Keeping up on all the new titles that cross my path via my Twitter account, the blogs I read, and the emails I receive is next to impossible. I read blogs and say, "Oh, I have to have that book!" I receive Tweets from colleagues with recommendations and reflections and say, "Oh, I have to have that one!" I read emails and say, "Oh, I have to have that one!" I meander a bookstore's aisles and say, "Oh, I have to have that one!" My friend texts me and I say, "Oh, I have to have that one too!"
Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming... and a bit tricky when I open my wallet and there's no cash, or I check my online account and the funds are running low! It's like the Erasmus quote on the bag my children gave me for Christmas, "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." I'm not alone... it happens to us all.
I was talking to my friends Dana, a first grade teacher, and Barb (@bgail59), a literacy coach, while I was working in Casper, Wyoming this week. All three of us were laughing about our obsession with books! Barb plays a bit of "Pong" with the UPS driver, having him deliver to both home and school... so that there always seems to be a little brown box waiting to surprise her. Dana, she has a similar passion for beautiful books... and her first grade classroom is a garden of literacy... there are few teachers that display them so beautifully, throughout her classroom there are thoughtful invitations for children that softly cajole, "Pick me up, read me, enjoy me!". We love sharing titles and I brought so many that I had to stop at Evansville's Wal-Mart on the way back to the hotel (after dinner at 9:30 p.m.) to buy a plastic tub to reorganize the books I had taken with me because my book bag ripped as I was trudging into the hotel (one of the pitfalls of doing staff development in a city nearby).
So, this "gotta-have-it" mentality is not just an obsession that I share with locals that I learn with and from on a daily basis... it's a widespread mania that all bookstore and Amazon denizens possess. But, unlike other addictions, I don't know if being a "bookie" can cause much harm, can it? Of course, if it comes in combination with being a "foodie" that could cause a problem... the more you weigh, the harder it is to run to the bookstore (I'll let you infer the other combinations with book-obsession that could cause either mental or physical anguish).
Hmmm... maybe it's just a simple a process of identifying the 12 things that make you a book fiend. Here are 12 ideas you might consider before 2012 rolls around (my apologies to Jeff Foxworthy):
- If you peruse blogs and order new titles at random without previewing the book, you might be a book fiend.
- If you clean your bookshelves and find you have four copies of the same book AND you realize you've never read it, you might be a book fiend.
- If you have six bags of books "ready to take to school" that never seem to leave your at-home library, you might be a book fiend.
- If you sit in a quiet corner with a cup of coffee and look for possible crafting lessons in picture books and spend time labeling them with sticky notes, you might be a book fiend.
- If you spill coffee on a book and replace it, but never find the need to recycle the wrinkled, stained book, but simply say it's "a first-edition, well-loved book that I've antiqued," you might be a book fiend.
- If you buy your friend a book for his birthday and then buy yourself a copy too (or worse yet, ask to borrow it before he even opens it), you might be a book fiend.
- If you race to peruse the library discard pile when your librarian sends out an email that says it is "first come, first served," you might be a book fiend.
- If you've ever gotten in a physical tussle with your best friend on the floor of the children's section at the Tattered Cover or The Bookies or The Boulder Bookstore (insert your favorite local bookstore) because there was only one copy of a title and there was bleeding or punching involved (yes, it's happened), you might be a book fiend.
- If your friend finds a book and says, "It's out of print!" and you spend $55 or more for your own copy, you might be a book fiend.
- If you hide books in the trunk of your car and then sneak them onto the shelves before your spouse finds out you spent more money on books, you might be a book fiend.
- If you find elements of craft in a book and giggle out loud, drool, squeal, sweat, or turn to a complete stranger and say, "Listen to this..." and don't care if she stares at you in fear or disdain, you might be a book fiend.
- If your best friend says he has come down with an illness that perplexes his physician and your first question is, "Can I have your books?", you might be a book fiend.