A while ago, I read an article by Liz Curtis Higgs in which she proclaimed herself to be a bookaholic. I can relate; I share more than just a few of these tendencies. I imagined a twelve-step program for those of us who are similarly afflicted, quiet meeting room where a group is gathered and they are sharing their stories. My imagination ran to what I would say in that group: “Hi. I’m Becky and I’m a bookaholic. It started on the first day of first grade. I was in Mrs. Willoughby’s class and I came home crying that she didn’t teach me how to read. I was sure that would happen on the first day of school. I remember being the first child to read a WHOLE book in front of the class. It started young and has carried on till now. I have three or more books on my night stand that I read every morning for my quiet time and then I have stacks beside my bed, I have floor to ceiling bookshelves that are over-full. I have a stack of books beside my chair in the family room, and more bookshelves in the den. I worked in a second hand book store and brought home more books almost daily. I am not ashamed to read, re-read, and keep books that I truly enjoy. I know all the best places on the internet to find used books, and I have been known to order $50 worth at a time. I always have a book with me whenever I am in a situation that I have to wait for something. I get the shakes when I finish a book and don’t have a back-up to start right away. I am truly, seriously addicted.”
Those are just a few of the symptoms of bookaholism. Others are:
■You buy a book and find out when you get home you already have it
■You love the smell of musty pages
■You read ten chapters before you realize you have already read it
■You carry frequent reader cards for two or more bookstore chains
■You cannot visit a bookstore without buying something
■When you talk to people, you talk in quotes from your favorite books
■Your friends won’t lend you books because they won’t get them back
■You won’t lend your books because you are afraid you won’t get them back
■Your TBR* stack is more than 10 books
■You haunt library sales
■You get a job in a bookstore because you frequent it so often you know it better than the owner. (Um, yes, this is how I got my job)
■Your vacations have to include a trip to the bookstore and you ship your purchases home because you don’t have space in your luggage for them.
■You have pairs of reading glasses all over the house (and for a while I had a couple of pairs that I left at Mama's house)
■You have sunglasses that are readers, so you can read in the car in daylight; and reading lights in your car, so you can read after dark and not disturb the driver.
I like to read fluff with happy endings for my recreational reading. I don’t “do” scary books—my nightmare threshold is way too low. I am probably the only person on earth who hasn’t read a Left Behind or Frank Peretti book. I don’t read mysteries, but I will watch detective shows on TV.
I have in my readings, however, learned many things. In reading one of these more fluffy books, I stumbled across a deep truth that was confirmed in my devotional reading. In the fluffy book, a character was struggling with being able to come before God before she “cleaned up her life.” The romantic interest was explaining Romans 5:8 to her. This caught my eye because this is the one Bible verse my daddy taught me. I knew what it said, but I didn’t really “get” it until I saw it explained in this “fluffy” book. The verse is: But God commended His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The explanation was that we have to come to God as we are, because we can’t do the clean-up by ourselves. Then I found this in 2 Corinthians 5:21 in my devotional: For our sake He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Again, we can’t do the cleaning-up that needs to be done, because it’s already been done, accomplished, finished….
Because of that alone, I think I will keep my addiction and try to spread it around. This is one affliction for which I don’t mind being a carrier.
My name is Becky Guinn, and I am a bookaholic.
*TBR=To Be Read