You might be one too. Do you have books piled in every room of the house so you’ll always have something at hand to read? Do you keep a wish list on Amazon as a reminder of books you might want to buy? Do you, like me, download free sample chapters of Kindle books as further reminders of books to consider? Do you daydream about getting locked in a library or bookstore overnight? If so, you might be a bookaholic too.
I’ve been a book lover since childhood, when I devoured everything I could get my hands on, from Mad Magazine to the Encyclopedia Britannica. I have clear memories of ordering paperback books for 35 cents each through my school, and my excitement on the days the books arrived. It was like Christmas every time. Nice shiny new paperbacks with all those stories inside to transport me to exciting places. Couldn’t get enough then, and can’t get enough now. Although these days I tend to read more nonfiction than Nancy Drew mysteries.
But it’s not just about acquiring the books, it’s about reading them. Well, maybe it’s partly about simply having them, at least with the traditional printed books. Heck, some of them are really pretty.
But I have to admit, sometimes I get overwhelmed by my piles of books everywhere. And by my habit of reading too many at once because I got distracted by the next interesting one to come along. Don’t tell anyone, but I have lots of books I’ve never read at all. Like the six-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson that I found at the library’s used book sale for $2 each and couldn’t pass up. I fully intend to read it, eventually.
I don’t treat all my books equally either. Some are just for grazing whenever I have a few free minutes. Others are for studying, highlighting, and ruminating over. Those are the ones that are dangerous, because I usually end up following the author’s citations to even more books. It’s sort of like going on the Internet and clicking a link, then clicking yet another link, and eventually forgetting where you started. Every book leads me to another, endlessly. And I love that.
Whatever the reasons or justifications for owning so many books, I know I’m certainly not alone in my compulsion to keep bringing more of them home. I’ll never forget the day my grad school professor had our class to his home for an end-of-semester party. I should explain that we were all in the masters program for library and information science, so there were many book lovers in the group. But as the professor gave us a tour of his lovely home in a historic section of Detroit, it quickly became apparent that he had us all beat in that department. Every wall of the house...every wall…was lined with floor to ceiling bookshelves jammed full. You’ve heard about Barbie’s Dream House? Well that was Kim’s Dream House. But the professor said the moving guys were none too pleased with them on moving day…too funny.
And while I love my Kindle and the ability to download a book instantly whenever I want to read it, I can’t imagine life without traditional printed books too. Some people predicted the death of print books when e-readers became popular, but I’m confident both forms will co-exist for a long time.
And just because it’s fun to share, here’s a list of some books I’m reading and/or browsing now, collected from various piles around the house:
- Binocular Vision: The Politics of Representation in Birdwatching Field Guides – Got this via interlibrary loan, so I only have it for 3 weeks….not long enough…need to focus!
- Peterson Field Guide: Eastern Forests – Birding has led me to an increased interest in habitat types.
- Atlas of Bird Migration – This is a great coffee table book to pick up, learn a bit, and put it back down.
- Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv
- Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, by Douglas Tallamy – Although I’ve heard about the importance of native plants for a long time, this is the first time I’ve really understood why they’re important to all of us.
- Out of the Woods: A Bird Watcher’s Year, by Ora Anderson – Charming stories of life in the woods of southeastern Ohio (near the area I grew up in).
So tell me what you’re reading lately…I need something else to read. 🙂