Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bibliophile

I have a problem and it's pretty hardcore. I can't stop buying books. The words, "I'm going to stop by the bookstore" send my husband into a tailspin of fiscal dismay. It's a dangerous place for a woman with a debit card and no self control, you see.

I love books(except sci-fi and fantasy). I want to possess them, devour them, fondle them and exhibit them. I remember as a young teen, visiting the house a friend whose family was much more affluent than mine. They had an honest to goodness library; a room lined with shelves which were bursting with a mind-boggling selection of gorgeous gilt-edged and leather bound classics, multitudes of dog eared paperbacks, and countless hardcover reference books full of vibrant pictures and beautiful illustrations. I fell in love with that room, and I thought that having a library was just about the most elegant and refined thing in the whole world. It became my fondest wish, one that has yet to be realized.

Sometimes I buy books that I'm not really interested in reading, just because they are beautifully illustrated or have interesting cover art. This is especially true of children's books. I also buy children's books that have wonderful verse or enchanting rhymes. I collect vintage children's books when I can, and my most prized are Never Tease a Weasel and Miss Suzi. I remember my Mother reading these books to the three of us, and I can still hear the lilt in her voice. I still remember the dramatic pauses that made us catch our breath in anticipation, and the theatrics that she used to bring the story to life. My mother didn't just read books, she performed them. Perhaps that is why I love them so much today.

I have been known to stay up all night devouring a particularly gripping tale as if on some kind of literary bender. When I don't have reading material, I go into a kind of panic, which I guess is really a symptom of withdrawal when you come right down to it. I start making a mental list of my all time favorites, which line the shelves in our family room, trying to determine which of those I've read long enough ago to get some satisfaction out of re-reading. And I always keep a stash of non-fiction that I really do want to read, but can't bring myself to sacrifice what little reading time I have for them in place of the fiction that I crave. The combination of the two can usually see me through a literary dry spell quite nicely. But still the panic comes, and I must turn to my little mental list to assuage the full on hysteria that threatens.

I have reading "moods" and so, I often have three or four books in progress at one time. Sometimes I want light reading; something engaging enough to turn my mind from all the endless domestic worries, but light enough to give my poor addled brain a respite. Sometimes, I want to be challenged. I want to think. I want to provoke use my gray matter in a way that isn't often precipitated by the complexities of toilet sanitization or pit stain removal. And sometimes, I just want to know stuff. Who, what, when, where, why, how. I want to look into the past, I want to understand the present and I want to revel in the possibilities for the future. My husband, a non-reader (I mean, he can read, of course, but he does not choose to do so for pleasure), finds this an endless source of puzzlement. He doesn't understand how I can switch gears from one to the next without confusing characters and storylines. I can honestly say this has never been a problem for me.

Nothing can raise my spirits more than a new book. The smell and feel of the crisp new pages and the promise of being transported by the story within can make almost any problem seem surmountable, almost any worry seem minor. It's a balm for any wound, physical or spiritual. I can think of nothing more pleasant than curling up in bed with a brand new book and hours of peace and quiet ahead of me. Throw in a little thunder and lightening, and I'm blissed out beyond belief. A crackling fire is a nice touch, but is not strictly necessary for optimal reading ambience. This is a good thing, since the only fireplace in our home is located in the living room, and trying to read there is like trying to meditate in Times Square.

As you might have guessed, I have high expectations when delving into a new book. And I suppose this is why I am so grievously disappointed when it fails to live up to those expectations. I take it quite personally, truth be told. A bad book is the worst kind of disappointment; a betrayal of the trust I have placed in the author by paying money for the privilege of perusing their intellectual property. It makes me inordinantly cranky.

At this moment, I have by my side three new books (featured in my sidebar) just waiting to be experienced. I find this curiously comforting, enormously uplifting, and superbly satisfying. In short, I am a happy woman.

My name is Blog Antagonist, and I am a Bibliophile. Perhaps there is a 12-step program for that, but you won't find me there anytime soon. And if anyone stages an intervention, there will be bloodshed.

Now please pardon me, while I go consume a fifth of Irving Stone with a Tom Perotta chaser. And don't expect anything coherent from me until well into the afternoon. I'm going to have one hell of a read over tomorrow morning.

8 Comments:

  • At 10:17 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said…

    You rock. :) Fellow bibliophile chiming in. A quick glance at the bookshelf to my right reveals 11 new books I purchased and need to read. I look forward to reading them ALL. Especially the Haven Kimmel book.

     
  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Izzy said…

    Someone who loves books as much as I do, if not more!

    I wrote a post a few days ago about this daydream (or would it be a fantasy?) of being locked in a bookstore or library for at least a week so I could discover new books, uninterrupted.

     
  • At 9:50 AM, Anonymous reluctant housewife said…

    I love books too! A perfect day is a day when the Amazon shipment arrives!

    Have any of you used booksfree.com or paperback book exchange? What do you think?

     
  • At 11:42 AM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    Agree and relate to every word in your post. There is nothing more heady that the smell of a book, new or old. I even like text books. My one regret about motherhood is that there is so little time to read. We have a place here in North Texas called Half Price Books that totally rocks.

     
  • At 12:43 PM, Blogger Suburban Turmoil said…

    I still have Miss Suzy from when I was little. I loved it, too. My daughter hasn't gotten into it yet, but her favorites right now are two other books from my childhood- The Little House and Whistle for Willie.

     
  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    Great post! Oh this is Nate to a tee. He just devours books. Me, I love them but tend to buy them faster than I read them. If I get through one novel every few months that's a lot for me these days, although non-fiction is always in full rotation. Stupid full-time job. Well I suppose I could always cut out reading blogs...

     
  • At 10:15 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    My book twin! I currently have 3 (4? 5?) books that I'm reading, of all different genres and challenging levels. My dream when I was growing up was to have my very own library like the one you described. Well, to marry C. Thomas Howell and have a library.

    Unfortunately for my pocketbook, the only Starbucks in the area is located within a Barnes and Noble. I never walk out of there with just an iced latte!

     
  • At 12:14 PM, Blogger firstimpressionist said…

    Great post. I think you nailed the passion that people feel for these childhood favorites.

     

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