Even people not close to me soon are aware of my love (read: addiction) to books. About five years ago, I discovered a podcast that serves (read: feeds) my devotion to the written word. The podcast is called Books on the Nightstand.

Books on the Nightstand not only has a podcast but also a website and many of the devotees (read: junkies) spill over to another website, GoodReads, to leave each other messages of our most recently read book, what we want to read next, or how we can influence others or a plethora of topics that keep our fingers limber on keyboards until we are using them to turn pages or scroll e-book screens.

Finding so many like-minded souls meant we had to meet. Many of us thought we were the only ones with this unquenchable habit. Ann and Michael, the podcasters, arranged a weekend in quiet off-season Vermont for therapy. Even they did not realize the scope of the dependency. They quickly diagnosed that once a year would not quell the addicts clamoring for their services. They scheduled three sessions for the following year that another attendee dubbed Booktopia.

I have now completed nine sessions with plans for another trip at the end of August to Asheville, North Carolina. I knew I was hooked when the second year the second session was planned for Oxford, Mississippi. In June. My aversion to heat was overpowered by my demons.

Each session has presented new ideas and discussions of coping with my mania. The most recent includes a postal book group.

Six fellow book-heads (not to be confused with potheads) will each send a reading book along with a journal to the next name on the list developed by an administrator. The reading book is to be about 300 pages. We each will get two months to read and comment in the logbook before sharing our needle- um, er, books with the next. At the end of a year, our book will return with the comments of the other users in the diary sharing its travels.

Now the pressure was on. What book to choose?

Since books hide my nightstand, it might seem to the uninitiated an easy task to find a book to pass on. But…

I didn’t want to send a book most would have already read (cross off We Were Liars).

A book with 250 pages seemed too slim and with 350 too bulky.

An old read would require a second “dance.” Would I experience the same high? Could I fit a new read in my schedule?

After weeks of deliberation, I stumbled upon the perfect book while sorting books for the next local library book sale.

It was a book I owned, had not read, really wanted to, and (best of all) was the perfect size (read: dosage) – 300 pages.

Now, where did I last see it? The bedroom.

At the foot of my bed is a book shelf with four tiers (the top one double stacked) and two piles of books on the top approaching the ceiling . There are two collapsible cubes on the floor. Both full. I know one has 35 books in it. Finally the nightstand was rescued from a hotel liquidation sale so it has the cubby on the bottom, with a double row of books and then a few more placed on top of those. There are only two or three books on top of the nightstand because I actually deigned to clean it off earlier this week (trying to show Husband that I can turn over a new leaf).

I correctly chose the orange cube. The books in it were neat as were the ones stacked on top, booty from recent visits to Book Con, Booktopia Vermont and a few rescues from library book sales.

The stacked books had been carefully placed with the exactitude of the dealer making sure the customer had paid the bill in full . Each book was placed precisely for balance and stability. I removed at least six handfuls of books to unearth the desired volume, placing each in a different pile on the bed to best reconstruct the pattern. The book I sought was, of course, on the bottom, back row. I had to replace it so nothing above it would topple.

In my frenzy to unearth my treasure, I had placed the small piles of books on the bed haphazardly. I had to reconstruct the puzzle without a corresponding picture.

That was exactly how I felt, trying to force puzzle pieces that were almost right into opened spots. So what if the color didn’t coincide with what adjoined?

The rebuilding was completed. Husband would never notice anything, but I knew the books weren’t precisely where they had been. But what would that matter?

This will give me the impetus to reduce the number in/on the container.

If only these books weren’t so close to what has been my favorite reading place since childhood. The bed.

Nowadays, the toothpicks don’t seem as strong as they used to be. Perhaps it doesn’t take as many pages to supply my fix; I’ve developed a tolerance. Either that or my eyelids, along with the rest of me, have put on a few.