Being a voracious reader, I simply cannot get enough of books. Literally…cannot-get-enough.
You would think then, that a library crammed with books of all sizes, sorts and shapes would fulfil my every fantasy – be the Mecca to my pilgrim – but sadly this is not the case. In fact, just the opposite is true. I avoid going into the library at all costs. Not least because the sheer sensory overload of such an abundance of books might cause me to faint, right there on the old carpet tiles, but mostly because (lowers voice to a whisper) I do not like to share.
Now that it’s out, burning a hole through the book-whore confessional, I feel the need to explain myself. Books are my indulgence, my escape from the world, my home away from home. And I’ve always fancied myself more of a “home-owner” than a “tenant” kind of girl. I am territorial and possessive over my fictional friends and I shudder at the thought that so many others have laid claim to the library’s offerings. Filthy fingers touching the pages, eyes devouring the sanctity of the script…these books have been violated…tainted even. “Communal contamination” I call it. A vulgar prostitution of the things I hold most dear.
I cannot bear it. Instead, my Mecca is the book store. The hushed, hallowed aisles of reverent shelves filled with brand spanking new books that have known no touch before mine. Where the pages emit the spine-tingling creak that can only be heard when a book is opened for the very first time. The heady smell of all that new paper and the whispers of fellow book whores, wandering the aisles in search of their next meaningful relationship.
Of course, this obsession comes with a price. In order to keep up with my bookish whim, a credit card (or two) must be sacrificed. Perhaps my wardrobe is a little barer than most and regular trips to the hairdresser must be forsaken. I’m prepared to go ‘Ombre’ naturally, one week at a time, if it means new books. My children, too, have been caught up in my web of self-gratification. They own more books than they can count, and they cannot even read yet.
And then there are those who want to “borrow” my books (shudders involuntarily). Borrow my books? As in, take them away and put your filthy paws all over them? Erm…I don’t think so. You can borrow my husband instead, or better yet, go to the library – they’re all about sharing over there.
First published on It’s a Book Thing (23.07.2014).