I love to read. I’m not just an avid reader, a definition that doesn’t quite describe my infatuation, I’m a shameless biblioholic with a severe addiction to reading. And I don’t read now and then, I read all the time. Day in and day out. I consume books the way I consume oxygen, inhaling as many as I can whenever I can. I have had this voracious appetite for books since I was a very young child, way before I’d even learned my ABCs. As a little girl, I’d stand on my toes and glance up at the Little Golden Books lined up on shelves in stores that I visited with my parents. Sometimes I’d take down a story, flip through the pages and spin my own yarn from the pictures on each page.
As I got older and more independent (aging does have its privileges), I invaded the bookstores, stocking up on a great number of books. I read them all, title after title, author after author, cover to cover, feeding myself with every kind of story I could get my hands on. I joined book clubs and ordered in multiple numbers. Bookshelves went up and the number of books kept growing. I accumulated so much literature, at such a fast pace, that I not only had books to read but books that were waiting to be read. There wasn’t a moment where there wasn’t a novel available to replace the one I was currently getting through.
The years have continued to go by and my love for reading is just as intense. I have built a library of books in different categories - fiction, non-fiction, reference, educational, memoirs, food and drink, computers, home and garden, and so on. I read and read and read. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a novel, a magazine article or a news clipping. I read all the time. I like the sound of the pages as I flip through them. I love the smell of a new book. Sometimes I fall asleep while reading and my husband has to pull the book out from under me so I don’t wake up with book indentations on my forehead. I’ve been falling asleep with a book in hand since I was a teenager. I’m surprised I don’t have book-related craters below my hairline.
Chapters bookstore was open (this is a bookstore that honors my membership card). Of course, I had to step in and look around (can a compulsive reader ever bypass a bookstore?). I only bought one book (I can have remarkable self-control sometimes). It was on sale. This is a perfect example of why it’s important to carry your bookstore membership card everywhere you go.
A couple of months after that, the family and I took a trip to Maine for a few days. One rainy morning we decided to take a drive into the city of Portland and, lo and behold, we ran across a bookstore. Is that fate or what? And not just any bookstore; it was the ‘mother’ of all bookstores. It was one of the best bookstores I’d ever visited, and I have visited many over the years. My older daughter who loves to read as much as I do (a real chip off the old biblioholic block) was as excited as I was about this blessed discovery. Of course, there is never any need for words when my daughter and I encounter a bookstore; there is only an unspoken understanding – we’re going in!
The two of us dumped my husband and younger daughter outside the bookstore (or was it the other way around?) and we walked into this ‘mother’ of all bookstores together; a united bookloving front. But that’s usually as far as we venture side by side – just through the front door. As soon as we get past the entrance, we bid farewell and make a beeline to our own preferred topics of interest and favourite authors. Sometimes we cross paths and nod knowingly from a distance; book lovers don’t make small talk, they acknowledge a familiar face but have absolutely no intention on speaking to them (nor do they want to be spoken to). It is forbidden to disturb a biblioholic in a bookstore while they are scouting the area. Always. That’s proper ‘biblioholic-at-a-bookstore’ etiquette.
So we inspected the store, fell in love with the selection and picked up about half a dozen books. And yes, I did question the polite young man at the cash – lightheartedly – if this U.S bookstore would honor my Canadian bookstore membership card. I smiled. He smiled. I chuckled. He didn’t The answer was no. Well, at least I tried. But even so, I marveled at the difference in price between the bill I paid in the U.S as opposed to what I would have paid back home. After doing the math, even with the U.S exchange it cost me less to buy my paperbacks further south than what I would pay in my own back yard – considerably less (an incredible 25% less!). The sales taxes there are a modest 5% while taxes back home were a whopping 15% - on everything!
So all this to say that I am an obsessive reader. And now that I’ve come clean about my biblioholism, I’d like to recommend some of my favourite books. Just in case some of you suffer from the same addiction. And if you do, you’ve probably read most of the books listed below. Still. They’re worth mentioning.
Blood Done Sign My Name
Timothy B. Tyson
I Know This Much Is True
Memnoch the Devil
Memory Keepers Daughter
The Glass Castle
The Kite Runner
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Tuesdays with Morrie
Thousand Splendid Suns
So, are any of you biblioholics?