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In today’s high tech, virtual world it can be a warm and comforting thing to possess a few old-fashioned qualities. In my personal mix of quirks and characteristics, one trait is singularly un-modern: I am a book lover. Real books, not screens filled with slowly scrolling neon type. A book is like a friend to me, or like a gourmet meal, a conversation, a journey, or a drug. That’s right – a drug! I’ve known what it is to wrestle with a condition I call book addiction. Here are a few warning signs of the affliction.
You may be a bookaholic if…
- the annual library book sale is the first date you fill in on your new year’s calendar.
- your response to reading a great borrowed book is, “I must own a copy!”
- you have so many books you must rotate the collection quarterly.
- three different friends give you “Book Woman” bookmarks for your birthday.
- old books purchased for less than a dollar are priceless to you because you “could never replace them at that price!”
- you have one shelf full of books about books. …you’d need to live to be 134 to read all the books on your ‘must-read’ list.
- you feel you are rescuing or adopting used books when you buy and love them and take them home.
- you consider loaning books a way to use other people’s shelf space for free. …you have a book in progress in every room of the house.
- you fantasize about being wrongfully imprisoned in a clean, minimum security jail just long enough to read a few dozen books.
- it is a real sacrifice to fast from reading during Lent. … the only thing better than curling up with a book is tucking into a juicy book catalog.
- your husband refuses to stop at any garage sale with books showing (and never lets you forget the time he circled the block for an hour at the estate sale of a fellow bookaholic).
- the only internet love affair that tempts you is with amazon.com.
- you cannot easily resist a free-book promo for a mail order book club.
- you have converted windowsills, milk crates, dining tables and the spaces between wall studs into bookshelves.
- you keep the numbers of out-of-print book locators in your ‘Emergency Info’ file.
- you have difficulty relating to people whose shelves contain statues, photos, or shell collections instead of books.
- you don’t have a ready answer for the question, “Should I read or get dinner on the table?”
- you have a too-ready answer for the question, “Should I clean the toilet or finish this chapter?”
- “Ability to read while nursing” tops your list of benefits of breastfeeding.
- someone xeroxes a list like this and hands it to you with a knowing wink.
If you are a bookaholic, take heart. The condition is not fatal and can be managed nicely with prayer and periodic fasting from books. In some extreme cases, it may be necessary for the addict to sell all, or part of her collection. (If it comes to that, would you contact me with the sale date and location?)