Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Confessions of a bookaholic

Yes, I've decided to start the new year with a confession. My hope is that others who may suffer from the same affliction will find strength in knowing they are not alone.

Hello, my name is Lorraine and I'm a bookaholic.

The problem began as a child. We didn't have money to buy books so my mum took us to the library every week. I believe the trauma of having to constantly return stories that I loved has been a contributing factor to my problem.

As I grew older I started to buy second hand books with my pocket money and started a small collection. Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox was one of my first and then Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes a few years later. Perusing the shelves of charity shops for bargains became a habit for me, in fact it grew harder and harder to pass by and not at least check what they had...

When I started work I began buying some new books and my collection grew. Adding books to the shelves and knowing I could read my favourite stories whenever I wanted filled me with pleasure. I started to lose whole saturdays in bookshops, holding them, touching them, smelling them...

The problem got worse when I moved in with my husband and had a whole house to fill. My new bookshelves grew fat and full as more and more books were read and added. Soon the shelves were full so I bought more but then they were filled and books began to pile up next to the shelves, on windowsills, by the bed...

Books were taking over the house. Some of them were my very favourites and read repeatedly but others had never and would never be returned to but that didn't seem to matter. I wanted more, I craved more, I needed more. Where could I put them? Could I put more shelves up? Could I get rid of other things? The dining table perhaps? The sofa? Or what about those toys my son has, surely he can't need all of them??!

Finally realising I had a problem as piles of books began to appear all over the house at the same time as large sums of money were disappearing from my account I saw only one solution.

Now I go to the library every week, I can spend hours browsing, holidng, touching even sniffing (surreptitiously of course) the books and leave with a big pile that costs me nothing. I can even order specific titles online and go and pick them up when they're ready. And occasionally as a treat I can buy myself a book that I really will read over and over.

I still love books. I will always love books and I will never understand how people can prefer to touch a plastic gadget instead of the soft and supple pages of a real life book but I believe I have managed to overcome the worst and most dangerous side of this addiction.

I must admit though that top of my list if I ever win the lottery is my very own private library with enough shelf space to last for years, a comfy windowseat where I can read and a big desk where I can write...

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