I have a moderately serious book addiction. Almost entirely hardcovers. I think I own about 800 or so. I am what I refer to as a ¨buy-three, read one¨ shopper. Best Buy is a dangerous spot for me to walk into, like most men, but Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble are even more lethal.
Some of my strange book rules (I will loan books, but only if these are adhered to):
(1) no bending back pages to mark where you are in the book. Rip off a piece of newspaper or something. Seriously, is it that difficult to respect a good book and the effort someone put into writing it?
(2) no putting the book face-down, opened, on some table or such to hold the spot you are at. Screws up the binding.
(3) don´t lose or destroy one of my books. I have a pretty funny story about this one and one of my ex-girlfriends. Still love her to death for many, many reasons, but what she had to go through to not violate this rule in law school is one of the reasons she is a great person in my eyes. Too long to tell now – will update later.
(4) writing in or marking down passages of your own book that are important to you is acceptable. Doing so in someone else´s book is obviously verboten. Yes, I know its odd that I can´t bend back a page, but can write in the book probably makes little sense, but these are my idiocencratic (spell check later) rules — so deal with it.
(5) just because I like the book (or you do for that matter), doesn´t mean everyone else should. It is like my cooking. If I ask your opinion – I actually want your opinion. Don´t give me the pathetic, ¨I liked it.¨ Bow up and have an opinion. By the way — that goes for my blogs and other writing. Praise is wonderful. Solid critique is even better.
I read 3-4 books simultanously. Its the modern ADD thing in me. I have a really hard time reading just one. One goes in the car, so I can have it handy when I go eat lunch by myself or have a half-hour to kill in a bar waiting on friends that actually work till 5 p.m. at happy hour. One goes on the bedside table, for reading before crashing. A couple others are strewn about whereever.
I have at least twenty books on my bookshelves with bookmarks in them – reminders that my ADD nature ran out at that point, before I gave up (sometimes temporarily — I´ve started some books a half-dozen times before finshing them).
On the road, my book obsession takes on another aspect: I hate carrying around a book that I´m fairly close to finishing. If I´m about to board a plane or bus or whatever and I´m not going to have access to my book stash in my suitcase or backpack, horror of horrors if the only book I have in my hands only has a hundred pages left to read. What the hell would I do if I finished it and didn´t have quick access to another.
Better to just start a new one and save the started-on one for later.
200 pages left in Bruce Chatwin´s ´What Am I Doing Here´for this bus ride tonight. I think I´m fairly safe.
Happy Christmas (Chanukah or Kwansa or whatever) and Merry New Year everyone. I miss you all.
OK fine. I miss some of you.