Confessions of a Children's Author

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Addicted to Books

I had the best of intentions this morning, really I did. I was going to return a couple of books to the library (one of which was the fantatic Storky by Debra Garfinkle), and pick up a few that I'd placed on hold. I walked there, considering it was a nice day for walking, and I wasn't going to be bringing that many books back with me. Yep, only a couple. That I already had on hold. Let's just say that letting me browse in a library is like letting a fashionista loose in Bloomingdales and telling them, "sure, take whatever you want--just get it back to us in three weeks." And I didn't even venture into the Adult Fiction department this time. So, just when my library pile had gotten down to five books, and I thought that as soon as I finish those I'll finally get to the ones I've actually bought over the past several months that are sitting on my bookshelf (not as much pressure to read those right away, since Bloomies...I mean, the library, doesn't need them back). On my nighttable alone are Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (I'd promised myself when it came out that I'd read it right away so I wouldn't hear any spoilers--by now, too late!), Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time, Rebel Angels, Flowers for Algernon (read this in 8th grade and loved it, bought it recently to re-read), The Secret Life of Lobsters (who can resist a non-fiction book about "the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean"??), and The Shadow of the Wind (a "grown-up" book that someone recommended). Every time I reach for a tissue or my water glass or to turn my alarm off, I'm afraid that book tower will come tumbling down, but I keep telling myself not to put them away because I'll get to them soon (which, as we all know, is a relative term).

So, what did I succumb to today? Bucking the Sarge and The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963, both by Christopher Paul Curtis (I thought his Bud, Not Buddy was brilliant), Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (my goal is to read every Newberry winner and honor book), and Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson (loooooooooooved Speak). So, my library pile is back up to twelve. Harry Potter must wait yet again...

I've realized, though, that with access to the library (and the fact that I can have any book in their system transferred to my local branch--though sometimes I'm far down on the hold list...for Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, I'm currently 523 in the queue--which is actually an improvement from my initial place in line, which was 734), that I'm reading a lot more than I would without. For one thing, neither my wallet nor my already-bursting bookcases would be able to withstand the steady onslaught of books if I bought all the books I've read lately instead of checking them out from the library. For another, as evidenced by how poor Harry and Stanford and the lobsters get pushed down my priority list, if I didn't have a deadline to read some of these books, I fear that I just wouldn't make the time to read as often as I do. As it is, I try to set aside some time each night to read in bed before I go to sleep (DH has started to do this more often, too, re-reading the Narnia books for the first time in many years--a Christmas gift from his thoughtful wife, of course...).

I guess I don't know too many people besides me who could be perfectly happy in a book or music store for several hours...without even buying anything. I guess I'm not the only book addict out there, though--I just read about an author named Markus Zusak who, as of 2005, was attempting to read 52 books in 52 weeks...and then write a book about it. I can't even imagine attempting that. I wonder if he did it...


  • At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Speedy said…

    You really are doing what you love to do... writing and reading! Lucky duck!


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