On the fifth day of Christmas, I went on a book bender.
The snow was falling fast and furious when I got up in the morning, making me wish I could just curl up on the couch with a blanket and the novel I’m reading but haven’t picked up in at least a week and a half for lack of time. And because of a little guilt at the lusty way I’m reading it, since it’s a psychological thriller and this is Christmastime, and I think it’s sort of ugly to voraciously read about bloody heads during the celebration of the birth of the Lord. I picked a fine time to get sucked into a genre I haven’t read in years, eh?
There are lots of reasons I can’t curl up on the couch with a book for hours. Unfortunately, my back is one of those reasons. But another is that my house is in serious need of a cleaning when I have some free time. And we always want what we cannot have.
I’m 3/4 of the way through this book, and I have one more new one to read after this. But then I’ll be left bookless. Sure, I could go to the library, and maybe I will. But for a few quiet minutes at work, I got on
thebookstorekiller amazon.com and went a little crazy. Fiction to history, Boleyn to bio, a dozen books wound up added to my electronic wish list. It was a feast for the reader’s soul, even if the books weren’t real and I was merely making a list of the ones I wanted to read but for which I would first have to pay. I even gobbled up a few pages via the Amazon preview feature before I remembered I hate reading from screens (blogs excepted). Then I remembered I’d promised myself I’d go to the anchor branch of the library, just a few blocks from the new house, while I was on vacation and get myself signed up. And I didn’t get there. Sigh. Alright, put that on the to-do list for the upcoming week.
I buy books. Simple reason: with adulthood comes the responsibilities that don’t allow us to determine a deadline by which we will have a book finished. It’s been so long since I’ve gone to a library, I’m ashamed to say, I don’t even know how they do things in the digital age. Can I renew my books online? Reserve a few? I should know these things. I’m friends with the PR guy for the entire library system. (Not an amazing feat – the man is uber-popular. Practically a local celebrity.)
Curious? Here are the books on my wish list, in no particular order:
The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
Half Empty – David Rakoff
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
Cronkite – Douglas Brinkley
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln – Doris Kearns Goodwin
A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson
The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson – Robert Caro
I’m really not much of one for the Tudors, but I’ve heard such great things about Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels that I’m curious. Maybe I’ll grab those from the library – that way I don’t have to spend the money on them if I don’t like them. But oh, I love putting a finished book on the bookshelf and living with it after. A bookshelf is a list of things accomplished, stories known, lessons learned, places visited. It’s a solid show of intangibles. Mine is my favorite piece of furniture in my home. If you want to know what’s on it, you can always check out my On My Bookshelf page. It’s a list of all the books I’ve read in the last few years. When I finish one, I add it to the top of the list. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve given myself permission not to finish a book I’m not enjoying. That never used to happen, but now I can’t see good reason to waste time on a book I don’t like. And I’ve found good reason to read one twice if I like it a lot.
There’s such a filling satisfaction about getting lost in a great book. We crave it, we book lovers, don’t we? Like we crave warmth or chocolate or sex or sleep. We need it to survive.
So, on the fifth day of Christmas, as the clock ticked toward the sixth day, I settled for warmth… and 30 pages of a psychological thriller.