Confessions of a Book Addict

17 Jul

Where to start? Books have been quite a large part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. My home has always been a haven of books, my mother is a qualified librarian, she took me to work with her, and well… it all just really was inevitable.

Books are a big part of my life, so much so that I’ve ended up working as a library assistant and am seriously considering it as my career (if libraries can be saved!) and I have realised more recently, that I have a rather big problem.

I am a book addict.

stef

Barely an hour at work goes by where I’m not nose deep in a book, new or old, adults or children, trying to determine if it’s something I would want to read.

The really lucky books get to come home with me, and sit, sometimes for ages on my shelves as I try to find time to read them. Some books come back to the library, unread, only to be taken out at a later date.

Withdrawn stock is another issue. As long as we don’t take too much, sometimes we’re allowed to pick a book or two from the donations and withdrawn book sale. It’s terrible! Books I’ve eyed up on Amazon or on our shelves suddenly find themselves in my handbag on the way home and now, I’m seriously running out of space to keep them.

I can pretty much remember the first time I brought books on my own accord; in fact that is where it all started. I don’t remember buying my own books before this. I guess I must have had book vouchers before to buy books, but I have a feeling I wasn’t very involved in the decision on which books to buy.

I must have been about 5 or 6 at the time, because I remember after I brought these books I read them with my parents before bed each night.

So there I am, in a small local bookshop in Wokingham with my mother, looking at a shelf full of 1995 editions of the Famous Five by Enid Blyton.

Now, for those who know me, this probably won’t come as a surprise, after all I do run the World of Blyton Blog and belong to the Enid Blyton Society.

But I remember standing in this little independent bookshop, looking at the books, wondering which of these glossy new novels I wanted to buy. My mother was a strong advocate of me starting at the beginning but in the end I decided to take the books that had more than one copy on the shelves, because I didn’t want anyone to be left out.

I can’t describe to you how exciting it all was, these were my first “grown-up” books with no pictures. I still have the books now- a testament to my mother’s reluctance to give away books. Those books, Five Fall into Adventure, Five go to Mystery Moor, and Five Have Plenty of Fun were not only the slide from picture books to proper reading, but a slide from a regular reader to a book addict.

I find myself nowadays buying books all over the place. Sometimes in Waterstones I treat myself to an expensive hardback only to find the same copy in the library the next morning! (This has actually happened)

For example this morning I actually had to physically stop myself buying a set of books off Amazon (while being at work and not being able to find the first book in the series on our catalogue). These books I’m sure would have been bought on a whim. Also, I have never read that particular author before, but inspired by a movie with one of my favourite actors in, I wanted to read the books!

As my mother always said;

“Read the books before you see the movie; the book is always better!”

You see, if they had had a copy of the book I wanted at work, it wouldn’t have been an issue. I wouldn’t have had to stop myself from buying the books.

I don’t know if there is a group for book addicts- and if there was I’m sure we would all just sit about discussing our favourite books anyway. I mean I can talk books until the cows come home: I just love books!

See part of the problem is that they’re not seen as a dangerous thing (unless you’re throwing them- but I never advocate throwing books: they may get hurt!), and a lot of the time you can’t match the signs of addiction with Book Addicts.

But in other respects, its expensive, they make you “anti-social”, can cause emotional trauma (trust me there are some books I’ve never recovered from *stage whisper* Harry Potter).

I’ve never been ashamed of being a book addict; in fact I think at secondary school I was a little bit snobbish about it all. There were the more popular girls in my classes who would make fun of me for reading books, but I always believed that I was taking the moral high ground and believed I was better than them, not because I was picking on them right back- oh no, I was an introvert when it came to bullies, but because I had more imagination, more freedom, more knowledge and common sense than them all put together, because I read!

I know, I know; it didn’t make me better than them, but at the time it made me feel better about myself.

Inevitably you could say that reading led me to writing because I would never have taken up writing if I didn’t have such wonderful authors as inspiration. Authors like J.K Rowling who swung up into fame quite quickly, and Enid Blyton who typed away on a keyboard in a male dominated world. Terry Pratchett the creature of the wonderfully sublime Discworld series, full of sarcastic humour, and obvious humour come to that!  More recently, Sara Sheridan (Twitter Account? Website?) of the Mirabelle Beven Mysteries has given me lots of inspiration for my own work.

Its authors like these who make me think that one day, possibly, my little scribblings might be more than just little, and certainly more than scribblings. Could it be that one day my work might mean something to someone the way these authors do to me?

See, I wouldn’t have these aspirations if I’d not been a book addict, pouring over page after page drinking in descriptions, new ideas, life!

For me, books are more than just words, they ease the soul, soothe the worry and take you away. And No, you don’t get the same feel with a Kindle.

So stroll on to L-Space (copyright Terry Pratchett) at your own peril. Come on! We’re waiting for you to join us!

About the Writer: Stef is a 22 year old graduate who has a lifelong obsession with books and reading who also loves music and live theatre. You’re most likely to find her in a book shop or out in London standing at a theatre stage door. She can be found on twitter and running The World of Blyton.

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