Sunday, July 13, 2008

My Name is Melanie, and I'm a Bookaholic

It's time for me to emerge from my dark hidey-hole cave and make a confession.

I am addicted to books. In a bad, bad way.

Let me give you a little sense of perspective...

When Kenny and I got married a year-and-a-half ago, we bought a book case, and stuck a few of our books on it. Maybe five? I don't know. Not very many. And in the short 18 months since, that shelf is now stuffed and overflowing with books onto desktops, underneath our coffee table, on our kitchen cart, and stacked beside my bed, all acquired since our wedding.

When Oprah does her next extreme pack rat show, it'll be ten years from now and she'll interview me in my book-stuffed home with only my eyes visible over a towering stack of Russian classics, each started and abandoned halfway through. Or maybe it will be a pile of memoirs of people's lives, both hilarious and poignant. Or maybe it'll be a mixture of romances and mystery and espionage novels. I can practically script the interview.

Oprah: Why do you have so many books?

Me: Why are you judging me? Your stupid book club is responsible for half of these.

Oprah: You sound very hostile. Let's talk about your childhood and see if we can find the roots of your aggression. Let's get real, girl.

Me: You want to know how this is rooted in my childhood? Isn't bookaholism hereditary? Because when my parents died I inherited 28 boxes of books. At least, those are the ones I kept. Remember that old "Just say no" commercial where the teenage kid says, "I learned it by watching you , Dad. I learned it by watching you"? Who do you think enabled me, O?

Oprah: That's O-PRAH.

Me: O-KAY!

The ridiculous thing is that I BUY these books. BUY them! As if I didn't spend every Saturday morning of my childhood at the Baton Rouge Public Library instead of on a soccer or tee ball field. Or like I don't live right around the corner, literally a one minute walk, from the library right now. But I think that's what happened when I started making more than a subsistence wage; I started buying books like mad. Some people splurge on designer jeans or eating out or travel. That's fine, but unless I'm wearing the jeans while reading a book, I'm not that interested.
Well, maybe sometimes. I like nice jeans, too.

Here's the latest evidence of my book addiction:

Last week when packing for our Bear Lake trip, I walked into the airport with a shopping bag full of almost twenty books. Some I left in the airport for other travelers, some were on a return trip to my sister, but eight were just for me. Two a day in case I read fast or didn't like one and wanted something different. We tucked books into my laptop case, my husband's case, our suitcase and the baby's diaper bag. We had books bulging from everywhere. My sweet, patient husband began thinking ahead to our ten day vacation in August and all my books and began to stress. By the time we landed in SLC, he politely asked if I thought I might like a Kindle so I could read my books electronically, at least while traveling.

It's just that I have a greater fear of being caught on a vacation without a book, especially an airplane, than I do of spiders, rats or dying, and so I make sure I always have books with me. In Europe last summer, I found the English bookstores in every city before we did anything else. Need to know where they are in Paris, Rome or Florence? I'm your girl.

Friday's another good example. I have NO SPACE for books, and yet as we wandered through Barnes and Noble on our date night, I smiled and held out a stack of six books to my husband to buy. They were buy two, get one free. What was I supposed to do?

They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. So....I admit I have a problem; I'm just not interested in a cure!

Is it just me?


Kimberly said...

I'm in the same boat. I used to be content to borrow, but give me a wee taste of disposable income and whooooosh! Hello!

The cure is floor to ceiling bookshelves by the way.

Melanie J said...

I like that cure way better than "quit buying so many books."

Lu Ann said...

I've been at the book acquisition stage for 14 years of marriage myself. There are book shelves in both family rooms, in the bedroom, and in two offices. There is an entire wall of books in one of my offices and boxes of books in another. The storage shed is filled with more. I've donated hundreds of books to my classroom library and even helped build a started library for a local young mother's school, yet the books in this house still over flow. I have a theory that they actually replenish and multiply on their own. Because I do book reviews for several publications, at least some of my books are free, but like, you I still buy too many! At least we all know, we are not alone! And with a strong sense of voice like I read from you in this blog message, I know that someday I'll be reading a book written by YOU! Good luck with finding the computer under the pile of books. You'll need it to write your own bestseller.

Jaime Theler said...

I am a total book addict, too! I can't wait until I can justify buying one of those Amazon Kindles because then my suitcase will weigh a whole lot less. I get all twitchy when I don't have something good to read, too.

Amanda said...

I'm a complete book addict, but lately it's been much easier to get them from the library. I admit to having 4 bookshelves full, though. It makes me miss the floor-to-ceiling shelves we had at our last house.

-Amanda (a book review blog)