Friday, January 6, 2012

Bibliomania.

I'll admit it: I have a problem.

On the surface, an obsession with reading doesn't seem particularly perilous. Friends and acquaintances tend to view my relationship with books as benignly amusing or odd. Bibliophilia is not in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. A book addiction does not have the dark allure or potentially tragic outcomes of, say, heroin. To my knowledge, no one has died from literary withdrawal.

I think my parents were the first to realize the potential danger of my biblio-fixation. I was grounded for reading while riding my bike during a Boxcar Children binge in elementary school. It is safe to say I did not learn my lesson. As politicians and Oprah harangue against texting while driving, no one seems to notice as I pull out my book at stoplights.

My apartment is an unabashed shrine dedicated to my love of books. Bookshelves line the walls of each of the rooms. The dining room has been re-purposed as a study; a large, wooden desk proudly placed where the dining room table would otherwise sit. My walls feature posters of Dorothy Parker and "Where the Wild Things Are" and a sign that simply says "READ". Even my shower curtain and bath towels display typewriter font letters.

I love my quiet, relatively bookish lifestyle. Coming home to a cozy place overflowing with print evokes a feeling of calm and the thrilling surge that there is so much more to learn, to experience, to read. After the holidays or following a particularly difficult semester, it is not uncommon for me to feel replenished after reorganizing my books into a seemingly whimsical (but to me perfectly logical) categorization. And it was just such an occasion that prompted me to realize the nature of my problem. A few days ago, while embarking on the nearly spiritual task of shelving my literary holiday gifts, I felt the sudden impulse to place every book I currently own but had not yet read on my living room couch. The result was astonishing. As I looked at my haphazard heap of unfulfilled goals and lofty plans, many things ran through my mind. The first was the familiar buzzing excitement of books yet to be experienced. Then came the vaguely guilty reminder that I had an additional fifteen books loaded on the tablet that I've had for less than a week. Finally, my recent frustration with my inability to complete any creative endeavor on which I embark.

The result of these musings is this: I aim to dedicate the next year to reading as many books as I possibly can, chronicling here my experience and thoughts of the books. It is my hope that I stick to the books currently acquired and resting in their newly designated bookshelves (unread fiction and unread nonfiction, not alphabetically placed). However, while running errands this morning, I heard on NPR that Paul Feig has written two memoirs and I'm feeling the irresistible pull to purchase them. The addict's burning sense that only by acquiring "the goods" will equilibrium be restored.

I cannot promise allegiance to a particular genre or even quality of book. I am enthralled by most anything and I am bound by no desire to torture myself with great tomes designated as classically or culturally important. Rather, I delight in junk food as well as literature that helps broaden and shape my idea of what is possible. I love recommendations. I cannot seem to stop reading and will resort to the ingredients on a soap bottle if I find myself in the bathroom sans book. Basically, I have no shame.

I hope to find kindred spirits: literary adventurers and hopeless acquirers of books and magazines. I'd love to share ideas and experiences and books. I'm excited to embark on this quest and see where it takes me.

Happy reading!

8 comments:

The Drifting Bookworm said...

We most certainly do seem To share the same problem! I'm afraid if I were to take the books I have yet to read off my bookshelf that they would fill my entire loft. I have felt the effects of bibliomania, however, in the form of a negative bank account. Most people believe I'm a compulsive shopper until they realize that I don't shop. I just buy books.

I read in the car at stoplights too and no one bats an eye.

I look forward to seeing your blog grow and your documentations with your experience! Do you have a Goodreads account?

Bibliomania said...

I am exactly the same way! I have never been an enthusiastic shopper for anything other than books.

I actually just started a new Goodreads account! I had one for a long while and then deleted it in a moment of social network un-plugging. Happily, I am back under Erin Seals.

Nina D'Angelo said...

I'm exactly the same with books and I've run out of room. I thought I'd solve the problem by buying a kindle. It just increased my bookload.

I'm the same as you. I read while cooking, while waiting places and even at the gym.

Can't wait to see your blog grow.

Books may be an addiction but they're the good kind of addiction

travelmuse said...

Glad to meet another book lover. I'm so passionate about reading and writing. When you find time please go through my blog of books. If you're interested to read my novel please let me know. I'll give you a free coupon.
lakshmi
http://indusww.wordpress.com

Jonathan Wilhoit said...

I have the exact same problem. My "to read" shelf is sitting at just shy of 100 books right now. I carry books with me wherever I go so that I'm prepared just in case I have a minute with nothing else to do. I get excited for long business trips because of the five or so uninterrupted hours of reading on the plane. So yeah, you could say I'm a kindred spirit.

I'll be following your blog from now on. I look forward to seeing what you read next, and I wish you all the best in your goal for this year. But let's be honest. For folks like us, there'll never be an end to the "to read" pile. We just can't help it.

Jonathan @ <a href="http://readabookonce.blogspot.com>I Read a Book Once...</a>

Isabella said...

I love your blog. I am now following you. I too have always love to read. I buy books on impulse and then forget about them. Here is my book blog
http://eternallovebooks.blogspot.com/
If ytou've read any books I reviewd, please leave a comment..I love discissing books.
Isabella

Posh Yla said...

I think you are so cool :)Reading takes a big chunk of my time right now... I have no shame about it too ;)

Silvy said...

Yes,hun,I have the same problem too.But the real problem is that I don't feel like I have a problem(OMG).I'm a mother and wife and probably must be more responsible,but I'm not when it comes about books.But here we are to share some thoughts and consolations!