There is no friend as loyal as a book.
Ernest Hemingway

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.

This entry was posted in Addiction, Books, Life, Memoir, Poetry, stories, wonderings, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Books

  1. theRibz says:

    Agreed. Definitely 🙂

  2. Patricia says:

    We are definitely related, our organizational system and all. Every house we have ever owned ended up with floor to ceiling bookcases, mostly built in after we bought the house. I consider books everything you say, accept addicting. I have added over the years that they are also insulation, keeping even warm rooms warmer and a place to visit at any time of day or night.

    I have started sending some books to friends that I know I won’t read again and even those I miss and I have collected the boxes from Christmas mailings with the idea I will pack up books and give them to our local library that has a weekly book sale. That book sale has also become a place to gather more books.

    I say addiction or not books, kindle, paperback or hard cover, from the library sale of Amazon or the many used bookstores at the coast, great friends to have around.

  3. patti stark says:

    Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference! Sounds good to me! Enjoy your addiction! And, I’m with you – no kindle for me EVER! P

  4. Sharon says:

    As a fellow addict – I say “accept the things I cannot change” and give yourself a great big hug and take a few minutes to pull one of those lovelies off the shelf and enjoy. Yes, it is true – we are strong and powerful and we CAN change but somethings just don’t really need changing.
    Loved seeing your library and some of the titles. Lord, grant me the strength to stay away from Amazon today.

    • jzrart says:

      Hi Sharon, You are so right about some things not needing to be changed. When you come for a visit, I’ll have you sit down and tell that to Bill!!

      Miss you!

  5. Mark says:

    This is a family disease.

  6. jzrart says:

    Yes it is and worldwide too. I take great pride in knowing you read so well. Even when you were little you loved books. I can’t say I’m sorry I’ve passed that on.

  7. Zed Zabski says:

    Dis ease I can relate to. I forget the game is little about a bad reader trying to be good, but rather just accepting that I’m a grazer not a lawn mower of ideas. I’m constitutionally incapable of reading with thoroughness. I have to just take what I need (or think I need) and leave the rest.
    That’s why I have a kindle. I can underline and foot note what i like and it takes up little space for a cliff dweller living in a tiny hole in the wall above the trees like me.
    I’ve come to a accept that I’m drawn more to principles than fact. Seldom do details slow me down for long. Maybe that’s why I tend to live a messy life. As long as I can find my keys, wallet driving glasses, cell phone and Mousse’s leash I’m as prepared as I can be.

  8. jzrart says:

    As Mark pointed out this it’s a family dis-ease, and I’m glad to share it with you. I read very much like you, going for principles rather than facts most of the time. I like that a passage of well written words will grab me and send me into ecstacy or anger. And as far as Kindle or book, it’s really up to the individual. Neither one is wrong. It’s what works best for you. I do mourn the day that paper books will not be available. They work for me. I’m trying to save the best of mine so that one day Zoe and Noah’s kids will know what a book was.

  9. Becca says:

    I had to come to a reckoning with my own addiction some time ago. I now get most of my reading material from the library, or from publishers who give me books to review. There are a select number of book I purchase for myself – favorite authors whose books I “collect,” or a volume that I’m sure I’ll read again, or use for my own writing and will want to notate.

    I love paper books, but space and money finally overcame my need to “own” every single one of them!

  10. jzrart says:

    I keep a shelf empty for new reads by sending those books I don’t connect with off to the huge Library Books Sale. It’s a great cause. I’ve also placed some through a great site to find second hand books and to get rid of those you no longer want.

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