Book Nerding It Up

May 12, 2010 at 2:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )


I am not ashamed to admit that I’m a bibliophile. Maybe not as much as the guy (or girl) in this photo, but a bibliophile nonetheless.  In fact, I used to tell a boy I went to high school with that we should get married just so my name would be Paige Book.  Yes, I’m a book nerd like that.

I came across this article today on the New York Times website, and it made me ponder my love of books.  The article, for those of you too lazy/busy/disinterested to read it, basically talks about how lots of people in New York bury themselves under mounds of books.  These East coast book lovers have small living quarters, rarely move and the inclination to bring home book after book after book, until they are literally piled to the ceiling.  There are interviews with people who have rented out storage units solely for their books, people who have been sleeping in their living room for years because they can no longer move around their bedroom and people whose apartments have been deemed actual libraries and are taxed as such, simply because they own so many books.  I am not making this up.

I’m not too worried that I’m going to book myself out of house and home, but that’s mostly because I plan on moving in a year and I know what a pain in the ass it is to move the collection I already have.  It’s not even that big of a collection, though a certain manfriend of mine has given me shit for it in the past.  According to his way of thinking, one library card is as good or better than the overflowing bookcase I currently have (not to mention the stacks that are in front of said bookcase).  I can understand the whole library thing because it makes sense practically, but practicality has no place in my adoration for books.  I like having them around, remembering the trips we’ve taken together and the places we’ve been, the stories they’ve told me and the imaginings they’ve inspired.  I enjoy holding them, turning the crinkly pages of an older volume and finding markings or dog-ears from where I’ve been before.  I love their smell and just glancing at one can take me back to the time and place we first met.  It’s no accident that I’m speaking of books as I would a lover, because my fondness for them runs that deep.  Books have been there for me through relationships, break-ups, sickness and health.  I’ve carried books on five different continents and, in some cases, they were the best traveling companion I could ask for.

Sidenote:  I don’t want a Kindle, or any other electronic book–reading device.  Again, I understand the practicality of such an item but I think it detracts from my whole reading experience.  So, Mom, that’s a no go for Christmas.

I used to get teased a lot as a kid because I would spend so much time with my nose in a book.  What can I say, the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High must have been particularly riveting in those days.  As I’ve aged my tastes have matured (slightly).  I really enjoy a good classic but I’m also a sucker for those quick, easy reads like Steven King.  If I’m going to be completely honest, I’ll admit that I’ll read just about anything.  Yes, I’m one of those people who will read the back of a shampoo bottle if that’s all that’s around.

It probably won’t shock you that I was a little obsessed with the movie The Pagemaster as a kid.  Hell, my (albeit misspelled) name was right in the title!  Also, the fact that the film featured Christopher Lloyd, Macaulay Culkin and Whoopi Goldberg didn’t hurt.  The movie is about a boy who is extremely scared of…well, life in general and somehow manages to give himself a concussion while in a library.  Hijinks ensue and he is transported to a world where books come to life.  I actually just watched this movie again not too long ago and I was not disappointed – if you have children, or are yourself a child at heart, I suggest you watch this flick.  It kind of made me wish I lived in a library and even though I’ve already promised not to let my apartment become so overrun with books that I can no longer find my cat, that doesn’t mean I don’t wish for a fancy home library one day.  You know, something like this:

Ah yes.  My dream library would definitely have the rolling ladder thing going on, as well as lots of carpeting and plush couches and chairs.  And probably a bar.  A fireplace would be nice as well, right?  Of course it would.  One day, one day…

You would think that my passion for reading would inspire me to work in a library.  Well, if I had known what library science was back in the early days of college, perhaps I would now be paid to sit among the stacks.  As it is, I was an English major and was still able to geek out over my reading and writing assignments.  I worked at a Borders bookstore once and I naively thought that it would be a dream come true…little did I know of the corporate world that paid $6/hour to wrangle bratty children and re-alphabetize the same row of books ten times a day.  I didn’t last long at that job.

One day, when I inherit millions from the long-lost relative I never knew I had, I will buy my own bookstore and spend my time reading, perusing and trying not to lose myself in the stacks.  Until then, I’ll enjoy my small home library and hope that I don’t one day lost my mind (and my apartment) like the people in that article.

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