Sunday, July 09, 2006


An indulgence is giving in to something you want when you don't really need it, I suppose. But then, "want" and "need" are such relative terms at times. And sometimes present "wants" will become future "needs," so is it still an indulgence if I buy something I only "want" right now but will "need" in the future. For example, if I buy a nice pair of shoes on sale that I don't really "need," only "want," then I will have the nice shoes when my current pair wears out and I do, indeed, need new shoes. Indulgence or good stewardship? You know which way I'm leaning...

My 12yo daughter E. "needed" new drawing pencils and a sketch pad. She "wants" high-quality materials and she draws everyday, so she goes through these supplies like shampoo and toothpaste. And she uses her allowance to pay for them, because I only buy those kinds of things for birthday and Christmas gifts, believing that ordinary pencils and printer paper suffice for most drawings. (I will revise this opinion as she grows older if she does pursue art very seriously.) Anyway, because she needed to go to town for art supplies, we took a bus into the city center.

After the art supplies were purchased, I suggested we look at a few bookstores, and since reading is her second passion, it was agreed. And this is where the indulgence comes in--mine, not hers. I don't really "need" any new books to read. I have quite a few unread books on my shelves; I'm in the middle of three or four books already, with as many more waiting in the wings calling my name. But the books were in the store, and that might not be the case six months from now, so I supplied my future need for books to read (and that is a need) by buying the following:

Goodbye Mr. Chips by James Hilton

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit

A Daughter's a Daughter and other novels by Agatha Christie writing as Mary Westmacott

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Nesbit and Twain were actually E.'s picks, but the rest are for me to read...sometime. Perhaps I indulged. Perhaps it was only prudent to buy the books when they were available, because they might easily be sold before I "needed" them and went to buy them later. Like all book-lovers, I don't need much of an excuse to buy a new book...or three. These all have a new home on my shelves and speaking of "needs"...I may need to get some more shelves if I keep doing this.


At 2:57 PM , Blogger Mama Squirrel said...

The monthly discount book catalogue we buy from has The Enchanted Castle this month as well. (They're a lot like your Polish bookstores: they might still offer the same thing three months later, or you might never see it again.) I was thinking about getting it too, but I wasn't sure. They also have a couple of Nesbit books on audio this month, but they're abridged...maybe still okay just for listening to? One of them is narrated by the same person who did the audio version of Our Island Story.


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