I’ve talked about this before, my addiction. My problem, if you will, with benders.
It’s out of control. I keep lists of books, on random scraps of paper. When I’m stressed out at work, I surf book reviews (when I’m not surfing real estate). Then I add more books to my list. And when I have a few, I go to my public library web site and start requesting them. If the library doesn’t have them, I request them through interlibrary loan. If I can’t find them that way, I request that the library buy them. I will do anything to avoid having to buy a book myself — partly because I could never afford to pay for my habit and partly because the entire wall of shelves we had custom built into our basement is already overflowing with two rows of books on each shelf. So, where would I put them, anyway?
Well, as it so often happens, my library books come flooding in. Four, five, six at a time. I pick them up, dig in. Try to keep them in some kind of pile according to due date, which I treat as just a “suggestion” anyway. I figure even paying library fines is cheaper than buying all the books I read.
This time, it just went a little crazy. I had about six books out, and new ones coming in for me to pick up every day. I fell behind, then way behind, then so overwhelmingly behind in my reading that I felt actually panicked. Couple that with some work stress and the incredible inertia I feel when super stressed out, and I found myself with a big glass of wine and a blank stare, instead of a book, many evenings.
And avoiding the emails from the library, ever more aggressively demanding I return some books. Or pick up the ones waiting for me.
I let my holds expire. I returned the books I hadn’t started. I decided I didn’t care for the book I was reading (“When God was a Rabbit”) and returned it — half read. I rarely don’t finish a book.
But I was panicking.
I still need to go pay my fine.
But do you ever hit that point, that fever pitch, when you think, my GOD, where did all this shit come from? Ugh. My nightstand is literally overflowing with books. I have books I borrowed from friends at least 7 years ago on there. I have a basket of books on the floor, also overflowing. I have part of a basement shelf full of unread books. And this is what part of my desk at work looks like, stuffed full of books to be read:
I honestly don’t even know what half of these are about anymore.
So, that’s it. I am on a library diet. I am going to read the books I already own. And then sell or donate or something them. But get them out of the huge piles all over my house. I am drowning in clutter.
I started with “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” by Jennifer Egan.
Here is a book review from the New York Times.
Maybe I really will be able to tackle all of these. It’s going to be tough. Not because I won’t be able to read them, but because I will never in my life have the time to read all the books I want. And I know I will constantly see new ones reviewed, and think, my god, if I don’t reserve that now, I’ll forget … and the cycle will begin again.
How pathetic is this: I actually dreamt I went to the library the other night. In my dream, I pulled into the parking lot, which was weirdly my childhood library, not the one I use now, and circled around, telling myself it was wrong to go, and then I made myself leave. So lame.
Maybe I need smaller goals. Like to finish the books on m nightstand, then treat myself to some library books … or one book at home, then one library book.
I think I have hit Supreme Dorkhood when I have to ration my reading like this.
But you probably saw that coming.
Happy reading. And running.