Friday, September 16, 2011

Confessions of a Bibliophiliac

I keep blinking and squinting and slowly things start to come out of the fog.

Where am I? Who am I ?

It slowly dawns on me that my husband is standing in front of me, waiting from me to say something.

“Ehhhhh-uhhhh,” I groan screwing up my face.  Since when do I speak Zombie?

 I think there’s some dry drool in the corners of my mouth. 

“Book,” I grunt, waving the flopping appendage at the end of my arm.

“The one about the hangman?” my husband asks.

 “No, I finished that yesterday,” I say, feeling a little tetchy.  “This is another one.”

 “Another one?”  There’s a bit of shock in his voice.

 “It’s on loan,” I say, averting my eyes.  “I have to finish it before she gets back,” I mumble.  “It’s almost done.”

 I hold the book up, my thumb marking my place well past the half-way point.

 “Uh-huh,” he says and walks out of the room shaking his head.

 He’s not even in the hall before I hunker back down on the couch and fade back into the world of a five-year old boy trapped in a room.

 I know what my husband’s thinking.  I’m on another bender. But I can stop.  I’ve done it before.   I just need to finish this one …

 I’ve always been an avid reader.  It’s so easy for me to disappear into the written world.  I love living alternate lives in other places and the more lives lived, the better.  It doesn’t even have to be a particularly well-written story, although a great read is appreciated and savored.  But, I’m beginning to get concerned, perhaps because I’ve been watching Dr. Drew and “Celebrity Rehab.”  I’ve checked the symptoms online (thanks, and I think I’m a book addict.

1.      Extreme mood changes – happy, sad, excited, anxious, etc. -  Yes.   Of course, it depends on the book, but I’m definitely anxious when I’m away from the book.

2.      Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or at different times of day or night – Yes.  Must. Finish. Book.

3.      Changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic – Yes.  See #2.

4.      Weight loss or weight gain  - Yes.  Clean finger foods are o.k. (Pages with Cheeto fingerprints are nasty).  However, stop reading to cook?  Forget it.

5.      Unexpected and persistent coughs or sniffles – Yes.  I’m a sympathetic reader.  Sometimes there’s a little something that gets in my eyes.

6.      Seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times – Yes.  A few extra hours in bed to read a few more chapters, slipping out into the yard to read on the chaise...

7.      Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual – Yes.  Mom always said I’d ruin my eyes, but who has time to turn on the lights?

8.      Secretiveness – Yes.  My bladder isn’t really that small.

9.      LyingYes.  “Just wait until I finish this chapter…”

10.  Stealing – Yes.  Book “loaners” and “borrowers” – we know once a book leaves our hands, it’s never coming back.

11.  Financially unpredictable, perhaps having large amounts of cash at times but no money at all at other times – Yes.  Curse you, Amazon, and your one click purchases! 

12.  Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, odd cell-phone conversations – Yes.  Not everyone appreciates the world of wizardry or time travelling to visit hot 18th Century Highlanders.

13.  Repeated unexplained outings, often with a sense of urgency – Yes.  Sure, I’m the one who planned the cocktail party, but I just wanted to get to finish this chapter.

14. Book paraphernalia  Yes.  But most of the time it’s hastily homemade  – a post card advertisement made into a bookmark, a small flashlight on the nightstand

15. “Stashes” of books -   Yes, on tabletops, in purses, next to the toilet. You never know when the urge might arise and there’s nothing worse than not having a “fix.”

Just to be clear, I’m not an indiscriminate addict.  Sure, I’ve dabbled with a little chick-lit and some detective dramas.  Come on.  Who hasn’t?   And, yeah, there was that Harlequin Romance summer, back in ’82, but, hey, that was high school.

O.k.  Who am I kidding?  I’m hardcore.  I’ll read just about anything once.  But the stuff I really go for, the really good stuff, is epic.  Ideally, historically epic.  We’re talking over a thousand pages.  Oh yeah, man.  I read that stuff, and I’m out for a couple days.  And then the literary hangover, that time that I’m just kind of staggering around in a daze trying to get back into “reality,” that can last another day or so.  And I’m starting to do my own stuff now.  Yeah. “Homegrown” historical novel.  Not as good as the stuff on the street, but I’m working on it.

And, hey, I just found out - this friend of mine?  The one that loaned me the book about the five year old?  She’s got the hook up on the new Ken Follet book that she says is awesome.  AND it’s part of a trilogy.  She says she’ll let me read it as soon as she’s finished.  I can’t wait.

But, I can stop any time I want.  I just don’t want to. 



  1. This is great. Let's see, how many of us recognize ourselves - raise your hands!

    I recently decided it's time for me to start a 12-step program for people who buy too many books. The only problem is I don't really want to stop either.


  2. Hello, my name is Shannon and I am a bookaholic. As Deanne said above - I don't want to stop. Besides, who am I hurting besides friendships, family and my bank account...I try to tell myself I am setting a good example for the children .


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