Saturday, February 6, 2010

Is it a problem?

This week's CCIRA Conference (Colorado Council of the International Reading Association) was another success.  It's always run perfectly, attended well, and the line-up is always rich!  Although the crowds were a little smaller this year, the energy was there.  It's a wonderful conference.  Teachers, coaches, consultants, parents, administrators, students... all there for a purpose--to reflect and grow and revision their practices.  I was thinking that I've been to CCIRA for probably twenty of the last twenty-five years...
     But, after my last trip to The Boulder Book Store's booth this morning, it's time to come clean. I think I just may have a problem... and perhaps, it's time for an intervention!  I should just admit it.  I am a Bookoholic.  Yes, it's time to say, "Hi, I'm Patrick and I'm a Bookocholic!"  I think that there are twelve sure signs that you're in the same boat:
  1. You would rather buy books than food.  But you end up buying both, because... well, the two go hand-in-hand!
  2. You convince your friends that have willpower that they need a book too, just to relieve the guilt you are carrying because you have three in your hand.  And you feel better when you both say, "I shouldn't have done that!" in unison after you leave the cashier.
  3. You have to look through the entire pile to find the book that has the most perfect book jacket.  I never choose the book on top of the pile!
  4. You silently think, "I better buy this now... Lord knows, it might go out of print tomorrow!"  AND, you pay full price (even though you know you can get a discount at your local bookstore).
  5. You hide books in your bag and when you get home, you sneak them onto the shelf without your wife noticing.  And when she says, "Where'd this come from?" you play stupid!
  6. Or better yet... You take your wife with you to the conference and convince her that SHE needs a book or two (so you can borrow them later)... being in a two teacher family has it's perks (my wife and I both went this year--a CCIRA date of sorts).
  7. You stand in line for an hour just to have the author sign your purchase.  And then you try to convince the author to be your new best friend and tell them some story like, "The same thing happened to my son when..." and they look at you with that You and every third person that I have talked to today look!
  8. You meet your friends for coffee at the hotel's Starbucks and you compare titles... only to find there's one that they may have purchased that you passed over (and as soon as you've finished your coffee, you nonchalantly excuse yourself and run to the table to buy one).  It's actually worse when you BOTH bump into each other later and say, "Oh, I was just looking to see if they had..."
  9. You say to yourself, "I don't think I have this one!"  But when you get home you discover you have three copies, but you don't really care because now you have one for your house, one for your classroom, and one to regift.
  10. You read and reread and reread your purchases when you get home and start thinking about strategies and units of study... and say, "I could use this for..."  You self-convince yourself that the money was well spent!
  11. You debate... cash or credit card, cash or credit card, cash or credit card, cash or credit card... and it doesn't really matter because you're going to buy it no matter what!
  12. You feel book guilt and start to say... "I'm only going to buy this one book..."  "I can stop any time I want..."  "My friends do it, why can't I?"  "It's better than spending money on golf or alcohol!" "It's just a small book, one more won't hurt me."   
     Now, there are worse things.  Being a bookoholic isn't the worst habit a soon-to-be, 50-year-old man can have... (that's a hint just in case you want to regift your third copies on February 20th).  As I read The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins to my daughter tonight at bedtime and then told her the stories Lester Laminack told us about it this morning in his session, I felt better.  Suddenly, the guilt slipped away!
     So, as the week goes on, I'll share a bit of my addiction with you... I found some great titles!  You just have to promise me something... that you'll go out and buy one or two of them!  C'mon.  I need your support!  "Hello, Patrick..."


  1. Yikes! I'm right there with you! Can't wait to see what you bought! One of the ones I ordered (was too late to get it on Friday afternoon) was your book. We loved your session on Friday afternoon. Thanks for sharing all your rich thinking and teaching! I know we will be talking about it for a while!

  2. Hello, I'm Karren and I'm a bookaholic. I think support groups are supposed to support your recovery and I have no interest in doing so. I love your book recommendations!
    PS-I also look for the book with the most perfect book jacket, which is removed so that it doesn't fall victim to book abuse--a serious offense around these parts. :)

  3. Hello, I'm Mary Lee, and I'm a bookaholic and proud of it! And happy to be one! And not ashamed of the list I keep of all the books I want to buy! And delighted by the looks of astonishment when new families come into my classroom for the first time and see all the books! And thrilled that most kids who walk into my classroom go straight for the shelves like there was candy there! GO BOOKS! (That's an Ohio pun, where mostly people say GO BUCKS!)

  4. Hello, I'm Stella, and I'n a bookaholic. I believe we should all meet at Cover to Cover in Columbus or Tattered Cover in Colororado to discuss our "issues" further...what ya think? and if there is time, we'll browse books. :-)