I am a book slut. They haven’t created a 12 step program for people like me: perhaps because it’s not an addiction that readily responds to 12 steps.
Someone needs to write a book about this.
I don’t remember the time before I was able to read. I do remember, or perhaps have heard so often about it, the moment my Grandmother realized I could read.
I was just about 2, and up from a nap. My Gran was in the kitchen, baking. She always let me ‘help’, by handing her the baking powder, or opening the can of flour, licking the spoon; all the usual stuff. But this day, I was sitting in the center of the kitchen floor, flipping the pages of the ledger book that she kept her special recipes in. And I started to hand her ingredients before she asked me to.
At first, she passed this off as the twenty-billionth time she had made these cookies with me helping, since they were my favourites (soft molasses) and didn’t think much of it. But when she reached for the oats and shortening to start on the oatcakes, and I flipped the pages of the ledger to reach the oatcakes recipe she stopped and stared at me.
She reached again into the cabinet for the jelly dots, and I turned to the page for the dots bars. She then went to her stash of recipe cards, and removed the one for shredded wheat bread (trust me – this is the best bread ever!) and handed it to me. Then asked me what she needed to get out of the pantry. I listed the ingredients, saying “tubsspee” for tbsp. She kissed me on my head and ran for the phone to call my parents (who were somewhere else) to tell them.
That afternoon, we went to my Uncle Gordon’s store, where I was fawned over, got a few comic books, a handful of children’s books and an orange pop. I haven’t stopped reading since.
This is my “overflow” shelf; it’s tucked under a desk in the living room. These are often read, referred to, or otherwise ‘escape’ books. The ones I use when I’m craving a familiar friend or story but don’t want to be challenged but retreat into that comforting cocoon.
So, I take recommendations from others, and give them. I review books I have read on my kindle, I participate in Goodreads. I’ve watched the debate about eBooks ruining publishing, and the fact that the Twilight series has done little but add bad writing into the world. I rather hold with Maya Angelou when she said “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him”.
I celebrated when the Harry Potter series was encouraging my daughter’s friends to read. The Goosebumps series, I gave as gifts. I read every book she was reading, or wanted to read: we discussed them often. Like me, she would take refuge in a book during long car rides or flights, the only things that came home during summer break from boarding school besides a laptop and dirty clothes were books. She took over 300 titles, from dictionaries and thesaurus to fiction, biographies and reference works to university. That barely touched the worst of her collection.
I am out of shelf space. I have books stashed everywhere. I’m trying to not buy hard copies, and thinking about taking some of my friends to the used book shop. It tears at me each time. As I have admitted, I am a book slut, and willing to live with my addiction. Wilde said “there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written”. But, an addiction needs to be fed, cravings MUST be satisfied. So share
What are you reading now? Next?
What is your favourite genre?
Any ideas for a good summer read?
I’ll post my recommendations and suggestions tomorrow.