"A house without books is like a room without windows." ~ Horace Mann
I will admit it; I'm an addict. My drug of choice is books. I love to read and the only thing I like more than the actual act of reading, is the adventure of going out to acquire the next book. I get a thrilling rush whenever I walk through the doors of the bookstore, and smell the new pressed bindings, hear the rustle of turned pages, see the rows and rows of colorful bookshelves, showcasing all the characters I've yet to meet, promises of adventures to be had, triumphs and tragedies, heroes and villains, and new worlds to discover.
Like any drug, the first hit is free. Once you are hooked, then you have to start to pay. The school book fair is where the expense of my addiction first really took its hold. Rows of books that I could not only read but own; keep them tucked away on the shelf in my room, to be pulled down and read again at my pleasure. One of my all-time favorite books, a book that I have re-read often, even as an adult, was purchased at one such book fair: the fantasy novel "The Darkangel" by Meredith Ann Pierce.
When I couldn't get my fix from the library or book fair, there was always my dad's cedar chest. In my home, my mother deemed that bookcases were strictly for nicknacks and family photos. So my father's book collection was relegated to a cedar chest in his closet. If I needed something to read, he would open the cedar chest and pull out one of his latest finds. The phrase "I think you'll like this one," spoken by my dad, was the best and most trustworthy book review ever; I could always depend on it. He had a way of reading a story out loud too, that brought it to life... character voices and sound effects and all. My favorite one for him to read out loud was The Haunted House book from my Disney storybook collection.
Like most addictions, if you do not suffer from it yourself, it's hard for you to relate to those that do. Such was the case with my mother. It would aggravate her to no end that my father and I could just sit in the living room - my dad in his recliner, me on the sofa - motionless except for the turning of pages, for hours on end. "Why don't you get up and go play outside?" she would say. She didn't understand that not only was I already outside... I was a million miles away.
Now my collection has taken up seven bookcases and counting. I try to weed them out and take some to re-sell to the used bookstore (Thrifty Joe's is our local favorite.), but it's hard parting with them. They are like old friends... just waiting patiently to relieve the adventure with you. I guess I'm just sentimental about the journey, even if I never plan on taking it again, I want to keep the book as a reminder of the good time I had.
You would think after all these years I would have kicked the habit, but this addiction is here to stay. I've joined a support group (i.e. book club). My mother and brother have reluctantly resigned themselves to the fact this isn't going away, and even support my habit now. Although for every birthday that rolls around, when I am asked what I want for my birthday and I reply books, my mom continues to lament, "What do you need ANOTHER book for?" They've learned to just get me gift cards to feed my need, rather than trying to hunt down the latest release or obscure title that I'm jonzing for.
My addiction continues... having just had a birthday and received said gift cards, I just picked up the following: The Shack by William P. Young, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and Blaze by Richard Bachman. My husband gave me the gift of The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber, while my dear friend Raven found a rare collection called "The Darkangel Trilogy." Who knew that first book that got me hooked was actually the first in a series of three! What a find! So be watching for lots of book reviews soon! Apologies in advance to my "Lit & Latte" book club friends. I also picked up a copy of Moloka'i by Alan Brennert for our next read, but some of these other books are calling out to me... so many books... so little time...
I invite you to leave me a comment and let me know, are you an addict too? What was the first book you remember getting "hooked" on as a kid? What's your favorite book of all time?