My Book Addiction: My brief history with books

I come across my book addiction naturally.

I grew up surrounded by stacked shelves, bending from the weight of bound paper. Ink runs through my veins instead of blood. Even now, as adults in the age of tablets, auto, and ebooks, my entire family is addicted to hoarding the printed word. Though we all have our own special interests and genres we gravitate toward, most of my family shares one trait in common: we love books.

It started young for me.

When I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money. We didn’t have cable TV (or a television at all for some time), and we didn’t have video games, or internet until we were teenagers. This meant that my free time hours were spent playing outside, or reading. And I read a lot. To supplement my own small collection I became a frequent visitor at both my school’s library, and the public library downtown. I would check out arm-fulls of books that were always completed and returned long before their due dates. As young as 8 years old, I was already attempting literary classics like Gone With the Wind and Little Women, and even started writing my own (admittedly terrible) poems and stories.

My Dragon Hoard of Books.

I moved a lot when I was young, which made a large collection a luxury I couldn’t invest in. Once I entered college and was making my own money, and living in my own space, I went wild with my book buying sprees. It started innocently enough, with buying a few cheap, used books at thrift shops like DI. Then, as I started to make “real” money, I took over my sister’s Barns and Nobel membership. Next, I became a frequent customer at 3 local bookshops in my community. I rounded off my hoarder’s supply line with an account on bookshop.org, and my transformation into Book Dragon was complete. But, instead of sleeping on piles of gold, I sleep with the 3-4 books I’m reading on the empty side of my bed.

My collection isn’t excessive.

To be clear, I don’t have rooms filled with haphazardly stacked towers covering the floor. I don’t have thousands of books arranged into an eclectic library, and my books are not some sort of investment portfolio (They are essentially worthless). What I do have is several book cases, organized by my own personal preference (genre, category, and chronology), that take up a significant portion of my office space. My book buying has not caused me file for bankruptcy, but it has on more than once occasion made me re-evaluate my financial habits. Despite all the books I own, I cannot stop myself from wanting more.

Is my book buying habit a problem?

Part of me is disgusted by the idea of over-consumption on any level, but a larger part of me is relieved that it is for such an inexpensive, and generally harmless vice. While I do tend to buy more books than I can feasibly read, I do make a genuine effort to read them all. I don’t spend more than I can reasonably afford (even if the amount is often embarrassingly high), and I do comb through my collection once or twice a year to re-home the books I haven’t read, or would not read again. I realize that all these excesses are justifications for my spending habits, but there are many worse habits I could have.

Like many bookworms, I love my books and swoon over beautiful libraries. I love the smell of old paper and book glue, and crave the feeling of that thick paper between my fingers when I turn a page. While I have a handful of e-books, they do not comfort me the way a physical book can. Books have been bringing me comfort, joy, adventure, and knowledge since I was a child. I doubt that I going to change now.

book does.

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