An Addiction

In the days when I was poor, I went to thrift shops.  A book was cheaper than a newspaper, so I bought them by the dozens. 

At first I bought the great novelists of all times in any language I could read.  Poets are rare in thrift shops. 

I went to a specific shop almost every morning.  I was not the only one to do that.  I noticed that some antique dealers had the same habit.  Soon I had more books than I could ever read.  Thousands of them fill the house now and though a book is a rather small object, a big amount of them necessitates accomodation.  After some years I needed to rebuild the house. 

The offer of all kinds of books in my favorite thrift shop fed my interest not only in literature but also in any possible field of non-fiction, science, illustration and specific or first editions.  I realized that I had become a bibliophile.  I was addicted. 

I asked myself some questions.  Why did I buy all these books, knowing that probably I wouldn't read many of them?  This resulted in various conclusions.  An important one was that time is the most precious good one can have.  Books need time to be read (and to be loved).  Another was that all these books needed shelves (a rather frightful conclusion it is). 

I also realized that I was a hardcore addict.  I felt a cruel choice between quitting my habit or continue hoarding.  Finally I decided to give up the stockpiling that had lasted for years.  It was not the end of fresh provision though.  Books continued to enter the house after my decision was taken when I finally got a decent job.  This job implicated that I could get books for free. 

I deliberately and with a fearful heart, started to specialize in art books and literature.  I love the way they look at me and ask the questions they raise in my head.  I love their proximity and fidelity and I'm still moved by the idea that an humble thing like a book can be so important to it's reader (and even owner) that it can make him change his mind. 

The endlessness of interesting books made me wary of bookshops.  I know my resistance is low and I don't want to fall in that old delicious trap again.

moreandless moreandless
56-60, M
3 Responses Feb 24, 2010

So well said, Eldorai, needless to say that I fully agree.<br />
Also thanks to Kirsche.

A great post, thankyou! I relate, totally. Just today I returned 17 books back to the library (I have 2 children) and came out with yet more. I have nights where I will start a book and wont put it down until its finished, no matter how tired I am. I dont watch tellie, in fact i find it very annoying and frustrating, the best visual screen for me is in my head, nothing can match the pictures i conjure up whilst reading. I dont have a particular interest or topic, anything with a beginning and an end will do. I have always said, if i ever won the lottery, Instead of fast cars etc I would have a huge library! Bliss!

Thank you! A very interesting post.