Friday, October 16, 2009

Confessions of a Book-a-holic

I once read an author bio wherein the author said she grew up in a house "stuffed with books." That's a perfect description of my life. I grew up (am still, in some ways, growing up) in a life stuffed with books. I like it that way.

At the age of two (maybe younger) I would crawl up on my Pop Pop's lap and beg him read the same book to me over and over again. I don't remember him ever complaining about it, even after a long day at work. My grandmother bought me more books than I could count. Up until about second grade, I cherished the time right before bed, when my mother and I would snuggle on my bed while she read aloud to me a chapter book that was still a little too hard for me to read on my own. Heidi was one of my favorites.

Books were treasures to me for as long as I can remember, so I don't understand people who don't like to read. My older brother, for example, always hated to read. My grandmother tried everything she could to get him interested, up to and including bribery. She offered to pay him $5.00 for each book he read one summer. He flat out refused. When I quickly volunteered for the same deal, she told me I'd bankrupt her.

It was probably true. I read nearly everything I could get my hands on, from my mom's old Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew hardbacks to Sweet Valley Twins, Babysitter's Club, and the Mandie mysteries (and there was some more quality literature in there too.) I kept books in my desk at school to read whenever I became disinterested in what I was supposed to be learning at the time (which was often.) I kept books under my pillow to read by the stripe of light from the hallway that fell across my bed long after I was supposed to have been sleeping. Being sent to my room with orders to tidy what was invariably a complete disaster zone and not to come out until it was clean? Yeah, that happened only until I cleared a path to my bookshelf. Then I'd contentedly lay on my bed reading until my poor mother just gave up. Once I discovered, in third grade, that I could write my own stories, I split my undercover time between reading and writing.

I never outgrew it.

I still leave books laying around practically every room of my house. I have Chekov's The Cherry Orchard in my bathroom, Pride and Prejudice on my dresser, shelves full of books in my office/living room/storage room, and a whole stack crammed inside, beside, and underneath my nightstand. I have books in my gym bag, in my skating bag, and in my car (Don't go getting visions of me reading while driving; you just never know when traffic will grind to a complete standstill for an hour or more, and I'm a firm believer in "Be prepared.") My classroom library is busting at the seams. Before my shoulder got messed up, I usually carried a book around in my purse. I'm not to be trusted in a Borders or Barnes and Noble on payday, and let's not even talk about my amazon wishlists (yes, listS.)

So yeah, I own a LOT of books. With that many sitting around, who can read just one at a time? Right now, for instance, I'm reading Shannon Hale's Forest Born (again,) The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch, 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, a book on backward (curriculum) design, a book by John Piper, and a whole slew of others.

Although I do read works on philosophy, history, science, math, theology, education, and the writing craft, fiction is (and I suspect will always be) my first love. There's just something about a story that's magical in and of itself--the way it draws you in and allows you to leave the real world behind.

And in this world, who doesn't want to do that from time to time?


  1. HI! This post sounds like my life (minus the cute grandparents). Re: books in car–VERY WISE. I don't read while I drive, but I used to actually read while walking home from school. When I would get into trouble (for not cleaning my room), my dad would ground me from reading. Because that was the worst thing he could do.

    I found your blog through the Blueboards. Hi!

  2. Hi! I just saw this, or I would have responded earlier. Yeah, I got grounded from reading too!