Confessions of a Lifelong Addict

My children are addictive readers. They are third generation addicts through my mother and then through me. All of us panic if we finish a book, but don’t have another one ready to begin. As I thought about this wonderful addiction, I remembered what exciting joy there was for me as a little girl when I read books my mother was reading or had read, but didn’t want me to read. She belonged to the Book of the Month Club, and I wasn’t very old before I realized that the books she didn’t want me to read were placed on the top shelf of the linen closet where I couldn’t reach them. They were mostly books by authors like Daphne duMaurier (is that spelled correctly?), and certainly by today’s standards, not much to hide from a child. But I was a protected “only,” and also very curious. I easily learned to stand on a stool to get to that top shelf, and I loved reading the books as I lay across my bed and listened for my mother to come upstairs. When I heard our staircase creak, I’d slide the book between my mattress and boxspring, and pull out a Nancy Drew mystery (that I’d been pretending to read for months and months!)
My mother was a registered nurse and operating room supervisor before she married my father and was forced, by hospital policy, to resign her position. In my further explorations, I discoverd her old ob-gyn textbooks in the bottom drawer of an old bureau that was stored in our guest/storage room. I credit those books with teaching me the real facts about sex and childbirth and women’s bodies!
But last evening I was thinking about the NOOK Color I use and the Kindle Fire my son uses to read. I bought my NOOK because I am not a good library patron – never remember to return books – and my house was getting too full of my book purchases. My son, who vowed he’d never read anything but a real book because he loved the smell of a new book, is a Kindle Fire convert. Only my daughter still buys her books, in spite of having an IPAD. We all share titles of things we’ve read, and my children’s reading tastes have greatly expanded my view of the world! Ebooks are wonderful. No more panic that I’ve run out of reading material. I can simply download several books at a time and have them ready to read whenever I want to. Ebooks make travel easier and lighter! Actually, they’re easier on my eyes because I can adjust the background and print color, the type size, and font. But there’s downside….no more books on the top shelf of the linen closet to read surreptitiously as a young girld lies across her bed, listening for her mother’s footsteps. No more hiding in the guest room reading about how her body really works (because nurse that she was, her mother was not able to find the courage to explain it herself!) Did I become an addictive reader because in addition to the enjoyment of the books, I enjoyed doing something that my mother didn’t want me to do? Probably, but that bad motivation that led to a wonderful lifelong habit! Let’s hear it for books on top shelves of linen closets and rarely opnend drawers in antique bureaus in guest rooms! Am presently reading Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore – and loving it.

One comment

  1. meg says:

    . . . and I thank you or reading and reading and reading to me as a child. Yep, no electronic books for me – I am deeply grounded in the tactile feel of pages, dog ears, and overall smell of my books. . .I vowed that when I finally lived on my own, by choice, one key componen of my surroundings would be books and books and more books – and that dream is now my life. hugs, Meg

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