Confessions of a Book Addict

June 3, 2014

One of my overflowing bookcases

One of my overflowing bookcases

My name is Rosemary and I am a book junkie.

I think it is fair to call myself a book addict.  The bug hit me when I was young, and like a chronic disease, I’ve lapsed again and again.  No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth;  I’ve simply been lost in good books.

We didn’t have cable T.V., videos, dvds, the internet, etc. when I was a child, and without those distractions I relied on books to transport me from my humdrum life on the farm.  During summer vacations, it irked my hard-working mother to see her kids sprawled around the house buried in books.  She’d often tell us to “get our noses out of those books” and go outside and play.  And if we didn’t want to play, she had plenty of outdoor chores we could do instead.

I majored in English literature in college and I actually read all the titles assigned on the syllabi.  There was no time for pleasure reading outside of the coursework.  This was in the early years of African-American studies and women’s studies, and once again I was transported to new (to me) worlds through books.

Since then I’ve always read, but my life was balanced with friends, family, hiking and biking, travel, and housework.  These days a disproportionate amount of time is given over to reading.  My child is raised; my nest is empty.  Working in a library is like being an alcoholic working in a bar.  Tempting titles pass through my hands daily, and my reading list grows.  I simply cannot resist.  Reading so much is a guilty pleasure.  I sense the spirit of my mother hovering and urging me to get my nose out of my book and go outside or get some work done!

So this is my confession.  I’ve been reading instead of writing blog posts.  I’ve been neglecting you and perhaps my family and friends, too.

Instead of an act of contrition, I will offer you a book recommendation.  My most recent favorite book is Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me.  It’s an important book, I think, reminding us that ignoring and discrediting what women say is on a continuum with violent silencing, including violent death.  This silencing, rape, and violence is a pattern whose causes are cultural and gender-based.  She reminds us, too, that revolutionary change can happen.  Once ideas — like owning people (slavery) is wrong, that women are people with just as much right to vote as men, etc. — are out of the bottle, they cannot be gathered up and put back under a lid.  That’s heartening.

To get a sense of Solnit’s remarkable writings, you can follow this link to her original posting of “Men Explain Things to Me” at Tom’s Dispatch online.



8 Responses to “Confessions of a Book Addict”

  1. Elisa Says:

    I nearly always consider that you are having an adventure if/when you are not posting. I check every day to see the wonders that you share, the daily simple things, that are adventures to me. I wonder if this wonder, and an ability to share it, comes from the nose being in all of those books. I learned that I can take any thing and dress it and display it and give it qualities(or take them away) at my will–all while being honest.

  2. Renee Says:

    I am trying to catch up on reading books I should have read a long time ago. What would you say are the top five books everyone should have read.

    • Rosemary Says:

      I don’t know if there are books that everyone should read. Everyone is different so everyone’s heart is stirred by different things. That said, one of my all-time favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird. A google search for “top 100 books” or “top 10 books” will yield plenty of lists from reputable sources like the Guardian or the NY Times. Your public library will also have good suggestions and lists. For example, I’ve loved every Newbery-award-winning juvenile novel I’ve ever read.

      • Renee Says:

        Thank you for your response. I did read to kill a Mockingbird. I was thinking of reading Moby Dick next.

  3. Diana Studer Says:

    took me on an interesting wander round Rebecca Solnit.

  4. shoreacres Says:

    I confess my eyes glazed over when I tried to read Solnit. Perhaps it’s only that I’ve about had it with much of what passes for feminism in this country today, and wasn’t in the mood to distinguish her from them. Or, it may be that I wasn’t eager to be dragged back into the days when I experienced some of the very things she wrote about. But those are different topics, for a different day.

    What’s absolutely certain is that your mother and mine had a lot in common. “Get your nose out of that book” was a common refrain in our household, too! What’s interesting to me now is how clearly the first third of my life was reading, the second third was action. Now, I seem to be moving into reflection/writing – and I need to do a little more boundary pushing than I am.

  5. […] Confessions of a Book Addict, June 3, 2014 […]

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