Hi, My Name is Kim and I’m a Bookaholic

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.

My mom's Nancy Drew books

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” ~ Marcel Proust

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.

Paris bookstall - Ray Bradbury quote addedBut 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.

My birding field guides and some general nature narratives

My birding field guides and some general nature narratives

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.

I'll use anything for a bookend!

I’ll use anything for a bookend!

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.

On the coffee table right now...

On the coffee table right now…

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. 🙂

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15 Responses to Hi, My Name is Kim and I’m a Bookaholic

  1. Pingback: Alright | Nature Is My Therapy

  2. Awesome post! And very timely too, as I have spent hours/days sorting through my lifetime collection of books in preparation for our move. I ordered from the same school paperback program you did (was it called the Arrow Book Club?), and ran across some of my old Nancy Drews while going through boxed books in the storage room. Even more than the Nancy Drews, I loved the Trixie Beldon series. My dream library would be a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves and a ladder to slide along so you get to the out-of-reach books.

    • Kim says:

      Kristie, I hope you’re not forced to get rid of too many of your beloved books for the move. I don’t remember if our school book program was called Arrow, but whatever it was, I loved it! And your dream of the floor to ceiling bookshelves with a sliding ladder — me too! In fact, whenever I go to Barnes & Noble I’m always drawn to whichever area has the ladder in front of it, just so I can pretend that I have to slide that thing out of the way…weird, huh? I can imagine riding it back and forth across all my books, getting all sorts of inspiration from seeing the titles whiz past me….ahem, ok, maybe I have a bit TOO much fondness for library ladders!

  3. I can relate to this post all too well. When I was a kid I always had my nose in a book, but my earliest memory of loving reading was when my brother came home with a box full of comics his buddy gave him. I was on cloud nine for a full weekend. 🙂
    Still read a lot today. At the moment I’m reading Steve Jobs and The Great Gatsby concurrently.

    • Kim says:

      Oh, comic books…which ones did you like best, Jennifer? I only remember reading a few Archies comics and Mad Magazine as a kid.

      But now you’ve reminded me that I’ve always meant to read The Great Gatsby…I knew I’d get more books on my reading list by writing this post!

      • Archie comics were my fave, especially if it was a Betty or Veronica digest. But I also liked Richie Rich, Little Lotta (boy,I’m old), and yes I read a lot of Mad magazines.
        I’m halfway through Gatsby, and liking Fitzgerald’s style, but reserve my overall review until I’m finished. But so far I recommend it. I wanted to read it before I watched the new movie.

      • Oh, and Casper the friendly ghost..lol

      • Kim says:

        Oh yeah, you have to read the book before the movie…that’s a law!

      • For sure. And of course the book is almost always better. Although recently I read Perks of being a Wallflower before I saw the movie, and thought the movie was better.

  4. Littlesundog says:

    I would be a bookaholic if I didn’t have so much work here on the little ranch. I love to read, and in the winter months I partake in it a good bit. I generally read non-fiction. I love learning and educating myself.

    • Kim says:

      I know you keep so busy on the ranch, but you still manage to self-educate pretty darn well! I guess if I’m honest about it, I do too little work around the house and yard because of my reading….but I’m ok with it. If I had 10 acres like you I might have to change my tune about it though, LOL.

  5. I loved this post. It was a book in itself (meaning the explanations were so vivid that I could feel your passion for reading while also understanding your honesty on the pros and cons.) I hope you enjoy your future reads immensely.

  6. Cindy Opitz says:

    My name is Cindy and I am a bookaholic……My worst vice and my dearest pleasure! I definitely know where you are coming from! Those bookshelves were always my dream until I became allergic to dust. Now I have a small room of my own with one whole wall of books behind glass doors that are 3 books deep. I have a real delight in Science Fiction Fantasy and am currently reading “A Dance with Dragons” by George R.R. Martin. And I still like reading dictionaries, Kim!

    • Kim says:

      Cindy, your private library sounds awesome! And along with reading the dictionary, I remember you reading Tolkein in high school, so I’m not surprised that you still love sci fi/fantasy stuff. I guess you’ve switched over to the German dictionary now though… 😉

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