Confessions of an addict, part 2

Posted: April 19, 2016 in Musings, Personal
Tags: , , , ,

My name is Janet and I’m an addict.

Yesterday I owned up to one addiction.  Now I admit I have another, of earlier origin.

My parents introduced me to my drug of choice before I could even use it myself and fed it to me daily. My mom read aloud to me and my brother every day.  I “read” to myself or my brother once I knew the stories, turning the pages when I knew I’d reached the time to do so, reciting the stories by memory.

Eventually, I began to self-medicate, checking out books from the library.  I knew where on the shelves all my favorite books and series were, mostly about horses.  I was allowed to buy Scholastic paperback books from the order forms at school and couldn’t imagine a home without books and, at that time, newspapers.  When my mom taught at a predominately minority school in Omaha and told me some children had no books, I went through those paperbacks to donate some of my bounty. Even now, when I enter a home where I see no books or magazines, I wonder about the people who live there.

Before I got a library card in the nearest town, when we went on vacation to Wyoming during the summer, I took grocery bags of books along so that I would hopefully not run out during the time I didn’t spend outside.  Home schooling our girls gave me the perfect excuse to buy even more books.  I got each of the girls their own library card so that I could check out more than the 50-book limit on mine. Once the librarians got to know me, they didn’t worry about the limit. The treats I brought them at Christmas helped, too.

The opening of the first Half Price Books in Cleveland not far from our house saved us thousands.  I try now to declutter, going through the boxes of books that are still with us, but the books have an uncanny habit of sticking to my fingers and ending up back in the boxes.  What I really need, I realize, is a room for a dedicated library.

Speaking of libraries, I believe them to be one of our nation’s greatest treasures and a tax levy increase for them is the only tax increase for which I’ll vote.  I even persuaded my husband to vote for the last one.

The argument about whether books or e-books are better is to me ridiculous.  While I prefer real books, how can I revile something that allows me to carry a thousand or more books with me with ease while traveling, even overseas?  I want to read and I want others to read and whatever means feeds that is fine with me.

I’m addicted to reading.
I decline intervention.
I seek to addict others.

  1. ah. I suspect you actually have the cure, rather than the addiction. when you figure out how to do that library-for your-books thing—let me know. I have piles I’d like to place on elegant shelves. heck any shelf. read on. aloha.

  2. Expatorama says:

    It’a the best kind of addiction and completely legal with endless benefits. Everyone should get hooked on books.

  3. Confession. My compulsion to read as a child forced me to steal dry instant coffee with sugar so I could read all night with a flashlight under the covers. I periodically dipped a wet finger into the cup.

    • Wow, Sherry, that’s quite a way to stay awake! 🙂 I wouldn’t have had much success, as my parents didn’t drink coffee, but I did read under the covers at times, rather than just between them.


  4. margademmers says:

    Oh my, I’m afraid we share this addiction too, I just have to read every day, even if it is just for ten minutes. And just like Sherry Lynn as a child I used to read under the covers. Now during my holidays abroad I visit the local library, get a membership and take with me all the books that look interesting and that I cannot get at home. You’re right about the e-reader, I read even more now that I can read everywhere. I especially like the Gutenberg website as I am fond of literature of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Recently I downloaded the complete works of Edith Wharton. Bliss!

    • A day without reading is a day not in my life, that’s for sure. I read before going to sleep, although sometimes that delays sleep even further. In the US, as far as I know, you have to be a taxpayer of that town/city to get a library card. I never thought about trying to get a “visitor’s card”, but I don’t know if that’s even possible here. As you say, there are lots of free e-books available and when e-readers first came out, the offerings were quite reasonably priced. Now, the prices are much higher, so I rarely buy an e-book unless it’s on sale.


  5. So, another “chapter” of your life addictions opens to the public.
    They say that “we’re only as sick as our secrets.”
    Admission is cleansing.


  6. Hi, my name is Judy, and I need to join your support group. 🙂 I’ve always loved reading and bought and stored cases of books until we made the cross country move and had to pay by the pound so those books got donated. Then I still bought books but donated them to a friend who read them, passed them to her husband, and he passed them to his Mom and her retirement center. All good until I lost that connection. At that point, I became the number one fan of our local library and we’ve been in a wonderful relationship ever since. I love our library and would vote positively for anything that supports them in their effort to encourage reading. You’re not alone in this addiction either, Janet. 🙂

    • Too many of my boxes of books survived the move from Cleveland to Chicago (at least I’m sure the movers thought so). I’m still struggling to cut back, but it’s definitely a battle I’m not winning right now. As we talk about where to live after retirement (someday), I think it must be somewhere that has a very good library system, for we certainly can’t afford to buy all the books I read and would soon be out of our retirement home, as it would be filled with books!

      • 🙂 I stopped by the library this morning and picked up four books including one new bestseller. I chuckled as I got in the car thinking I had about $80 worth of books sitting there. Now, I get to read them and take them back for someone else. I love my library. 🙂

      • I go to the library at least a couple times a week. The other thing I love is being able to go online to put books on hold. 🙂 Enabling my addiction.

      • Yes, that is wonderful isn’t it. I see books at the store and head home to request them. If they don’t have the book on hand, they’ll buy it. What’s not to love, right?

      • I do the same and now our library has a online list of new books and “coming soon” books. I comb through those for books to reserve. One of my happiest moments is spotting a new book by an author that I love and didn’t know was out. 🙂

  7. Dan Antion says:

    You are not alone Janet. Not only are my wife and I addicted, but we passed this onto our daughter. We used to have to tell her that she could not bring a book to the dinner table.

    • Sounds familiar, Dan. When I visit my parents, we’re often found in the living room, all with books or magazines or other reading material in our hands. When I’m alone, I often read while eating. 🙂

  8. pike says:

    Not so bad addiction!

  9. LOL me too! I’m grateful that my parents always encouraged me to books and to reading…. and that my father offered me his library card so I could get as much books as I want instead just 2 per week for my children card :o)… and he even paid the fee when I forgot to give the books back in time :o)

  10. Joyce says:

    Great posts (1&2 parts). 🙂 I can relate to the addiction on books as I too started reading at a very early age, and loved getting books at the ‘book mobile’ that came to our school and then later at the school library when they had their own, then at the public ones, but through the years my husband and I collected so many books by buying up those from favorite authors and non-fiction authors as well. When we had to go through our extensive collection to clean out ones we no longer cared to keep it was a huge amount we gave away, but some were ones I wished I kept. Many that we did clean out were ones where really bad language or very graphic scenes were in books I felt did me no good, or gave me a peace to keep. 🙂 But, we have gone to adding more all the time to our downstairs library collection. I am still addicted to reading, and like my Kindle and new Kindle Fire where I can download and read from there, but still love the real paper quality book, too. Happy reading, Janet. We’re part of a generation of RAA (reading addicts anonymous). 🙂

  11. Joyce says:

    I forgot to add that when I was nine yrs. old my father got me a children’s book (Cathy and Carl from the Covered Wagon series) from a Christian book store that I just loved reading and reread it many times after, which was a book that taught me how to read and enjoy it. I still have that same book and is a treasure I hold on to, as it was a gift from my father.

  12. I am also addicted to books. I was reading by the age of 4, well before I went to school. My mother would buy second hand books every week and I would read them all. I read a lot of the old classics too. I have parted with a lot of books over the years and it is like saying goodbye to old friends. (Due to shifting and marriage breakups). Now it is good to have e-books as well – something to read while waiting for appointments

  13. Su Leslie says:

    It seems we have an addiction support group going on here. Like Dan (and most of us with kids), I’m responsible for passing my addiction onto the next generation. My son has been enveloped in the love of readers and books his whole life. He’s been really fortunate to have not only an addicted mother, but grandmothers (and even a grandad) who happily spent hours reading to him, and helping him learn to read himself. I am so saddened when I find children who don’t read and who are never given books. I read once (it was back in the 1990s) that about 30% of households with kids in the UK had no books or magazines, and that the children never saw adults at home reading. That is a tragedy.

  14. […] at Nihongojapango posted some wonderful photos of a little one enjoying his books,  and Janet at This, That and The Other Thing wrote a very funny post about her reading […]

  15. pommepal says:

    Wow your library allows 50 books??? That is amazing, ours allows 20, and I seem to be maxed out most of the time. I LOVE the library, I am definitely a library junky. I remember as a child being into horse books, A favourite was the “Flicker” series. When it came to dishwashing time I would hide in the loo with a book, but my Mam soon sorted that out… My very first boyfriend (at 14 years old) was one of the librarians… Ah the memories this post brought back janet.

  16. My hubby and I used to go to the librbay on dates. We were 15 & 16. Too poor and too young to do too much. Museums and libraries were our dating spots with a shared soda afterwards. We still adore books, libraries and museums. Some BAD habits just don’t change. I’m so glad hubby and I have both addicted to this day.
    Great addictions posts … I enjoyed them.
    Izzy 😎

  17. Emilio Pasquale says:

    My dad taught me how to read with comic books. It took me well into my 20’s to kick that habit- not the habit of reading but of buying and collecting comics. Thanks, Dad!

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