My favorite room in my parents house growing up was the den. It had high ceilings and one wall that was stacked from top to bottom with bookshelves.
It was a room embedded with treasures. Some of my favorite books were there; better yet, there were scores more that I had hoped to read one day, and I relished knowing they were there, always just beyond the grasp of the free time I had to explore them. And as I grew up, I added bookshelves in my own bedroom.
The den was a quiet retreat, where each book was a doorway to escape to amazing places that existed either in the real world or someone’s imagination. Who needs drugs, when you have these volumes that can take you anywhere you want to go?
And when I moved out, one of the first pieces of furniture we bought after marriage were four tall bookcases, And since then we have added several more.
When I quit smoking decades ago, I rewarded myself with, yes, a set of World Book encyclopedias. And when we bought our house, we made sure we reserved one room for a den, a room lined with as many books as we could fit, and then some. And did I mention our 10 magazine subscriptions?
I am Scott, and I am a readaholic.
Like everyone these days, I will blame it on my parents. They instilled the love of reading in me, and I have had a voracious thirst to read ever since. My father devoured mystery books and anything written about World War II. My mother would never throw out a newspaper unless she had read it all and then clipped out the articles that made the cut either for her own files or to give to us children.
I even made a career in the writing business, and I married a woman who has spent much of her career running a school library. And she reads more books than I do. She is my enabler. She likes fiction. I prefer nonfiction.
I made a rough count and found out we own more than 1,200 books, not counting any stored in the attic or those stowed on Amazon Kindle. I will never read them all, but I just like knowing they are there.
I am normally a reasonable man, but somehow when it comes to books I succumb to their siren song. I keep getting more, and rarely can I find it in my heart to get rid of any of them.
My wife, always the crafty one, is planning a project to make a lamp using old books as a base. I have been hiding the old books she had set aside for this, in hopes that she will forget about the idea, because I couldn’t bear to sacrifice these gems to this idea.
And so the list keeps growing of books and other reading material that I will never have time to finish. My kids know that when all else fails and they need a gift idea, a book is always welcome. And we return the favor, thereby enabling them, by buying Barnes & Noble gift cards.
It’s an addiction, a sickness really. And there has to be a cure for it. I am not sure what it is, but I am certain that if I just keep reading I will find the answer somewhere in all these books, magazines and newspaper. It has to be in there somewhere.