Sunday, March 14, 2010

Why I Must Have Books

As a little girl I remember adoring the books in our home. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to understand the gothic love stories by Dorothy Eden (read them when I got old enough), but spent time flipping through old college text books of my mother's, or reading from a yellowed page fairy tale book. Both of my parents tend to hoard books, and it was a pleasure to study strange things like hypnosis, iridology, or pioneer stories in the cold basement of our home.
Babysitting money was saved for trips to the bookstore in the mall, and when that was not an option the Bookmobile came to the rescue of our little rural town on the hill.

I must have been about 14 when I checked out something different from my usual fare of teen romance. It was called Killing Mr. Griffin.

I couldn't put it down. I hurt for the teenagers responsible for a teacher's death....I hated the mean teacher (who was the spitting image of my cruel science teacher at the time)......I was disturbed and moved. It awakened a need for unusual stories in my life, a need I still enjoy satisfying.

Sometimes I read stories to relax and get away. Sometimes to glean a bit of spiritual or political knowledge, but mostly, I read to think and be surprised. I love books that make me cry, books that make fall in love again, and books that I am sure would offend any morally responsible woman.
The last book I read, The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is a celebration of the written word. It is a novel compiled of letters to and from a variety of characters. I fell in love with all of them, (even the mean snippety neighbor) and found the historical elements the icing on a cake of beautiful people living beautiful lives. It is a simple and understated novel that moved me. While reading I kept thinking back to stories I have read, times books have helped me transcend my lot, books that have changed behavior, and books that have made me a better person.

I am truly sorry when someone tells me "I don't really read much..." it is like a stab to my heart. Like a person who is not really alive.

I buy books. I trade books. I quote lines from books and copy sentences into my book about books. I give away books and judge covers of books. I drive my husband mad with all the books I am so sure we need.

I am not the brightest reader around, that I will admit freely. But I am fierce about the books I love, I dare say, that is just as good as being intelligent.

To see more of my reading obsession check out my Shelfari page. If you are on this site, please make me a friend so I can see what's keeping you up at night.

Swap your unwanted books at and keep every books in people's hands!


Kristina P. said...

Sadly, I am one of those people who don't read very much.

I stopped really reading for fun, in college, because I just didn't have time, working full time and keeping good grades, and I didn't pick up the love again.

I'm a very visual person, so TV and movies are what suck me in. I don't even listen to music unless I'm in my car.

Alison said...

I love to read, but as I get older have a harder time sitting down and reading; I seem to want to be doing something more than reading. I have a pile of books by my bed that I keep accumulating faster than reading. Fortunately my husband loves to read as well, so when we got married we have had to merge our libraries--now I have a whole new selection to peruse! They do, they make me think, they make me feel, and every once in a while one comes by that I can't put down and finish in days...and I pass it around and talk it up. But you've got to keep reading in order to find those rare treasures (kinda like finding a man). Happy reading!

Calvin said...

Kristen and I are both avid readers but let ourselves get too busy with the little things that all seem so important. She is on paperback swap and it has been wonderful. Her mother just gave her 30 books or so to post and swap just to be nice, which is really very nice. The funny part is that now Kristen's account looks like that of an avid reader of trashy romance novels... too funny.

Wendyburd1 said...

I am not reading lately, but for some personal reasons. BUT, I hope to be able to get back to my obsession someday, and YES I too was obsessed!

ALL my money went to Waldenbooks or the used bookstore when someone would drive me, then whenever I had money and drove myself.

I LOVED Lois Duncan and that is a good book! I always felt I was taken into a different world when I read (and man I DO read fast when I am into the book) and I miss that. I do hope I will be able to read once again someday soon. Heck there are a list of YA novels I actually want to read. I love a plethora of books.

Monica said...

I so remember Killing Mr. Griffen. I was an obsessive reader growing up, and still get edgy if I don't have a good book going on. I just ordered Guernsey... and am so excited to read it.

Erin said...

I LOVED Lois Duncan books. And a few by Lois Lowry. A good book is worth its weight in gold!

Lynnae said...

I blame (or commend) Mom and Dad for it... who needs furniture when a bedside stack of books will suffice? I love books and now I probably read more non fiction than fiction. Not Just because I love economics or history, but because a good fiction book will draw me in until the house is a mess and food is not being I practice self rationing. And the smell of a new book.....heaven!

Just SO said...

I've heard amazing things about the Gurnsey book. I just couldn't get into it. (Don't hate me)

The other book looks really interesting!

The Hillbilly Banjo Queen: said...

I too, love books. I so loved the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I really wanted it to be a true story. I wanted to meet those people. It was one of the best books I had read in a long time. Have you read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie?