I love books. You might say I’m addicted to them. I have a long list of books at Amazon ready to be purchased. Right now they are mostly memoirs and books on writing. I try to order only three or four at a time, but that’s very difficult for me. They are as tempting as my favorite locally made chocolates or a quart of freshly picked, June strawberries from the farm down the road. I often tell myself, “I’ll never have enough.” or “I’ll buy it now, because I REALLY NEED it. ”
I also tell myself that my addiction is harmless because books aren’t narcotics or contain alcohol. I’m not into buying diamonds, furs, or private jets. I don’t need those things and I don’t have that kind of money. If I did, I’d probably spend it all on books, with a healthy dose of traveling and clothes thrown in.
I’ve been told by those who frequent AA meetings that thoughts like that are called, “Stinking Thinking.” Well, I’m guilty. And though I’ve known that I’m a bookaholic and do a lot of stinking thinking for a long time, I am in the middle of confirming it as official. We moved to this house almost two years ago. In the frenzy of the move, my husband and I got rid of a lot of books. I can’t speak for him, but for me it was difficult. I chose books that I remembered as not being engaging … that no longer drew me and/or that obviously for one reason or another, I never should have bought in the first place. After the move and unbeknownst to me, Bill asked a friend who was helping us to unload all of the boxes of books onto our bookshelves.
I discovered a problem a month or two later when I was looking for one in particular, a favorite poetry book. All of my books had been unpacked and in some cases packed in such a way that they were all mixed up and out-of-order. You might think I’m a bit anal, but I’ve always grouped genres of books together. Poetry, Gardening, Nature, Novels, Memoirs, etc. The only ones I keep in alphabetical order are the poets. There are too many to do otherwise.
So, as wonderful as it seemed to have all of my books unpacked for me, it was a nightmare. I had my work cut out for me. Just after Christmas, Bill and I decided to finally get our downstairs “Tornado” room put together and unpacked. It’s underground, where all of the bookcases are located, along with a TV, puzzles, games and a fireplace. It’s cozy. Warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. A perfect place to ride out any storm.
It’s where one night last summer, while Bill was having a meeting of associates, we made everyone go when a tornado warning came across on our emergency weather radio, telling us to take shelter immediately. We flew to the basement, glasses of wine and crackers and cheese in hand. We sat amongst unpacked boxes and moving rubble for about thirty minutes waiting for the tornado to hit or move on. One friend laughingly realized she was a “Tornado Virgin,” never having gone through a warning before. Thankfully, the tornado passed us by and we were safe. No damage had been done, except for the embarrassment of having everyone see the mess and the boxes still needing to be unpacked. We swore we’d get the room organized. Reshelving the books was mostly my job since most of them are mine.
Since Christmas I’ve been working a little bit at a time to get my precious tomes in order. First, I did poetry. Then came gardening, cooking, and books on using herbs as medicine. I’m now at work on my books on religion and spirituality, which are many. I know I could get it all done in one day, but I’m enjoying the slow pace. Books feel good in my hands. They smell um, booky. They are filled with wisdom and some actually seem to glow. No, not like a kindle. Like a real book that’s offering itself to me.
I have discovered that I have many books that I bought and have never read. As I place each one onto it’s new shelf, I flip through a few pages and immediatley want to sit down and read it from the beginning. There are others I consider to be “old friends” that I’d like to read again or that I simply could never part with. I started out making a pile of books that I wanted to read for the first time. I gave up. There are too many. And there are three more on their way through the postal system that will be added to the stack by my bedside.
I’m trying to be honest with myself. I am an addict. I need to get my problem under control. Someone suggested that I start going to the library instead of buying books. That’s all well and good for some, but I like to write comments in books and I’m afraid that wouldn’t do if it belonged to the library. Maybe I just need to read faster. Maybe if I stay up later than I normally do and get up earlier I can get them all read.
And just maybe I shouldn’t buy any more until I’ve read the ones I’ve already got … Ah yes, books. They’re a problem.