my new apartment with lovely bookish things, yet have to deal with the struggle of paying rent and buying groceries that aren’t just a fifteen-cent package of noodles. I keep trying to be chosen as a bookstagram rep for subscription boxes and the like, but have not yet been so lucky. Someday I will be done my wanderings and have a great career that allows me to afford the little things… for now, I’m focusing on the big things and loving every minute of it.