None of us know exactly how we are going to die, but if I had to take a guess now it would be that I’ll get crushed to death under a pile of unread books.
I have piles of unread books everywhere, though I promise you they are organized in my fashion. The books I’ve read and want to keep are on bookshelves, classified by genre, then author, then publication date. I can find any book I’ve read in an instant if no one has moved it which, in my house, is like a 50/50 proposition, because there is something about a part of the house looking neat and organized than makes the household gods crazy and compel someone to touch it and destroy it. The ones I don’t want to keep are either given away or traded in at the used book store.
I have a real compulsion about buying books. I find them everywhere. I’ve found great books in the dollar store, at yard sales, at Goodwill, at library sales, and, of course, on the internet. I love discovering authors no one has heard of before, which is easy to do if you troll the indie books Facebook pages like I do in the hopes that while I’m stalking someone else they will also find me. If I find an author I love, I will instantly buy all their books, even if I know it will be years before I read them all because I really don’t like reading the same author’s books in a row for fear that it becomes too much of a good thing.
Overstuffed bookshelves, to me, are the pinnacle of decoration. My dream house might or might not have a home theater in it, but it definitely has a two-story open-ceilinged library with one of those ladders on wheels and enormous overstuffed leather chairs to curl up in under a soft blanket when you read. There’s dust in the beams of sunlight, but there’s always going to be dust with that much paper in the room.
If I go to your house, and you have a bookshelf on display, I have to look at it. I mean, I have to, in the way that I have to breathe and beat my heart. I will make assumptions about who you are based on the books on your bookshelf. For that matter, if there are no books visible in your house, I will make assumptions about that, too.
Honestly, I think I’ve shed more tears over fictional characters than I have over the real people in my life in the past ten years. That probably doesn’t say anything good about me, but facts are facts.
I’m usually in the middle of several books at a time. I listen to books on tape in my car (which are not on tape, they’re on CD, but I’m old, and I will call them what I want them) and I count that as reading. I have at least two on my bedside table, one serious and one light, depending upon my mood. There is usually one in the living room next to the La-Z-Boy for the five minutes a week in which my living room is quiet enough for me to get my read on. And then there’s my Kindle, which usually has at least two books open at a time, one of which has been for the past few years and will be for the next few years, a book in the Outlander series, which, considering they are like 1000 or more pages each and I don’t often read my Kindle, may never ever be finished. Which is ok, since I’m kinda in love with Jamie Fraser and don’t want to say goodbye to him. (The other one at the moment, in case you were wondering, is the Kura by Mary Patterson Thornburg, another of those indie authors no one knows about but should I was talking about above.)
I always read the book before I see the movie, which means I am rarely going to like the movie, because the characters always look wrong. Two notable exceptions: Harry Potter and The Fault in Our Stars, even though Isaac was way wrong in The Fault in Our Stars, but Hazel and Gus were dead on, so it was ok.
I try to keep up with what my kids are reading, which is nearly impossible now that my son has figured out how to keep a book on his lap during math class and he reads approximately seventy zillion words a minute. (I’d get mad at him for reading during class, but the kid has straight A’s, so……) That’s just as well, because I find that Young Adult literature is often more imaginative and interesting than the blah blah blah same old same old tripe written for real grownups.
Truthfully, I can’t understand how anyone gets to sleep without reading a few pages of a book first.
I’d go on, but I can’t. I finished two books yesterday, and there are about six in the pile next to my bed competing for who gets to be next. I need to go mediate the situation before War and Peace breaks out.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.