It started when I was young– in elementary school, actually. Each month, the teacher would hand out flyers listing age-appropriate paperback books for sale. Cheap. My mom would order and pay for them. I could not wait to get them, crack open their covers and inhale the scent of ink and new paper. It was intoxicating.
My dad used to take me to the library a couple of nights a week to get a haul of books. Sometimes it would be the same books over and over. That always baffled him. See, junkies sometimes do bewildering things.
Then, when I hit junior high and started getting an allowance, a bookstore conveniently opened down the street. I would walk there on Saturdays during the school year and pretty much every day during summer vacation and I would blow the whole wad on science fiction and fantasy books.
Home-life at that time was a bit chaotic so I found quiet, isolated places to hide out undisturbed and read for hours on end. Sometimes it was in the bathtub where I would stay until family members pounded on the door and told me to get out because they had to pee. Another place was behind the garage, in the tight weed-choked space between the structure’s back wall and the garden fence. Hmmm, indulging in private, out of sight — yet another sign of an addict.
As a young adult with her first job and steady income, I bought and bought books until I ran out of room to store them. My dad built bookcases and cabinets in my room. Yet, even with more space, I still double and tripled-decked books on the shelves.
One day, I moved out of my parents’ house into my own apartment. I didn’t move my books. Why should I? It was free storage. I simply continued building my library in my new place. Soon I had bookcases and shelves in every room of my apartment. There was even a stack in the bathroom.
I was yet to see that I had a problem — so often the case with an addict.
One day, my landlady said that she wanted to paint my apartment and could I move all the books right away. I had to enlist help to move them out and then move them back. It was then that I knew I that I might have problem. But, hey, I could handle it. I just started donating my books to my local library. See? I’m not an addict. I can quit any time I wanted.
But then came Kindle.
Right now I have 498 e-books on my device.
Yes, I now admit that I have a book addiction and that it has become an unmanageable situation.
Admitting one has a problem is the first step in recovery.