There are 17 bookcases in my house. This feels like an admission of guilt, or something to be ashamed of, a problem of addiction. It is not a problem though; the real problem is finding the time to read all of the books I want to read. There isn’t a ten-step program to help you out of an addiction to books, and there shouldn’t be.
When we moved into our current house, we had fewer books, and still the movers complained about all of the boxes of books. (Who knew – books are heavy.) We probably have added 6 bookcases since then, and all of the shelves are mostly full. I also have many ebooks, probably more than I want to count. At least they are only as heavy as my iPad, as I often carry it with me when I travel or need to kill time reading, waiting for an appointment. When I was a kid, I often read a book a day. There was a time when life got too busy and I didn’t have time to read, but I am glad to be back on the reading train. I guess you could say my book addiction is longstanding. My husband is similarly addicted to books, although he prefers hardcover books (first printings if he can find them.)
As a child, I read books my mother (a former librarian) got for me from the library, or things recommended by my siblings or my friends. When I got a bit older, I discovered the many, many boxes of books in our basement that belonged mostly to my mother, a big fantasy and science fiction fan. I read anything and everything, and often read above my age level. I was voracious.
As a teenager, I worked at the public library, and often found the best books to read when I shelved the books after they were returned by borrowers, or when I was shelf-reading. For the uninitiated, shelf-reading is the sometimes-tedious process of ensuring the books are in their proper place on the shelf. You start at the beginning of the shelf, and “read” the shelf, moving left to right and ensuring if something is out of place it is put in the proper place. Definitely a task for a person obsessed with proper order, but also a great way to discover hidden treasures. For example, I spent one summer reading every one of the movie star biographies the library had because I started with one, picked up when I was shelf-reading. This means I am now very good at answering Jeopardy questions about movie stars of the ‘30s and ‘40s. It was an interesting way to discover books, and I read a lot of things I probably wouldn’t have discovered any other way. Maybe Goodreads should have a way to “shelf-read” their collection of book titles.
This blog is my attempt to share my love of books and reading with others. I hope that anyone who reads “A House Full of Books” discovers a new book to read and love.