Saturday, March 6, 2010

Confessions of a Bibliophile

I love books. I.LOVE.BOOKS. This past week I found myself lusting for books (and I was only at SAMS). My heart was beating a bit faster, and I was definitely salivating. Did I say that I love books? Perhaps this stems from growing up without a TV. If so, do I thank my parents, or should I, in some odd way, feel a little cursed?

I actually didn't even realize that I had this problem, until I participated in our most recent women's Bible study at church. On the first day, we were encouraged to give up something that we love. I can't give up Charlie. I won't give up my animals (also family members). Ooooooooooooo.....don't ask me to do this. I put my pinkie toe in the water. I hear a voice. "Just do it". I close my eyes and dive in. No buying of books thru Easter. There, I said it.

The following week, others share about what they have decided to give up. I keep my mouth shut because:

A) they will probably laugh,

B) they would probably not understand how hard of a proposition this is.... and,

C) what if I can't keep this commitment? (and I pride myself on keeping commitments).

Aside from animals, books are my Achille's heel. They are to me what shoes and purses are to some other women. It is darn hard for me to walk past a bookstore without going in. Once I'm inside, I am mere putty. So many choices. Time stops, and the books are calling my name.

I love the heft of a book; the smell, even of a musty old one; the feel of the pages. History. Fiction. Non-fiction. Educational.Big books. Little books. I don't understand how anyone could forgo the "experience" of a book for The Kindle (a sacrilege to a true bibliophile). The characters in books (both fiction and nonfiction) become friends, and I am often sad to see a book end. I probably should have been a librarian instead of a pharmacist :). I am in awe of truly gifted writers and their abilities to make the words come alive on a page.

Last week, I broke down and told Charlie what I had committed to do. He laughed at me, because he DOES know how much I love books. He has frequently said he can trust me in any store (because I am Miss Frugal), except in a bookstore. I suppose there are worse addictions.

This has been an eye opening event for me. I knew I loved books, but I honestly thought I "had 'IT' under control". When I was in SAMS, it had been a month since I'd bought a book, and I think DT's had set in. I picked up about a dozen books on display. I ran my hands across the covers. I thought about all the friends hiding between the pages. I even read the back flaps. I was so close. I almost put one book in my cart. But then, I heard that voice: "You promised". I put the book back on the shelf, backed away, and wiped the drool from my face, with the realization that I do have a little problem exercising control when it comes to buying books. Maybe after Easter, I thought, bidding farewell to my future little friends.

I post all of this with humor, but unfortunately, it rings true to anything that grips us somewhere in our lives....whether that be the internet, our cell phones, food, etc......or books. I have discovered that even a "healthy thing" like being a book lover, can become unhealthy when you feel compelled to own every book that catches your fancy.

So, for now, I look forward to Easter, for many reasons. But in the meantime, does it count if someone loans me a book? :)


  1. Well, I knew this side of you had to exist somewhere, so I am so glad to know you are miss OCD book collector. But, all those books will still be on the shelves come Easter, and you are more than welcome to peruse my library (on loan, of course).

    We had a rule in our house for all of a week. When you buy a book, you must discard a book. Needless to say, it only lasted a week as neither one of us could choose which friend to let go in place of a new friend.

  2. I do give a TON of books away, as that means I have more room on my shelf for the new ones. (heh heh heh). My very favorite books, however, I do not part with. I will only loan them out.

  3. Troughout your story I was thinking, does it count if I send you a book? I do not want you to have to come back on your promise off course :-(

  4. I feel your pain--but only in my imagination. I have not tried to give up book-buying for lent. You made it, though! Today's Easter. And you do have some empty spaces on your shelves! :-)