Hello.

My name is Linda.

I’m a bookaholic.

My problems definitely go back to childhood. My mother would prod me to put my book aside, “Go out and blow some stink off.” I’d rather associate with Jo and Meg and Amy and Beth or Nancy Drew.

shortly after our nuptials I tried my lifelong ritual of reading myself to sleep. My husband said, “Are you going to keep that light on?” (I wanted to say, “No, I’ll read in the dark.” I didn’t.)

In my early 30s I was very involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters when one of the “littles” commented on a camping trip, “You always have something to read.”

The past two years, I have traveled to far away cities.  seeking others who could be booked for the same addiction. I learned I am not alone in smuggling books into the house when Husband is not around.

Husband has refused to make any more bookcases. There are no bare walls in our house.

Every occasion, no matter how formal or sacred is BYOB – bring your own book. I went to traffic court with present husband a few years ago and was admonished to “stop reading in court” by a policeman with a gun.

My nightstand, purchased from a hotel liquidator, has the opening under the single drawer.  It beckons as a place for books. It has a double row of books with more books on top of those books.

There were two pile of books as high as the nightstand next to the bookstand – until last night. My neighbor gave me a collapsible cube for my birthday. Since one of the book piles impeded bed making, I decided to see how many books I could put in the cube; at least it would be eash to move the cube than a teetering pile of books. I was astonished to find both piles could be managed in the cube.

Then I counted. There are 31 books (3 are cookbooks), 4 catalogs, and a 2005 book-a-day calendar in the cube (I haven’t added the books in the calendar to my To Be Read list yet. One book in a pile didn’t make the cube. It was a duplicate of one on top of the speaker that sits on the nightstand.

At my worst I unknowingly owned three copies of David Halberstam’s The Fifties. At least all were purchased in thrift stores.

An alcoholic’s cravings contribute to physical ailments like cirrhosis. Book addiction presents physical problems for the aging addict. Arms become too short to put material in focus. Like an alcoholic, a reader will look for glasses for relief. Last week, after a lifetime of wearing prescription glasses, I bought a generic pair on the street. I even made sure to test them before  handing over the hard-earned cash; I took a book to ensure the eyes had it.

Upon counting the books in the cube I deluded myself that I could get those books read this year. That would be my 2013 challenge. That’s about half a year’s endeavor.

I settled into my book du jour, The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – one of my favorite kind of books – a book about books. Future TBR book titles are named in the book. A self-generating book list. Euphoria!

I was distracted from reading when the books on the bookshelf at the end of the bed came within eyeshot. An overflowing four-shelf unit with two vertical piles on opposite ends of the top. I counted 21 books in one pile reaching for the ceiling.

That’s when recognized that I have a problem. Between one pile and the cube was almost one year’s reading. That doesn’t include the other vertical pile, the four overflowing shelves, the two-shelfer on the stair landing, those in four very tall units in the den, a five shelf piece in the living room, a two-shelver on the buffet in the dining room nor the boxes of books also in the den.

Oh, the two books in the bathroom, the table next to the front door with library books or the file unit behind the front door. Oh, and there are cookbooks in the kitchen and music books and sheet music next to the piano and a single small shelf on top of the piano and…

I need to take responsibility. It’s not the publishers’ fault. They need to continue to publish books for their own livelihoods. I don’t have to read everything in print.

In just the bedroom there must be enough books for two or three years.

I need to be strong. Take one page, er, day at a time. I’m going to close the book on 2012 with acknowledgement of my affliction.

In my book, that’s a step in the right direction.

Now, where did I put my book? Withdrawal can be so painful.

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