June 23, 2014
My name is Mike. I am a bookaholic.
We went to the Ann Arbor Book Festival on Saturday. A street blocked for authors, publishers, and booksellers, displaying their wares on a gorgeous summer afternoon. It also included a pub crawl, or “book crawl” of authors doing readings Thursday and Friday night, and all day Saturday at Ann Arbor book stores and watering holes. I settled into Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Book Store with Karen Dionne’s launch of The Killing: Uncommon Denominator, based on the television show.
Our day ended with a visit to Nicola’s Books on the way out of town. That’s where the addiction was recognized. While browsing the displays I came upon Jonathan Miles’ novel Want Not.
I distinctly remember my last visit to the Ann Arbor book stores, seeing this title at both Nicola’s and Literati Bookstore, and having a huge interest in reading it. There it was, staring at me again, and the thought that revealed my addiction popped into my mind:
Did I buy this already?
I racked my brain. What did I purchase last time at Literati and Nicola’s? It was a mildly agonizing process. I didn’t have it written down on the index card tucked in my wallet of books on my “to get list.” Surely I would have added it if I had left it behind. If I purchase it, then I would have two copies. I suppose I could return it, but for the hour drive to Ann Arbor to do so. And if I hadn’t purchased it, it may not be here next visit (there were only two copies on the display).
Not remembering if I already had a copy of a book that had interested me had to be the sign – the lightning bolt of awareness that I have an addiction. My stack of “to read” books could easily reach the ceiling of my Borders Memorial Library. I am falling deeply behind on all the books I’ve wanted to read – months, perhaps years behind.
It was time. Time to take control of this plethora of pages piling up before me.
I have made a vow. No more book purchases until 3,000 pages have been read.
It will be a difficult restriction to maintain. I am not a fast reader, averaging about 20 pages an hour.
There are three exceptions to this vow, though.
1. I can purchase any of the Borders Classics (soft, hard or leather) that I need to fill my library if I see them.
2. Author signings. If I have taken the time to attend an author signing it is only appropriate that I purchase his/her book.
3. At the end of July, we are going on vacation to New York City. With all the bookstores there, the restriction will be lifted. Being in New York specifically for vacation and to see two soccer matches, the purchasing of books will be of low priority, which should be safe from overindulgence.
Saturday night, I’ve identified the books containing the first 3,000 pages that I am to get through, which includes the remaining pages of four books that I currently have bookmarks in.
I’ve got to get this addiction under control…one page at a time.