Is there such a thing as a Bookaholic? If so, I am a happy one. The picture you see above is just one of my many bookshelves, and the books in this one are three deep. That’s 25 books per row, 6 rows, times 3 rows per shelf, equals 450 books, give or take. I estimate another thousand or two in other shelves around the house and, since I used to own a bookstore, there are another three thousand or so packed in boxes in our garage. Oh, and my Kobo eReader has more than 600 books on it. No doubt about it, I am addicted to books.
I recently read a dystopian young adult novel where the society had destroyed all books. It was illegal to have one in your possession and if you were caught with a book, punishment for you and your family would be severe. I can’t imagine.
Those who know me well have often heard me say that books are my friends. Although I’m pretty sure I can distinguish between fiction and reality, the characters in my books are people I’ve come to know and love, particularly those in favorite stories I read again and again. Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables, Clare Fraser in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Rigg in Orson Scott Card’s Pathfinder, another Clare in The Time Traveler’s Wife, Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Aibileen in The Help. I can identify with these fictional characters.
Someone once told me that they refused to read fiction. They didn’t see the sense in reading something that was, in their estimation, a book full of lies. As a fiction writer, I took exception to that. But I realized that not everyone has the capacity to lose themselves in a good story. I feel sorry for them.
Is every work of fiction I read one that changes me, shifts my paradigm, rocks me to the core? No. Absolutely not. But every now and then a story touches me and I am a better person for reading it.