Reading Loon

In the last couple of days I’ve been realizing, over and over again, that I am a reading loon. More than anything else, my life revolves around reading: what I just finished reading, what I’m reading now, what I’m reading next, what I’m likely to be in the mood for after that…

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know about my list of books-on-hold at the library, and the books I have out from the library, and the books I own. I’ve got books coming out of my ears.

So what did I do at lunch today? Jaunted up to Barnes & Noble to pick up a mystery that got a good review and a romance that I’ve been waiting for all summer long. While I was there, I decided to see if they had a new release from a friend. They did, so off I went to the cash register, three books in hand.

On the way to the register, another book caught my eye, but I didn’t have enough money for the three books in my hand and the new one. Since the new one had been shortlisted for the Booker prize, I thought it might be at the library…which just happens to be on the way back the office.

Well, okay, “just happens” isn’t quite accurate. A stop at the library had been part of the plan all along–I had my card in my pocket so I could get (for the third time) Alice Hoffman’s The River King. Happily the book I’d seen at B&N–Colm Tóibín’s The Master: A Novel–was at the library…along with the Hoffman I’d gone there for (and another Hoffman novel, The Foretelling).

When I got back to the office, 45 minutes’ brisk walking had yielded a haul of six books, none of which I truly needed in order to have reading material. But when you love to read as much as I do and you’re as moody a reader as I am (as in “I’m not in the mood for that”), then there’s no such thing as too many books.

Last night I found myself wondering which I could give up if I had to, reading or writing. It wasn’t an easy choice–I really need both–but if I had to, I’d give up writing. Heretical though that may be, the reality is I can imagine not writing…but I can’t, I truly can’t, imagine not reading. Without writing, I become cranky, depressed and gloomy; without reading…

Without reading, I’m not me.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dee
    Sep 23, 2006 @ 21:52:00

    Wow. I so totally understand what you mean. I feel exactly the same way. I was trying to explain this on my blog when I blogged about banning books. Just the thought is enough to make my skin crawl and my blood boil.
    I feel like I have to write, and when I don’t, I can tell. My world is off, and things just seem not quite right.
    But if I couldn’t read, I really don’t know what I would do.
    See, I can go for days without writing. I don’t like it, but I can do it. I honestly can not go a single day without reading. Really, I can’t. I’ve tried. It just doesn’t work. I resort to staring at billboards, reading clothing labels, poring over cereal boxes… it really doesn’t matter, as long as I’m reading.
    Glad to find a sister.


  2. Katy Cooper
    Sep 24, 2006 @ 09:03:00

    It’s been a long time since I resorted to reading cereal boxes…but I remember the days.

    The meanest thing my sister ever did to me when we were growing up was to complain that I was reading at the dinner table and so get my books banned.

    It wasn’t that she wanted to talk to me–she didn’t–she just didn’t want me to have entertainment when she didn’t. She’s since apologized for it–now that she’s a reader too, she recognizes just how cruel her act was :). (She says now that she gave reading a chance because I was so obsessive about it–if I spent that much time on it, surely there was value…)


  3. dee
    Sep 29, 2006 @ 02:45:00

    My younger brother is now 31. Last summer, we spent a week in Pensacola at the beach with him and his daughter. Of course, I had a ton of books with me. Do you know that that little punk still tried to take my books away from me? And when that didn’t work, he started hiding them. He used to do that when we were growing up, because he really hated that I’d spend time reading instead of entertaining him.
    The icing on the cake, for me, was when he started complaining that I’d corrupted my oldest daughter, since she had her nose buried in a book all the time as well.
    I think what sent him over the edge was that I also bought a book for my niece, and she LOVED it!
    Ha! That’ll teach the little punk to try to hide MY books!


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