Today is the day,
I confess an obsession
My books are my love.
If there is one thing I cannot survive without it is books. Well that and chocolate. But even chocolate comes secondary to my books.
I don't know when the obsession started but as far back as I remember I have been reading. By the time I got to primary school I was reading Baby Sitters Little Sister books by myself. Before that I was reading Golden Books and any other books that caught my interest of the multitude we had at home. Yet despite this I have no memory of my parents reading books to me. So I am not sure if it was a case of when I was very young they did read to me and I don't remember it or if I just had a irrepressible curiosity about what was in the books at home and so taught myself to read. If that is the case then curiosity sure as hell didn't kill this cat! In fact this cat thrived on the thrills of the story.
I often got in trouble at school for reading in class. Maths and Science classes in particular. It was not uncommon for me to have a book on my lap under the desk and for me to be reading it. I had one English teacher who despite the fact that I only ever wrote on about 3 pages of my english book and rarely if ever paid attention was quite happy for me to essentially read my way through the classes. She even encouraged me to keep a list of the books I read which, though incomplete, and definitely not including all the books I had read as I may have forgotten some names, covered over 300 books.
The school librarians knew me by name. They would ask me for book recommendations if they were wanting to read something or would pay attention if I told them about a new book that I had read. I often was the first person to read some of the new books the library got because they wanted to know what I thought. I also got asked to recommend books for other students to read sometimes if a student was looking for something to read.
My friends congratulate me when I walk past a bookstore without going into it. The congratulations are even bigger when I do walk in but come out with nothing. Thats not to say they don't love books... they just aren't as obsessed like me. That's not to say I have no self control. I do really. I have been eyeing off a copy of Jane Eyre in Borders bookstore for the past year and a half trying to justify buying it when I already have 3 other copies. It's just so pretty though nice and clothbound hardcover.
I spent a year in Europe a few years ago now. The first thing I did was suss out and join the local library. I then located the bookstores in the nearby city. Followed soon after by the library in the city. I took advantage of the libraries as often as possible. I knew that if I went crazy buying books I would have no way to get them home really. I considered it restrained that I only bought about 25-30 books that year...
When I got back to Australia after that year I got a job and just happened to be working up the road from a discount book store. That was perilous too. I spent many a lunch hour in there browsing the books. I dread to think how many books I actually bought during lunch hours there. And even now that bookstore is still perilous for me. I recently impulse bought about 15 books there in a single weekend.
And my parents have (almost) always supported this obsession. Most birthdays and christmas' have included at least one book... often more. My dad will call me if he sees a book he thinks I will be interested in and asks me if I want it.
My parents rarely begrudged me a book if I really, really wanted it. Nor any of my siblings. They encouraged us to read as much as they encouraged the use of the local and school libraries. Hence we often struggled to find somewhere to put the books at home. It wasn't long before I was resorting to boxes for my books. And even then I didn't have enough of those. Stacks of books built up on available surfaces including the floor.
When I moved out of home a few years ago I had probably more books than clothes. And I only took the books that weren't on the bookshelves or that I absolutely wouldn't leave behind. I now have 2 bookshelves in my room and not enough room for all my books.
As it is the obsession thrives. It's an addiction I am not ashamed of. It's an educational addiction. It's an entertaining addiction. It is a lasting addiction.