“My name is Peary Perry”.
“Welcome, Peary Perry”.
“I am a bookaholic.”
“Welcome, Peary Perry, bookaholic.”
suppose that’s how it would go if there was such an organization.
I probably need to join some kind of social group to be able to restrain my book
buying, book saving compulsion. I can’t seem to help myself and am in danger of
spinning totally out of control.
When we moved some months ago, I know we had more boxes containing books than
any other item in our house. I have quit trying to count how many we have scattered
all around each room. I tell myself I’m going to stop buying new ones and start
reading the old ones, but somehow that just never seems to happen. Long ago I
stopped feeling huge amounts of guilt because I have books which were bought twenty
years ago that haven’t been read as of yet.
Now, to be honest most of
the books I have not read are all reference books of some sort, not novels. Well,
that’s not totally true; in fact that’s a lie. Years ago, I signed up for some
program called “The 100 Greatest Books of All Time.” Each month for 100 months
(almost 9 years!) I got a gold edged leather bound book in the mail. Little ditties
like ‘War and Peace” and “Tristam Shandy” and that all time favorite…. “The Peloponnesian
War.” Books that you find really difficult to pick up and slip off to some quiet
corner for an afternoon of light reading enjoyment. All 100 of these came with
a synopsis outlining the story and plot. I can’t even bring myself to read those.
So, they sit in a bookshelf looking marvelous which elicit comments from visitors
from time to time. Comments such as … “Oh, how nice…I suppose you’ve read all
of these?” I guess I should look for someone or some place to donate them to before
I die, I don’t want anyone to have to move them again. Too much trouble.
I don’t keep novels, once I’ve read them I tend to pass them along to someone
else to enjoy or throw away. My wife reads a lot of the things I happen to like
so she gets first dibs and then they go to whoever is interested in the leftovers.
She and I differ in our reading beliefs. Once I start a book, I’ll try to finish
it unless it’s really, really bad. I mean really, really bad. I keep thinking
it might get better if I just wait long enough. She won’t do this. She starts
one, and if it stinks, then she has no problem stopping, not going to waste her
time. As you can guess, I find this hard to do.
I get on one subject and
tend to stay there until I just get sick of it. Before my surgery in June, I had
gotten into a group of novels that were 1200 pages long. I think I did about six
of them before I gave up and surrendered. I felt like these people were taking
over my life. Then I found a mystery writer and read all thirteen of his books.
After the last one, I panicked and found myself in our local book store searching
the shelves in a sort of daze much like some drug addict looks for their next
fix. I’ve done Roman history novels, World War I and II novels, spy stuff, murders;
English naval novels…just about anything entertaining that I can get my hands
on will satisfy my craving.
I shy away from westerns and science fiction,
but everything else is fair game as far as I’m concerned. Historical fiction is
the best if it’s done right.
I no longer belong to any book of the month
club. I guess they’re still around, but I kept getting things in the mail that
weren’t interesting and you have to pay for them or ship them back. Do they even
have book clubs anymore? I never really liked the way the pages looked on the
ends, like they were torn rather than cut. No one could ever tell me when they
looked that way in the first place. I do remember they weren’t all that cheap.
Especially if you forgot to mail in the little card each month telling them you
didn’t want that month’s selection. Some of their selections were really awful,
but you still had to pay for them. I’m sure this is how they made their money.
I suppose my addictive habit is somewhat harmless, it keeps me off the streets
and out of the bars. Besides you save more money buying books than you can buying
glasses of wine these days. And you still have something to give away.
But, then that’s another story.
© Peary Perry
Comments go to email@example.com
From North America - October 7, 2009 column
in 80 newspapers
| Columns | TE
Online Magazine |