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.