Saturday, February 21st, 2004 • No Comments on My Name is Kristina and I Am a Bookaholic
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It started out innocently enough. I picked up a book at the bookstore even though I was currently reading a book and then I picked up another and another… until the books I’d bought were stacked to the ceiling waiting to be read, while I continued to buy more books. It is an addiction, a book addiction.
There was a time when I would re-read books because I’d read everything I owned. There was a time when I haunted the library, checking out books several times a week. Then about ten years ago, I started reviewing books for The Literary Times. I took on reviewing duties for a couple other magazines over the years, as well. Books came pouring in, from the magazines, from editors, from authors. I was reading three to five books a week, just trying to keep up. Instead of subsisting on a diet of review books only, I kept buying new books and squeezing them in where I could. Only, I rarely could. So the books accumulated as the review books took precedence until I found myself moving sixty-four boxes (yes, you read that right,
) of books from South Carolina to Rhode Island and then, six months later, from Rhode Island to Virginia. Of those untold number of books, I have read maybe half. HALF. Insanity, I tell you.
I frequently vow not to buy any more books until I’ve at least read a few dozen of the ones I already own. It doesn’t work for long. Soon, I’m at it again, buying a book that I absolutely must read. Or two, even. I check out books from the library, renew them twice, keep them until I’m getting overdue notices and then return them, unread. Why, why, why do I do this?
I love books. I love reading them, I love writing them. There are more books I want to read in the world right now than I could read in a lifetime, nevermind the new ones being published every day. Worse, there are more novel ideas in my head then I will be able to write in this lifetime. It makes me sad; so many good stories waiting for me, if only I could find the time to read them. So many good stories in my imagination, if only I had the time to write them.
My addiction has taken an ominous turn, I’m afraid. I’ve cut back on my book-buying for myself, though I still check books out from the library at an alarming rate. Now I’ve put the burden of my addiction on those closest to me by purchasing books for other people. Granted, I’ve always bought books as gifts. This is different. Where I used to buy a book for someone for a specific occasion, I’m now buying books with no occasion in mind.
I have three or four books sitting around right now that are for upcoming birthdays. I have another three or four books earmarked for specific people and
their birthdays are months away
. It’s crazy. I see a book I think someone would like and I don’t consider the fact that their birthday was a month ago and Christmas is ten months away. Who needs a special occasion to give a book, I ask myself. I will give the gift of reading year ‘round. I will be the Johnny Appleseed of books, spreading goodwill through literature.
I bought a book for a friend today. Her birthday is coming up and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about that purchase. I bought another book for myself… and I know that if I don’t read it in the next month, it will be relegated to the dusty piles climbing the walls. Next time, I’ll be better. Next time I won’t buy any books. Okay, next time I won’t buy any books for myself. Okay, next time I’ll only buy a book for myself if I absolutely, positively must have it and intend to read it within the week.
Help me, someone.
Oh, wait… I bet there’s a book out there about book addiction…