Books, Books, Books

Bibliophile: (noun) a person who loves or collects books, especially as examples of fine or unusual printing, binding, or the like.
 Wikipedia says, “Bibliophilia or bibliophilism is the love of books. Accordingly a bibliophile is an individual who loves books. A bookworm is someone who loves books for their content, or who otherwise loves reading… The classic bibliophile is one who loves to read, admire and collect books, often amassing a large and specialized collection.”

I would classify myself as both a bibliophile and a bookworm as I both love my books and I love reading. I have always been this way. I first identified with a character in a book when I read of Elinor Loredan in Inkheart. Her heartbreak when her library was destroyed brought tears to my eyes. My books are some of my most precious objects. As much as this book is a children’s series, I enjoyed the idea of being able to read the characters out of books – not that I would want to really do that since the characters removed from their stories are all sad and do not fare well in the “real” world.

I grew up on books. My mother was an ESL teacher and my father loves novels. My siblings are both avid readers. All our houses are stuffed with books and bookcases. Even my grandparents and great aunts loved to read. I was reading shortly after I first began kindergarten. Back then, most didn’t learn to read until grade one. Consistently, I was in trouble from teachers for reading (or daydreaming) instead of paying attention. I didn’t do well in school because I spent more time reading than doing my homework. I still spend much of my time lost in a book – or five.

I’ve done some crazy things while reading. I don’t just limit myself to reading before bed or in the bath. In fact, I don’t dare start reading before bed or I’ll be up until four in the morning so I can finish the book! My baths tend to be two hours minimum. I read while cooking, read while eating, read during commercials, read while in line, read while resting, read while walking, read outside, read while taking out my contacts! If I could figure out a way to read while in the shower, I’d do it! Any chance I get, I dive into the world I’m currently reading.

Reading a book is like watching a movie in my head. Only, in my movie, I am the heroine, the superhero, the sorceress, the mermaid, the lover, the adventurer. I see all. I know all. The character’s life become my own, his journey mine, his agony mine, his world mine, his loves and hates mine. I vividly see each and every described item. I hear the voices; see the plants and animals; live the life. I have cried at the end of a particularly enjoyable book just because I feel the loss of a well loved “person”. I have sobbed at the loss of a poignant character, as though that fictional being had been a real individual I had known. 

Someone who has not experienced books the way I have cannot understand this. To someone outside of this, I am crazy, a nerd, a weirdo. I am those things. But I am also so much richer as a person from the extent of those things I’ve lived within those books. I am hardly ever bored. I can discover the most amazing things just by staring at the patterns on a blank wall. I put myself to sleep going over the adventures I have lived that day in my chosen book.

This deep enjoyment I get from reading transfers to the books themselves. I love the feel of the cover, the weight of the book, the slightly musty smell or new paper smell. An e-book is not the same. I can’t fall into the story the same way as I do with a physical book. It is lacking in some fundamental way. I found a “poster” on printerest the other day and it resonates completely: “The idea of e-readers taking over and the art of printed literature dying out makes me want to cry.” I completely agree.

So I build and build my library to the reaches of the ceilings and still books spill off the shelves and into other rooms. They pile in the bedrooms, the bathrooms, the living room, the kitchen, the office, the family room, the den… I try and downsize by getting rid of the ones I read but didn’t love but it’s fighting a losing battle. My dear husband is going to make me another set of shelves to surround and go over the doorway between the den and the family room. I can hardly wait! Already I can see how it looks and it looks wonderful!

I don’t quite know how to end this blog. For me, it is like a miniature version, perhaps a small chapter, of the life and mind of me. I’ll see you later. Maybe I’ll even meet you somewhere within the pages of my favorite books…

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ken Durocher said,

    Chris and I have been collecting books for over thirty years together. We have incredibly eclectic taste in books. I have up to five books “going” at any given time. Some is fiction some is non-fiction and I read for many reasons, not the least of which is enjoyment. When I left Cold Lake I had to give away over 3000 books because we didn’t have the capacity to move them all. However, the library is building back up again.

  2. 2

    purrrkitten said,

    I’m a little scared to count how many I have… I’m afraid it’ll make me feel like I need to give some away… 😛


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