IVP - Addenda & Errata - Top Ten Things to Say on Returning Home with Conference Book Plunder

November 7, 2007

Top Ten Things to Say on Returning Home with Conference Book Plunder

Here are some verbal tactics you might find useful as you bring your conference book plunder home under the scrutiny of your nonacademic spouse. The premise is that, arriving at the airport, you can’t manage to drop the books off at the office.

10. “Look at how much money I saved! These were all forty to fifty percent off!”

9. “You should have seen the temptations! This is the small price of my restraint.”

8. “Remember, I’m writing a book, and the royalties will more than cover the price of these books. It’s just a temporary investment that we’ll recoup.” (Oh sure. Like your monograph on Athanasius Against the Arians is going to cover the cost of even one of those Brill titles in your bag!)

7. “Look! I’ve taken care of a lot of our Christmas shopping!” (When he/she tells you that no one on the Christmas list wants those books, you act disappointed and rejected, and absorb them into your library.)

6. “Oh, so you’re going to complain about your husband/wife squandering money on books! Do I blow money on alcohol? tobacco? gambling? drugs? sex? stadium box seats? No! Just books on justice and peace, Jesus and Paul, trinitarian theology and the evils of, uh . . . consumerism!”

5. “Don’t worry. It just looks like a lot. Amortized over my lifetime, I’m not spending very much on books at all. Certainly nothing like You Know Who.”

4. “These are all tax deductible.” (This only works if he/she is under the illusion that you somehow subtract the book bill from the tax due.)

3. “These are all tools. Just the cost of doing business in my trade.”

2. Dull the impact by itemizing. “Some of these are for Christmas. Some of these are for the new class I’m teaching. Some of them are for my research. Some of them I might adopt as texts. And one of them is for you!”

1. “Folks who had lost their homes in the fires were selling these books on the streets of San Diego. I couldn’t resist helping them out. If you had looked into their eyes . . .” *

Next year, perhaps we can offer ideas on how to hustle the plunder onto the premises and avoid this conversation.

*This one shows just how low one can go.

Posted by Dan Reid at November 7, 2007 11:32 AM Bookmark and Share


Of course, prevention is always better than cure. So it's worth trying this one: "Darling, you look tired. Why don't you lie down here in the bedroom with a nice cup of tea, while I go into the study to unpack..."

Comment by: Ben Myers at November 10, 2007 12:10 AM


Comment by: Andy Naselli at November 10, 2007 6:01 PM

it might be easily to simply have an academically inclined wife (like mine!).

I just wish I could go to ETS/SBL...

Comment by: mike aubrey at November 10, 2007 6:30 PM

Awesome! I think I have used at least half of these excuses before!

Comment by: Allen Mickle at November 11, 2007 2:01 PM

Yes! I'll definitely have to remember these... thanks for the laugh! :)

Comment by: Jake A. Smith at November 11, 2007 3:47 PM

Do you have a wire tape on my house?

Comment by: Char at November 11, 2007 5:32 PM

my husband brings a few in a bag, then i see there is a few more in the suitcase, next comes a couple of boxes in the mail.
the worst is his annual january trip to england and scotland...3-4 weeks after his return is a Santa-sized bag of books on our doorstep! but he's not spending on the listed vices, nor does he have "toys"...how can i argue over theological "treasures"?!

Comment by: clmeharg at November 11, 2007 5:35 PM

I have a colleague whose personal library is the most massive private collection I've ever seen. I was once talking with his spouse about the expense of such a library, and I remarked that all these books could have paid for a nice sports car by now. She looked at me sagely and said, "Several sports cars!"

Comment by: Ben Myers at November 11, 2007 6:19 PM

Forget about conference purchases, unless I can consistently get home after either the "big brown truck" or the postman and before "she who must be obeyed" I am in big trouble.

Comment by: Jerry at November 11, 2007 7:28 PM

Bieng single does have it's advantages, one of which is never having to say your sorry for buying a ridiculous ammount of books! :^D

Comment by: Nick Norelli at November 12, 2007 1:51 AM

Thanks for the "wonderful tactical list" that propels us to the creative part of our minds as we seek to be redeemed by that loving, compassionate and forgiving person whom we chose to share our lives(and books) with. This is why married people are more "creative" than single people! HA!

Comment by: Alan Littlejohn at November 12, 2007 10:47 AM

11. At the rate the dollar is falling, these foreign-printed books would cost twice as much if I wait until next year.

12. These books will make an excellent and memorable inheritance for the children.

Comment by: A at November 12, 2007 1:38 PM

well, i suppose i'm blessed to have a wife who approves of my purchases, studies the GNT with me and reads commentaries and monographs (right now she's reading Bruce Winter's Roman Wives Roman Women and Carson on Matthew).

Comment by: mike aubrey at November 12, 2007 5:59 PM

I always use #3, “These are all tools. Just the cost of doing business in my trade.” I always use it seriously, and my wife always accepts it as legitimate. No joke. I have THE best wife in the world.

Comment by: Tyler at November 13, 2007 7:10 AM

#3 and #2 are used every time I get home from a conference and every time a new box shows up on the doorstep... When in doubt, have it shipped to the church office!!!

Comment by: Nick Kennicott at November 13, 2007 7:22 PM

This is very helpful. Good practical insight. I will put this to use soon.

Comment by: Chris at November 14, 2007 4:07 PM

You mean I'm not the only one? I'm so relieved. My wife indulges me to a degree, but she picks on me for the books I ALREADY have: "But Honey, the books you have don't look good on the shelves in the living room - plus you have too many already - what about all those in boxes in the garage? You'll just get more that will clutter up your office."

Comment by: Santiago at November 15, 2007 3:34 PM

Trust me ... I've already played these and I need some fresh material because I can assure you there are more books out there needing a good home!

I'm just giving love to those orphans, honey.

Comment by: GUNNY HARTMAN at November 16, 2007 12:41 PM

What goes around comes around, when it comes to books in our home. . . Since Hubby is so understanding when I bring home my haul, I can't bat a lash when he brings home his. . .

Comment by: TulipGirl at November 18, 2007 6:12 PM

I recently got into a heated argument with my signicant other, who just didn't understand that I needed to both a. rebind my current 14 volumes of the Duns Scotus opera omnia, and b. get a "beater" set to keep at the office/take to class...but I am generally ok at conferences. Great list!

Comment by: lee faber at November 22, 2007 12:12 AM

very interesting, but I don't agree with you

Comment by: Idetrorce at December 15, 2007 7:04 AM

Hey, you are giving advice to people who read A BLOG WRITTEN BY EDITORS OF THEOLOGICAL REFERENCE WORKS! Maybe it would have worked for beginners, but I would guess that your readers are far beyond those excuses. If we are still married, it's because our spouses have accepted our addiction or just can't find us in our mazes of book piles.

Comment by: Daniel at April 14, 2008 3:51 PM

As a regular guy sitting in the pew with an interest in theology none of these are working for me because I can't come up with the money for most of the books that interest me anymore. My wife was nice enough to get me two books by James Loder this Christmas at 40.00 each. I told her to even forget about getting another Thomas Torrance book as most of them are fifty dollars or more! I'm afraid that this is going to lead to theology becoming something that only professionals do.

Comment by: Mark Wendland at January 11, 2009 9:09 AM

#6 is my favorite.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Comment by: Anne at January 11, 2009 9:54 PM

How soon will you update your blog? I'm interested in reading some more information on this issue.

Comment by: KonstantinMiller at July 6, 2009 8:04 PM

Comments are closed for this entry.

Get Email Updates

You'll get an email whenever a new entry is posted to Addenda & Errata

Subscribe to Feeds

Got a Book Idea?

Please follow our submissions guidelines. We cannot respond to book proposals or inquiries within the context of this blog.