Booze and Books – 28 Things I Love (that aren’t you)

Welcome to Days 7 & 8 of my 28 days series! If you’re visiting for the first time, you can catch up on my intro and Day #1 post here. You can also follow the tag “28thingsIlovethataren’tyou” to read all the posts so far all in one place. And if you decide to play along with your own 28 Things list, let me know in the comments!

Things I Love – Day 7

Getting drunk!

Disclaimer – The below entry is based solely on my own personal experience and is not meant to promote or encourage alcohol consumption or any general law-breaking. Please feel free to skip this section and go right to the Day 8 entry below.

The official Friday Night anthem

I didn’t start drinking until maybe my second year of college. For my birthday a bunch of my friends and I hung out in my dorm room and we all got plastered while watching a marathon of bad movies that I think included Pink Flamingos and some truly hilarious 70’s porn. Technically, it was my 20th birthday and none of us were legal yet. The big 2-1 though, was a much more subdued affair because there was no way I’d ever top that party. But it was the first time I actually got drunk and the uninhibited giddiness I felt while intoxicated hooked me way more than the actual taste. At first, anyway.

By the end of my college career (and for a few years afterward) I basically became known for ordering two drinks – coconut rum and Sprite (and even then I only drank Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Coconut Rum – which if that isn’t proof that I have terrible taste in literally everything, then nothing is) and amaretto sours. Even then, as long as the drink came with a guarantee that it would give me cavities, then I was all over, that’s how much of a sweet tooth I had. Still, I drank for the effect, the sugar rush that it came with was usually just a bonus. When I was drunk I felt lighter, carefree, and life in general just felt adorable and delightfully hilarious. So of course, through my twenties, I got drunk as often as I could get away with. Because, hell, it was fun.

But drinking was never a problem. My body chemistry wouldn’t allow it – usually I made it about two and a half drinks before my stomach would start protesting and then it was a question of how many hours of sleep I’d lose detoxing and if finishing that last half was worth the lost sleep. Nine times out of ten, the sleep won out. Plus, me being a total homebody, anti-social introvert, I didn’t like drinking in bars around strangers and loud music. Usually it was way more appealing to get a few bottles, drag all my friends over to my place and conduct social experiments on them play drinking games.

Of course, that was in my twenties. My thirties kicked off with tons of kidney drama that, obviously put any and all partying to a screeching halt and now with the majority of my friends all off being grown-ups with kids and spouses and soul-crushing jobs, there’s no time for 2am drunken philosophical roundtables. I probably get drunk with my mother more these days than my friends – and she is the most adorably cute drunk, so I can’t complain.

I still love my amaretto sours, though if you like the drink yourself and want to try a twist on it, instead of using sour mixer swap in margarita mix. The credit for discovering this totally goes to my mom and I haven’t made my drinks with a normal sour mix since.

Things I Love – Day 8

Bookshops!

I have a whole separate section about actual stories and reading, so this one is just about physical spaces that we find books in. Because those spaces are awesome and important and don’t get nearly enough love in this day and age.

Libraries, shiny new bookstores, and dust-filled, cluttered second-hand shops – I adore them all. There’s always some kind of magic that comes with just being in a space that’s filled from floor to ceiling with books. In college I loved just roaming around the campus library (yes, in my free time and not just when writing papers, and yes I’m a nerd, bite me) and just looking at all the book titles, plucking out whatever sounded interesting and skimming a few pages. Academic libraries are lightyears different from public libraries and I do miss having easy access to one. Then again, public libraries have way more resources (I only have my college experience to compare to though). But libraries are always a good time, especially if I’m not looking for something specific to read. They’re more fun to browse through than say, a Barnes and Noble, because a library isn’t obsessed with promoting whatever hot author is popular right now. You can browse the stacks and find books from twenty years ago alongside books from just last year. I like having access to a wider time-range of books.

That range is also the reason I love second-hand bookstores. For starters, they can be irresistibly cheap (looking at you Strand $1 book racks, sitting there on the sidewalk, tempting me with your cruddy $1 sign and…books). Secondly, you can find some really cool treasures. Some of my favorite finds include a book of quotes about writing, the book version of my favorite Sherlock Holmes-based movie, a biography about one of my favorite actresses of all time, Mae West, and a book of slightly dirty limericks. All of those books were published between the 1940’s and the 1980’s. But like pawing through a thrift store or any local junk shop, part of the fun is not finding what you’re actually looking for, but finding something better.

Okay, what do you think about libraries and bookshops? With the advent of ebooks do people even really go to physical bookstores anymore? Got any good drink recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!

How one book addict let her collection go

I love to read. I’ve always loved to read. And during a lifetime of one-room living, my books have usually taken up more space than anything else – with the exception of my journals of course. My books were my first dictionaries (I literally would check my spelling by digging up a novel where I saw the word instead using a normal dictionary like a sane person), my friends, my tie to sanity and my escape.

But over time, I realized a few things about my collection of books:

  • Since getting a kindle most of my paperbacks have sat untouched.
  • They became serious dust magnets, and cleaning them was annoying and time-consuming, especially for items I really wasn’t using anymore.
  • I had no space on my shelves for other items – like the printer I really needed and bought th was now sitting on my floor.
Photo by Eli Francis on Unsplash

Much as I loved my books, in a 150 sq ft studio apartment, they had become a serious space liability.

They had to go.

It was so hard. I mean, what if I need that reference book for something? Or what if that $1 book from the Strand was actually worth something? It was from 1948. I can’t throw that out! I don’t get emotionally attached to much, but with my books, it felt like I was consigning part of my very soul to the donation bin.

It took a few months but I did eventually lug about 95% of my book collection to a Housing Works for donation. Here’s how I went about it:

  1. I made a master list of the books I felt the most attached to, including title, author, publishing date, publishing house, etc. Then I stuck all those books into boxes for donation.
  2. From the list, I looked up which books were available online as ebooks. If there was an ebook equivalent, I left the physical book in the donate bin. I did not buy the ebook. I just know if I ever have a pressing need to read that book again, I can get it online.
  3. If the book didn’t have an ebook equivalent, I asked myself the following questions: Is the information in this book available on the internet? Is this book relevant to hobbies I was interested in years ago, or hobbies I’m currently pursuing? If the book was still relevant to interests I had now and I wouldn’t be likely to find it online, then I kept it. If not, it stayed in the bin.
  4. I left the book bins in my hallway for about a month to see if I’d suddenly be compelled to read them again. I was not, so at the end of that month, out they went.
My shelf results: less books, less dusting to do

Yes, it was hard, but I feel relieved by the amount of space I regained on the bookshelf. Which, admittedly, is also my dresser, my media storage, where I keep my office supplies and all my important papers, photo albums, and other things. I live in a 150 sq ft studio; if I could bolt things to the ceiling for more storage, I would. But it looks a little cleaner, there’s less for me to dust, and I managed to fit my printer on there after all.

What helped you pare down your book collection? Let me know in the comments!