I’ve been banned. From getting new books.
Why, you might ask? Because I suffer from the age-old problem of readers the world over: too many unread books.
I put books on hold at the library. I pick them up. I see interesting options in the ‘New Titles’ and display areas; a few end up in my hands. I return home with a bulging bag that I set down beside the library bag from last week, which stands next to the desk with the books I bought a few months ago.
All are still untouched.
It’s not exactly bibliophilia, as I borrow more books than I buy. And it’s not bibliomania—I’m not hoarding tomes that will be worth millions by the time I’m old and grey.
I’m more of a dormant bookworm—reading a book for pleasure one week, then devouring a few at a time for most of the next. I could spend hours lying on my bed or sitting on a chair, engrossed in my latest read.
Bookstores are easier for me to avoid. Here, the books aren’t free. The money I’d spend is money I’m saving for housing, tuition, and food.
I amble through bookstores nowadays. If something catches my eye, I look around surreptitiously, whip out my phone, and snap a picture of the cover. Later, I see if I can find it for free, since I’m a starving soon-to-be-broke student and need to save my pennies.
(This doesn’t always work. I decided to enter a bookstore in Parksville a few months ago. I left with three books and $70 less in my bank account.)
The library is much more dangerous because it doesn’t cost me anything. But I don’t just go there for the books. I go there for the experience.
I need to leave my room and stroll up and down the aisles. I need the weight of those books in my arms. Who cares if I’ll read only one or two? Who cares if there’s already a stack glaring at me from the floor? I must return to my oasis. I need a distraction, to educate myself on different cultures, to immerse myself in someone else’s life.
But I need to stop. I’m running out of table space.
Hence the ban I imposed on myself mid-August. I’ve made a small but sizable dent in my TBR (To Be Read) pile. The only books I’ve bought are for courses this semester. So far, I’ve been busy enough that I haven’t felt the urge to go downtown, to Country Club mall, or to the north end for the libraries there.
But I can feel it coming on the cooling autumn air.
When September ends, I’ll step foot inside a library. Allow myself to pick out a few (very few) items.
And I know I’ll break my rules. It’s part of human nature. I have to accept it.
I love books. I am enticed, I collect, and eventually I read.
Because I’m a bookworm.