But I don’t Wanna be cured – a blast from the past from April 2012

*Sorry to BFP you guys, but I had a horrible night.  I think I’m channeling Emily because for some reason my shoulders feel broken at night — I think my pillows are in bad shape, and I’m a side sleeper.  At least I hope that’s it — then the morning was full up.  So, here’s a post on addiction.  Enjoy.*

“The truth is, I’ve got a monkey on my back, a habit worse than marijuana though not as expensive as heroin.  I can stiff it out and get to sleep anyway……..  The fact is I am a compulsive reader.  Thirty-five cents’ worth of Gold Medal Original will put me right to sleep.  Or Perry Mason.  But I’ll read the ads in an old Paris-Match that has been used to wrap herring, before I’ll do without.”  Robert A. Heinlein, Glory Road.

My name is Sarah A. Hoyt, and I’m a reader.  Unlike my struggle with writing, which more closely resembles an unhappy love affair, where I’ve walked away several times, only to be pulled back by the stories that form spontaneously in my head, I can’t say I’ve tried very hard to give up reading.

This is weird, because any way you look at it, reading is expensive.  And like with any drug, once you’re good and hooked on a series, you’ll do anything to get the next fix.  Anything, including but not limited to spending the grocery money for the week because, well, you can live without eating for a week, but you can’t live without reading for a day.

You know you’re an addict when you face this dilemma and the little voice at the back of your head goes all helpful.  “Buy it,” it says.  “Think about it.  Food you can only eat once, but books you can re-read for years.  You are holding cumulative days of enjoyment in your fingers.  Buy it, I say.”  (If this were the little cartoon demon sitting on my left shoulder, he’d be wearing glasses and carrying his own little book.)

Part of it, as in any addiction, is habit.  I won’t say that I don’t remember a time I couldn’t read, because it’s not precisely true.  But it’s only not precisely true because I also remember learning to walk.  So I remember lying on my stomach on a sun-warmed patio with a stack of comic books and trying to remember what the words were that my brother had read to me when I last had that book in hand.  I know I was reading – and attempting to write – by four.  For this my brother – nine years older and with no resistance to nagging – is largely to blame, since he read me those same comic books over and over again.  It also helped that Portuguese is largely phonetic.  But most of the blame must go to my parents who had absolutely no concept of “age appropriate reading.”

When I entered fifth grade, I was shocked to find most of my classmates were still reading lavishly illustrated books with more pictures than words, and on subjects as exciting as “Anita” (the girl who did everything in Portuguese children’s books) “Takes an airplane trip.”  I’m not saying I didn’t read those too.  Of course I did.  Some of my less than clued relatives gave them to me for my birthday or Christmas.  I didn’t mind, except that of course, they didn’t last very long at all.  And by that time I was fully into Clifford Simak and Robert A. Heinlein and Asimov and Anderson and Rex Stout and Earle Stanley Gardner and Agatha Christie.

Actually birthdays and Christmas were a great source of annoyance.  You see, my parents didn’t allow me to tell the sweet old relatives that I just wanted money.  That was unmannerly.  But as short on money for books as I always was, the best I could do out of those festive occasions, should the relatives be informed that I liked to read  Science Fiction, was Jules Verne or H. G. Wells.  Until I was old enough to go to school in the big city nearby and discovered I could exchange books at the bookstores, I read all of Verne and H. G. Well, of course.  The problem was that they weren’t “real” science fiction.  Not about the future as I’d like it to be.  Also, the translations were often awful.  But I read EVERYTHING.

I read Dumas (yes, all of them, even the ones that appear to have been paid by the word) and Sir Walter Scott and Twain.  My parents eventually told my relatives that it would be easier to give me Portuguese Historical novels or history books.  And even later, they sort of gave up and started giving me money to buy books.

By that time my brother and I were on an equal footing as addicts.  Often the only money we could spare would buy us half of that month’s science fiction release (one book per month, yes.)  To this day he chortles that my marrying an American saved us the epic fight we’d otherwise have had over who got to keep those part-ownership books.

Portugal doesn’t have – or didn’t in my day – public lending libraries.  Not even subscription libraries as those found in Regency England.  It has a public library but it is more like our library of congress.  And every new school I entered had what they called a “library”, usually stocked by some well meaning lady in the previous century.  So, did I read the manuals of young ladies’ deportment and lives of saints that those mostly consisted of?  Duh.  They were print.  And any print is better than going without.  BUT being me and unable to leave well enough alone, I thought of all those kids who wouldn’t be so lucky as to come from a family of bibliophiles with hundreds of books laid by and hidden everywhere from the attic to the potato cellar.  Every school I ever attended I started a library club which held fundraisers to buy books, and which requested of the parents one book for the library, in commemoration of their kid’s graduation.  Even in college, I vastly improved the American Library.  Okay, at least I filled it with Science Fiction.  I think it was an improvement.  (I’ve wondered, if I can get the address, if we could convince Baen to donate to it.)

When I became an exchange student, in 12th grade, for the first time I entered a house with no books.  No, this is no disparagement of my host family.  My host mother, particularly, was very kind to me and responsible for who I am today.  But they weren’t readers.  Not really.  My host brother and sister read magazines, but that was about it.

So… my first day in the US, in Stow Ohio, I made them take me to a bookstore.  I bought Assignment In Eternity.  Then I found the public library.  You lucky sons and daughters, you don’t know how good you have it.  I volunteered at the library because then I could check out unlimited books.  And I did.

When I found myself newly wed and broke, we set aside 3 quarters of our entertainment money for books.  And like all junkies, we quickly discovered where we could get the most book for the money.

Now, when I’m hard pressed and under the gun, I might just reread the familiar, so that I can put it down and go back to work.  A riveting book can cost me five hours work time, you know?  I start it and then have to finish it.  Heck, I can only exercise to audio books, which is costing me a small fortune.

And yet, I don’t want to be cured.  Let them say we read this much because we can’t handle reality.  I say reality is for wusses who can’t handle fiction.

181 thoughts on “But I don’t Wanna be cured – a blast from the past from April 2012

  1. Hi! I’m Drak and am a book addict. Better give me more books or I’ll “burn you out”. [Very Big Dragon Grin]

    1. Fine, here’s some copies of Beowulf, Dragondoom and The Hobbit.

      [Even bigger grin]

      1. There was a big stack of various “My Little Dragon” adventures and “Hello Wyrm” books in that corner over there (the one in the seventh dimension.)

          1. Yeah, well, YOU get to tell the seventh dimension it’s superfluous. Let us know if it listens because it tends to slip when annoyed.

      2. Smaug got what he deserved for being a bad neighbor. It’s been too long since I read Beowulf so I’m not sure about the dragon he fought (although IIRC both him & the dragon died). As for Dragondoom, who wrote it?

        1. Here’s the Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon. And her Castle Hangnail — yes, that is a gray, long-eared dragon on the corner, and it’s an accurate cover.

  2. i understand, I am the same (not at your level, mind you). my mother taught all of us kids ( I am the youngest of five) before entering first grade. I always had a book in my hand, so I wouldn’t get bored. standing in line, read. waiting for the bus, read. etc. etc. etc. even today, I take my book to work so during break, read. sometimes people look at you oddly because I have a book open, not a phone. I general don’t notice because well Lt Rico is on the bounce, Prince Roger has just pulled out his sword, and I am exploring a new idea of “usian”.

    1. And with the new tablets/readers (I have a kindle Fire I love) I’m never without something to read. As my daughters have learned If I have my kindle with me I can be happy anywhere. Oh and for those of us that are introverts having a boo (or substitute) to pull out means we can retreat from interaction we don’t desire.

    2. My father’s standard response to the complaint, “I’m bored!” was, “Have you read every book in the house?”

      I’m currently trying to wean myself off of my phone/tablet to get back to the large stacks of unread books. Then again, I do have several dozen (perhaps a couple hundred) PDF and EPUB books I haven’t gotten around to yet.

      1. My father’s standard response to the complaint, “I’m bored!” was, “Have you read every book in the house?”

        That is so much better than “Here, let me give you something to do, then!”

      2. None of my family were readers. My mother couldn’t understand why I wanted to be in my room reading Simak and Laumer instead of standing out in hundred-degree heat being gnawed by biting flies. I wound up locked outside for “healthy play” more than once…

        1. My mother used to force me to go outside too. I used to stick a book in my waistband, pull a shirt over it, and smuggle the book outside to read it.

  3. To this day the most horrifying tale I have ever seen is “Time enough at last” But then I would have just searched every damn “for eyes” franchise in my state (or country) till I finally found a pair of glasses that worked well enough, and probably rebuilt civilization in the process, resulting in no longer having the time to read. Damn it, now I wanna write that stoy too. Damn you Hoyyyyyyyyt.

    1. IIRC there was a Horseclans short story, minus the books, about a guy that did just that. Got so fed up with being sidelined because he was nearsighted that he ventured into the ruins and wreckage and came back with several sets of frames and two boxes of lenses.

  4. Ironically, Em’s starting to sleep a little better. Only awake 1-2 times a night.

            1. Wish I could give it to you. I’d love to have an uninterrupted night’s sleep myself.

  5. My name is Alma and I’m a book addict. I base how much I pack for trips based on returning book weight. I didn’t mean to, I was just going to get a postcard or two, and a history of Hungarian castles, a guide to early Christian sites in Carinthia, a biography of Archduke Johann (the odd one), a book about St. Hemma, and four archaeology volumes leaped into my suitcase! I tried, really did, but when my Dad said, “You won’t pass this way again . . .” what could I do?!? I couldn’t leave the last copy alone on the shelf. *sniff*

    If you’ve taken your e-reader to the bookstore coffee-shop, because they won’t let you bring in books, you’re an addict.

    1. . . . if your coworkers and Department Chair all turn to you and ask if you have a book about [topic] and you say, “Yes, middle bookcase, second shelf, back row.” you might be an addict. (Or mildly OCD).

      1. A few years ago, I wrote on my blog that you knew you had a problem with books not when you got partway into reading a book and realized that you already owned a copy of it, but when you purchased a book that you already knew you owned, simply because it was easier than trying to find your copy.

        I’m trying to mitigate that problem with a book database program. I have almost all of my books cataloged, but location information is a little harder to keep up to date.

        1. I had the “more than one copy” thing happen to me plenty of times.

          It even happened with some ebooks.

          I purchased an ebook from one ebook store only to realize that I had purchased it earlier from another ebook store.

          Oh, I created an Access database to help keep track of my books, dead tree or e-versions. [Smile]

        2. That’s easy – I keep them in alphabetical order. Except for the stacks on the floor, and beside the couch, and on top of the refrigerator…

    2. I don’t remember if I linked you folks the Professor Scott Hahn basement theological library of Steubenville video yet. But yeah, if you have to reinforce your house or install a complete shelving system, you might have a slight book purchasing/reading problem.

      1. Holy Carp! I’m impressed. And jealous. Ox, Ass, Maidservant, Wife, Nothing about not coveting libraries (it is a theological library…).

  6. When money was tight I was a regular, like every week or even more often, visitor to one of the three used book stores in town. Always felt somewhat guilty as I knew full well that neither author nor publisher benefitted from my purchase, but I could get two or even three times the books for the same amount of cash. And better yet, should I encounter a book I didn’t fall in love with I could trade it back for half its face value against more books.
    Of course now I have my Kindle and carry my next month’s reading list in my shirt pocket. Is it a sign of my addiction that I very carefully select all my shirts by whether the pocket is large enough for my pens, a pack of note cards, and the Kindle?

    1. Down the street about 1/4 mile was a used book store. They had a rule trade 2 paperback books + a dime got you one of the ones off their shelf. I cleaned out almost all the Scholastic books I had bought in 3rd-5th grade to get SciFi. My actions (and those of a person who I’d later meet who did the nearly same thing) made them institute a new rule, In Genre books (Romance, Mystery SciFi/fantasy) ONLY books of the same genre would be taken in trade. After that I just paid the 1/2 cover price that was the other option, but not before I had most of Heinlein, and lots of Niven,Clarke and Asimov’s books as well as others .

  7. My name is Tom and I’m a book addict. I started reading SF in the 6th grade and have never stopped. In JHS the teachers tried to slow me down due to my grades. It didn’t work.

    1. Point of order: the correct term is Biblioholic. Sufferers of this addiction are know for constant compulsive reading, often to the detriment of ordinary activities and relationships. Biblioholics can often be spotted by their ink-smeared fingers, bulging pockets and book-bags, and numerous paper-cuts. They can often be found lurking around newsstands, libraries, bookmobiles, coffeehouses and barbershops. You can often spot them gazing raptly at the magazines and tabloids in grocery check-out lines, sitting on park benches and in shade trees indulging in orgies of bibliophilia.

      Recent technical advances in treatment for this syndrome have led to significant breakthroughs in the form of e-readers and audiobooks which enable sufferers to meet their daily reading requirements without excessive burdens or limitations.

      If you or someone you know suffers from biblioholia, please consider donations to your local library or reading room.

    2. I perfected the art of reading a novel under my desk whilst also (mostly) paying attention in middle school and high school. My wiser teachers just left me alone, and most of my classmates in a particular class stopped teasing me about it when I caused our class to win the book reading competition…by about two hundred books in front of second place…

      I love my ereader. Thousands of book on one device–and better yet, it is MUCH easier to read and walk at the same time with a kindle than it ever was with a dead-tree book!!!

      1. Three comments, one somewhat rude, two … anecdotal.

        1) Middle School? Weren’t you a little slow?
        (Apologies and cautions against further deliverance of straight lines.)

        2) We were surprised when, in first semester* of Middle School, teachers asked us to please persuade Daughtorial Unit to hide her books inside the school’s assigned texts. They accepted she was able to read while following class discussions, they accepted she knew the course material, they accepted she knew the course material better than the textbooks (having spoken up to correct the identification of Czechoslovakia as a nation when it had just dissolved), but they feared other, less capable students, would get themselves into trouble by following her example.

        3) I find that when I walk for exercise I am able to walk much further, much longer and much faster if i can engage in a book while doing so. I usually don’t even walk more than ten or twenty paces past the home driveway at walk’s end.

        *And only. Homeschooling began, first as supplemental then (after snow effectively cancelled school in January and February) as full time directed self-educating process. When it came time for her to provide a reading list for college application she didn’t bother listing everything and we still suggested she pare it by 67% in order to make it credible to admissions officers unfamiliar with her.

        1. I don’t know about Sara, but I went the other way around from your kids and was homeschooled through fifth grade, so it wasn’t until middle school that I even had lectures to read under the desk in.

      2. I was allowed to read when I was done with exercises and tests. When someone tried to complain, the reply was “She is obviously reading something that has nothing to do with the subject (I read fantasy and sci-fi books obviously) and she’s not writing on her test paper any more. She is very obviously NOT cheating.” The alternative was I sit outside the classroom reading. Not so much when I was in college, but there were times I had a professor shoo me out of class ‘so you don’t get too bored.’ That was a problem if I liked the class! (And obviously liked the prof too! I had interesting teachers.)

  8. I’m not an addict. I just refuse to quit reading. My Christmas/birthday/[insert gift occasion] present list to the kids is generally books. Mostly, they indulge me. When we moved down from Chicago, we had three hundred boxes of books, only because I donated almost all the fiction paperbacks to a charity before we left. I haven’t stopped buying, since. (Snelson can attest to my floor-to-ceiling library shelves, which are 95% hardback non-fiction (fiction and paperbacks are stored in other rooms).

    Unlike most so-called reading addicts, I have a room dedicated to this activity: my library is reserved solely to reading (no TV or any other distractions, no sirree). And the shelves were custom-made to fit the room — the “short” (6′) one separates the library from the entrance hall, and the tall one serves as a room divider between the library and the pub, which is dedicated to serving my other non-addiction.

    1. To paraphrase Mark Twain, I’m not an addict, I can quit anytime I want (just as soon as I finish this book.)

      Why, only last week I quite several times.

  9. Try one of those memory foam pillows that’s shaped to conform to your head and neck. No, this is not a spam post. I’d been suffering from neck, back, and shoulder pain for, well, way too long. At least a year, probably more. A relative basically browbeat me into getting one of those pillows. I resisted for a while since I thought they were a gimmick, but we found them on a good sale at Costco and I broke down and bough one. Let me tell you, one night sleeping on that pillow made me a believer. I’ve been pain-free ever since.

    And FWIW, I’m a side sleeper too.

    Sorry for the derail. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled comment thread.

    1. Derail? Here? The place with 40 comments related to snarking a C4C post? Inconceivable!
      I sleep side, back and stomach (though less that than years ago. Back more often as the Kitten now Cat Allie Alvarado thinks my chest is her bed and likes to body flop there and purr me to sleep.

        1. C4C means “Comment For Comments”.

          People are making a comment so that they can “click” on the “notify me of new comments” box next to the “Post Comment” button.

        2. now you did it. Comment For Comments, then check the “Notify me” box down under the logout link
          RES has gotten creative lately with his c4c reply

      1. I recently added ibuprofen to my evening medications because I discovered that the weight of my shoulders, while sleeping on my side (which works best with the CPAP), was inflicting intolerable pain on the down-side shoulder and arm. Treating the inflammation has proven effective — but I have had no recent surgical alterations to complicate the rest.

        1. I just have to eat an Alka Seltzer relief chew before going to be to help kill the reset heartburn, and occasionally have to add a copper bracelet to help with some left arm pain.

    2. I wound up with a thinner pillow, rolled up at the bottom to support my neck so my airway is straight when I’m laying on my side. Sometimes it takes some arrangement to keep the pillow from interfering with the CPAP mask, though.

  10. I’m such a book addict I work at a library and have four bookcases in my small apartment.

    1. I long ago stopped counting the number of books and simply figured them according tot the running board feet needed to shelve them (not much space spared between shelves, either.

      A local Indy bookstore offered a frequent buyer card: ten punches (one each book bought) and the next book was free. In the days when our money was flush it wasn’t uncommon for our family of three to knock out a card in a single visit. I even tried to convince them to amend their promotion so that every hundred books earned a free bookcase.

      I used to evaluate a coat by the number of books I could carry in its pockets, although that was the days before goat-gagging became a popular publishing sport. (I always figured if Heinlein could liberate Luna in a mere 300 pages any thicker fiction had a high hurdle to justify its page count.)

    2. A former college roommate once threatened my life (only half-kidding) if I bought ONE MORE bookcase…

      (I reminded her that I, not she, was the one who had to move all those books…)

      1. The last time I moved my only vehicle was a Triumph Spitfire. There were only five seven foot tall bookcases back then…

  11. Before I entered school, my parents read to me a lot- they later told me I liked having newspaper daily comics read over and over. They did not push teaching me to read before entering school, my mother later told me, because the then-current educational dogma was that it could be harmful to push children to read before age 6. In any event, once I learned to read in 1st grade, I commenced reading a lot- which suggests that I wasn’t irreparably harmed by that delay. A house full of books and magazines did not inhibit the development of my reading habit.

    Your comment about the dearth of public libraries in Portugal reminds me that many of the public libraries in the US were funded by Andrew Carnegie, that capitalist robber baron. I wonder what Jose Saramago, the Portuguese author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and who was also a Communist, thought of that?

    In the dog-eat-dog capitalist US, primary and secondary students do not pay for textbooks. In many countries in Latin America , primary and secondary students have to pay for textbooks. Including , I believe, that paragon of equality and concern for the poor, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

      1. One of the proofs of how racist the US was in the 1950s (and it really was) is that the free text books Black kids got were the ratty poor. Condition ones the white students had worn out.

        SJWs are so fargin’ parochial it hurts.

      2. In America students pay for textbooks, just not in direct cash outlays.

        Read almost any contemporary schoolbook and you’ll understand my meaning.

  12. My mother taught me how to read before 1st grade. In 3rd grade I was almost thrown into the slow class because I never knew in the group reading sessions where Dick, Jane, or Sally were. On the day my mother had a conference with the teacher and learning experts to give her the bad news that I was retarded, my teacher snuck up on me and snatched “Podkayne of Mars” from behind my social studies book, and looked at me really funny. After the conference that evening, I was sent to the library for the regularly scheduled reading classes for the rest of the year.

    I do remember a substitute librarian telling me once I couldn’t take books from the adult section, only the children’s section. My mother straightened her out on that.

    My wife and I have 3 kinds of books on the shelves. Hers, mine, and ours. We know which is which.

    1. Obviously the teacher had never actually *read* Podkayne of Mars or you would have been hauled down to the office for posession of materials inappropriate for a third grader…

      I just re-read that book a couple of weeks ago, after maybe 35 years. I think the kind of child-rearing described in the book would make educational heads explode nowadays.

  13. I’m not addicted to reading; I can quit any time I want. I just can’t imagine ever wanting to.

    Those years where I just kept rereading Heinlein and McCaffrey because I was not interested in what I could find in the bookstore were not symptomatic of withdrawal.

    One of my earliest memories is being excited at turning 5 years old because I could get a library card with my own name on it instead of having to have my mom or brother check out the books for me.

      1. I did a Solinus presentation once on the top 10 reasons books are better than drugs. From memory (the files are at work) some of the reasons were:
        –You can leave your stash laying on a coffee table without worrying about the cops.
        –You don’t get fired if your employer finds you reading on your lunch break.
        –There aren’t road blocks set up to catch drivers who’ve recently finished a book (or who are consuming recorded book product while driving. Though both Dave Barry and Lady Chatterley’s Lover might not be the wisest choice)
        …but I do remember the. #1 reason:

        When you expand your mind on book it STAYS expanded.

        1. Reason 1 is why I still keep paper books. I can’t eat without something to read, so each car has several “car books” which mainly exist to be read when I go to a restaurant.

          I can leave a paper book on the table when I visit the buffet, secure in the knowledge that absolutely nobody is going to touch it while I’m gone. If I left a tablet reader on the table it might not be there when I got back. Also, a tablet is very difficult to operate one-handed; I can hold a paperback in one hand and flip pages with the same hand, but the touchscreen requires swiping, which is awkward when all available fingers are covered with Mongolian chicken sauce.

          1. Also, that fat copy of Dante in the back seat won’t go dead after 6 hours of sitting on the New Jersey turnpike waiting for the storm to pass…

            BTW you can by inexpensive portable books stands that fold flat and can be used for both books and tablets, for reading one-handed.

        2. > drugs

          On the other hand, the right “gateway book” can spread the addiction. I’ve turned two non-readers into readers by handing them L. Neil Smith’s “The Probability Broach” and telling them, “Here, read this. It won’t hurt you.”

          1. I don’t know. That book wouldn’t hurt them but if reading it led to them reading Forge of the Elders, reading Forge might harm them. [Very Very Big Kidding Grin]

            1. The Probability Broach, the Venus Belt, and then The Nagasaki Vector, which I always found ROFL funny… after those, Smith’s political ranting went up to 11 and his writing quality went into the toilet; even the later Win Bear books aren’t worth bothering with.

              But with the Broach and the Vector… they might not be to everyone’s taste, but I’d gladly pay for more of the same.

    1. Since someone had mentioned libraries with ebooks, I hit my local library’s web site last night to see what they had. When I tried to reserve one I got an error message saying “something is wrong with your card number, please go to your local library.”

      So I went down this morning and found my library card had been canceled since I “hadn’t used it for a long time.” That would have been two years ago, when I ILL’d a book about shinkansen trains… so I had to fill out a form for a new card.

      Even though I’ve had a card at that library since 1969 – indeed, half a dozen of them, starting with a cardboard rectangle with a numbered metal staple in the middle – this is a “new” card. They wanted state-issued photo ID, and they’ll send me a card in the mail. In a couple of weeks. Maybe. This is something they used to do right there at the counter.

      When I asked why the delay, the librarian said “background check.” I have no way to tell if that’s true or just something to blow off an enquiring citizen…

      1. Wow! Good thing you weren’t trying to do something limited only to citizens, like cast a vote or something!

      2. Maybe you misheard, or she misspoke? When our public library system requires proof of identity it’s because we need to confirm that you are indeed residing in our service area (or a service area with which we’ve negotiated reciprocal borrowing privileges) as well as to be sure we can track you down before loaning out physical items. Some of them are worth $100s of dollars. It’s good fiduciary responsibility with the taxpayer’s money.

        Mailing you the card logically solves the problem of a lack of valid proof of address. For kids, we mail them a postcard saying “Your kid signed up for a library card. Bring this postcard back to get it activated” But there’s no way to work around bringing in your passport, driver’s license, etc.

        If you have proof of ID you can get a card in a couple minutes across the desk. If we have to work around your lack of ID, it takes a while longer. This is really a balance between responsible management of public resources and public access to same.

        Unlike quite a lot of our gummint, public libraries do a fair job of this. Probably because they’re local entities and thus still forced to respond to the public they serve. Also most librarians have a pretty fierce service ethic.

        Thought some are better than others, and there are bad apples in every bunch.

        1. I believe, (not certain it is still policy) our library accepts a current utility bill as proof of address.

  14. I think it was in Second Grade, the dear sweet teacher-lady wanted us to write a one page book report on every book we had read over the summer.

    She took me aside after I had written ten. She said “Charlie, you didn’t REALLY read that many books over the summer, did you?” And I said “I read ten books the first week.”

    I was excused from the asignment.

    I seem to recall that she retired shortly after that year. May not have had anything to do with me, I suppose…….

    1. I bless my senior high school English teacher, who–having known me for a few years at that point–just grinned when she handed me the list where we were supposed to write down the books we “read outside of class” (or in class, in my case…) because she knew I was going to fill half the page or more…

  15. My folks said I didn’t know where I was going when I started to drive, and had to learn where everything was, because the minute I got in the car I was reading a book.

    1. That was me. Also my mother before me, whose own father ended up forgetting her at a store on one occasion because she was always so quiet and reading, he didn’t realize she wasn’t in the backseat until he was halfway home.

      As for her, she didn’t panic, she just sat down and continued working her way through the comic rack until her father showed back up…

      1. And I curse the day I started getting carsick while reading in a car. (Not that I don’t anyway, more often than not, and damn the nausea)

      2. We bought a new car with consideration of head room in the back, in anticipation of Daughtorial Unit’s anticipated height.

        We had no idea the blessing the back seat’s “airplane lights” — tightly focused spots that illuminated Daughtorial Unit’s reading matter without interfering with the driver’s night vision — would prove so incredibly useful as they eventually did.

        And when she learned to drive she evinced the same handicap y’all experienced, having read her way through town virtually all her life.

        1. That’s because the middle class wants nothing more than a house outside the urban core; can’t have that without a car, although Amazon is making it more possible than ever before.

          1. most people who grow up outside cities–suburbs and beyond, know how to drive.

  16. In the famous words of der Terminator: I’ll Be Back.

    In the interim, please keep me copied on all interim comments and messages.

    1. You know it is an addiction when, while moving, you quietly consider donating your traveling wife’s much loved shoe collection instead of your books. Frankly, the kindle probably saved my life there.

      *PS That, and the fact that my wife is gullible enough to believe that her missing shoes were lost in the move…

  17. hardest thing I did was selling off most of my books. Was so broke I maxed my cards buying food and paying utilities, and needed food … so, sadly most of the books had to go. I miss the Tim Zahn ones the most.
    But, being a Baenhead I didn’t part with the hard covers, or paperbacks with the rocket ships.

  18. My name is Chuck and I am a reading addict. When I was a teenager I would read 5 SF books in a day. Don’t have time for that now, but I could still do it. (Well, it depends on the size of the book)

  19. My name is Pat and I’m a reading addict.
    There is no point in giving me presents other than books (or ammunition) since I promptly re-gift everything else.
    My best early memories were of my mom reading to me at night. I particularly remember ‘Sunny Elephant,’ which is not available anywhere for less than $300.

    1. Can you give a complete title and author? A Bookfinder search only turned up THE ADVENTURES OF SUNNY THE ELEPHANT AND HER FRIENDS, and prices start at $8.49.

  20. I’m still kind of surprised that Ms. Hoyt can’t feed more of her reading habit from her public library. Don’t they have e-audio and e-books? Or books on CD? I’m getting the impression that my Colorado peers are weak sauce.

    1. It depends on the library, really. I’ve been finding less and less that interests me at my local library and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same in the Springs.

        1. The only reason I didn’t give up on the library in Castle Rock in disgust while I lived there was the fact that they had almost the entire Richard Sharpe movie collection on hand (Sean Bean doesn’t die!). But the book selection…bleh.

          1. Whatta ya mean, Sean Bean doesn’t die?

            Sharpe’s Honour:
            Aide: Should I serve sherry to the Spanish officers, sir?
            Wellington: Damn it, Stokeley, it’s an execution, not a bloody christening.


            Admittedly, he recovers.

    2. Libraries are good for “mainstream” (gag) novels, mysteries by popular authors, and whatever tripe is being pushed on Young Adults this decade. Less good for anything obscure enough to not be LIRP idiocy. Usually downright awful for SF (though I have had some luck with my local; somebody working there apparently likes Baen).

      Interlibrary Loan is tour friend. I’ve gotten books that were published only ONCE, half a century ago that way. But in some libraries it costs.

      OTOH, Librarians seem to love people who use it. I think it’s because it stretches their Librarian muscles a little.

      1. The regional library network added a $3 postage fee to ILL because of budget cuts. $3 is cheap for a $600 law book, an obscure German history book, and other strange stuff. And yeah, the librarians like to play “guess the project” when they get my ILL requests.

      2. Was at a con panel on libraries and a librarian was discussing the effect of the single, unified system, not so much on loans (the original intent) as — well, first you hook up all the American university libraries and stuff, and then it spread outward, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia — and slowly you get a really, really, really good picture of how many copies of any given book really exist.

        She once picked up a book pretty much at random at a sale and when she entered it into the system, she found that it had been published in Milan, and the library at Milan had a copy.

        1. WorldCat database. My friend for life. (In part because it keeps me from stuff like ILLing a book that has two copies in the US, both in reference collections.)

      3. My local library acts like I’m making them execute a favorite pet every time I do an ILL.

        I usually put requests in for obscure engineering texts that don’t show up on Abebooks or other sellers. Sometimes copies come from interesting places; West Point, religious colleges, General Motors’ own engineering library… I can see where a corporation that size would have its own library, but who would have thought they’d lend 75-year-old unobtainium books to some unknown schmuck via ILL?

        1. Too bad you got the grouches. I love doing ILL: It’s an excuse to log into the pro edition of World Cat which gives me access to library collections around the world. I can get you books from universities in South Africa.

          We really do live in a golden age of information.

    3. I’m sure Denver has more than the springs does. what if the library doesn’t have what she wants to read.

      She should start an Amazon Wish list so that we can buy books for her.

        1. I bet you can get a Denver library card and hence e-access too. I have a friend who has (free) cards in something like seven local library systems, including a city that’s an hour away from where she lives.

          That’s disappointing about Colorado Springs. I thought all Air Force towns must have really good public libraries, since Beavercreek and Fairborn libraries are both so well-supported by Wright-Patt folks. Colorado Springs is a lot bigger, too….

          1. Springs has gotten strange over the past 15 years or so. The strange fogs trickling down from Boulder and up from Santa Fe/Taos seem to have struck them.

            1. I have many audiobooks. They’re the only sleep aid that works for me. If Denver is is sadly lacking I’ll see what I can do for you.

            2. It might be worthwhile getting in touch with the Denver public library (they have e-mail and 24h/day online reference (Live! Live! Librarian chat :-p)
              Here: https://www.denverlibrary.org/ask

              Ask which library systems have reciprocal borrowing privileges with them. You might already qualify to be a member (now I sound like Publisher’s Clearing House) Here’s the page for library card e-mails: https://www.denverlibrary.org/content/email-library-card-question

              If you qualify based on where you live, you can order your card online here: https://www.denverlibrary.org/library-card. This is to use their free e-book and e-audiobook downloads & databases. (Oh cool: they have the OED online. Have you ever played with that? It’s AWESOME) You need not be present to win, er, get a card good for the online stuff. You only need to show up and present photo ID if you want the on-dead-trees stuff.

              If either of your sons is going to Uni in Colorado they can get a Denver PL library card even if they’re not otherwise in the service district.

              Yeah, I know. I’m like the Amway saleswoman of public libraries. If you Kindle though, their library e-book borrowing system is the easiest to use bar none, so I hope you can take advantage of it.

  21. People would ask my mother how she got her children to read. My mother would answer she couldn’t get us to stop.

  22. I’m a bibliophile who married a bibliophile. When we moved from our first apartment, we had to go through and purge the extra copies of our books (5 copies of The Hobbit? Really?) and a great number of them ended up in storage. They’re threatening to take over the apartment and those are just the ones we HAD to buy in print form. The kindle library we have would make the place unlivable if we had them all in physical form.

    I give books as gifts and try to go out of my way to find ones the person receiving them would really like, children especially. An offhand comment of “Susie really liked that Meet Molly book you got for her” will result in a complete collection of the American Girl books I think are worth a damn. (Molly, Samantha, Kirsten, Felicity and Addy. Josephina in Spanish when they’re a little older)

  23. I was reared by Edgar Allan Poe, Alexandre Dumas, Charlotte Bronte, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Throughout the years, books have plugged me into the brains of wonderfully imaginative people. Reading is a habit that has immeasurably enriched my life.

    When my son was in first grade, I was called in for a conference with his teacher. She regretted to tell me that my son was having difficulty in reading and several plans to assist him. I was incredulous. He’d been reading for a year by then. When I protested that her plans weren’t needed, she gave me this pitying look saved for parents who couldn’t accept shortcomings in their offspring. I could see all my protestations were useless, so I called my son into the classroom and handed him a book. As he fluidly and expertly read aloud–not stumbling on words like Pensacola–the teacher’s jaw dropped. I thanked him and let him rejoin his friends outside playing. He was allowed to join the third grade class for reading that year.

    1. We had the same problem. Robert wasn’t reading the books provided. He’d been reading since pre-K and he read mostly Roman History (Middle school, after the first disastrous fiasco that caused us to find out he could read.) Class didn’t have Roman History. He also read Pratchett. Weirdly, teacher thought he couldn’t read AFTER CONFISCATING JOHNNY MAXWELL TRILOGY he’d snuck out of the house and was reading in class.

      1. Yeah, I had more than one teacher sneak up and yank a book out of my hands. Apparently sitting alertly and pretending I was listening was important to them…

        1. I think most of my teachers were relieved to have one student sitting quietly, staying out of trouble. I kept my grades up and participated in discussions–I just tuned out in lectures, busy work, or wasted time. Some teachers lose sight of the purpose of school–surely it isn’t to bore kids out of their minds.

  24. I was such a compulsive reader as a child that, if I didn’t have a book to read at the breakfast table (the only meal to which I was allowed to bring a book, I would read the cereal boxes. I was a library aide through junior and senior high school so I could spendmy study halls in the library. My parentsmost efeffective punishment for me was not grounding, spanking, or any other restrictions of that kind, it was to take my books away. Worked every time…

    1. My parents tried that — until I extended “no reading” to my schoolwork and told my teachers why. 😎

      Stubborn? Moi??

    2. Yeah, I never understood grounding.

      What? you mean i have to go to my room where all my books are, and stay there for half-an-hour without interruption from my obnoxious siblings? Deal!

    3. My parents tried that one a couple of times. It didn’t work, though. They couldn’t make it stick (being bibliophiles themselves) and I sneaked books when they did try.

      A frequently heard shout when I was a child “SARA, GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM I KNOW YOU’RE READING IN THERE!” (Who do they think I learned it from…?)

      1. We’ve had more than one person come out of the bathroom exclaiming “There’s BOOKS in there!”

        On the other hand I was at a chain restaurant a year or so ago and used the men’s room. There were LCD TVs in every stall, running the Chain Restaurant Advertising Channel. If that starts becoming more common I may wind up carrying a can of spray paint…

  25. My name is Professor Badness and I am a bibliophile(holic). My wife (Masked Pain) is a bibliophile. My two children are bibliophiles.
    My only saving grace is that I am a slow reader. It takes me a week or two to finish a medium size novel. This has allowed me to actually accrue books faster than I can read them.
    My wife and children read much faster than me. Our house is lined with book shelves. My wife’s favorite painting is of a set of shelves covered in books.
    Any potentially pricey purchase is always considered with the question, “But how many books could we buy for that?”
    Our lives revolve around the written word. I have seen so much of myself and my family reflected in the comments so far that it is almost scary.
    Yet it fills me with hope as well.

  26. My name is Phil, and I am a lapsed bibliophile….. I have been getting the twitches and tics lately, but I will be okay. Ever since my kindle died it’s been like this. Reading books on my smartphone just doesn’t cut it…I can’t carry the latest series and still pack a lunch. While great for my waist line (not to mention upper body strength) fainting at my desk was frowned upon.

    That being said, I was introduced to these vile drugs at a young age by having that evil harridan (she said she was my mother) reading such works as “Robinson Crusoe” “The Hobbit” and “Tom Sawyer” as bed time stories. Even worse… She NEVER FINISHED THEM. Just left them lying there waiting to be picked up. Ah the librarians new me by reputation if not name. Teachers would be upset with me for reading the wrong material in class. Sad really, when you would call a book assigned for class reading as shallow, uninteresting, and mindless… I will get better. As soon as I find that crate of books I stored last year for such an occasion.

  27. “When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

    Ever since hearing it I’ve identified closely with this quote from Erasmus, although I’m not entirely sure how positively he meant it to be.

    1. This prompts me to get down on my knees and give thanks for having been born into a time of cheap abundant reading matter (unlike Erasmus.)

      It is startling to consider how recent a phenomenon this is, an artifact of only the last 250 or so years (and cheap reading is far more recent.)

      There should be a world-wide holiday on Guttenberg’s birthday.

      1. Slightly off topic. In the latest “Schooled In Magic” book, Chris’s hero had earlier introduced the printing press to the magic world and now she learns that the school she’s attending has found it necessary to ban porn. It seems that her printing press has increased the amount of porn in the magic world. [Evil Grin]

        1. Did it also include a way to produce cheap paper?

          ’cause that was as important as the other. Monasteries would begin the process of writing a book by calculating sheep breeding, to get this many lambs and in due course this many sheepskins.

          1. I don’t think that was a problem in the magic world (or Chris didn’t think about it [Wink]).

      2. Can you imagine how some of those ancient-medieval-pre-affordable-reading-material-times bibliophiles would react to the sight/idea of an ereader?

        I’m not sure “rapture” would cover it…

        1. Shucks — imagine their gaping at a typical church book sale.

          Thank Heaven for the Black Death, creating such an abundance of rags and shortage of labor that mass production of books became practical!

      3. Unintended Consequences: Gutenberg’s cheap printing process made it possible for various religious and political groups to print handbills and tracts and distribute them widely, eventually setting off new a chain of wars in Europe.

        Prior to Gutenberg information was much easier to control; cheap printing let any nutball disseminate his views as widely as the official story.

  28. The Exchange book selection here in Bahrain is…adequate, if you’re not a fast reader. They do have a selection of different tastes. Not MY taste, but when I got here I had already read all the books I packed, and I can’t take my Kindle in to work. Amazon usually gets things here within two to three weeks, but for that first two or three weeks? I bought companion books for a video game I don’t play, read fanfic for shows I don’t watch, and raided the breakroom book shelf for anything, anything at all. Fortunately for me, my household goods arrived after two months, with my six bookcases’ worth of books. Fortunately for my movers, that was in May, before the really nasty heat arrived.

    Everyone in my family is a reader. I used to have to take a wagon to the library in order to transport all the books I would check out. I loved the Books a Million in Waldorf, Maryland because it had actual shopping carts so I wasn’t straining my shoulders to carry all the books I was buying.

    But I’m not addicted. It’s just that if my brain isn’t occupied reading, it starts plotting very bad things. Reading keeps me sane. Or at least functional.

    1. And from the sounds of things keeps everyone safe around you, if not world wide? 🙂

    2. As I was saying above to Sarah, you can probably check out ebooks if you ever had a library card in a US library system that is doing Overdrive, etc. Libraries rarely remove one from the system, and often one can sign up for a card online. It’s possible that nation-restrictions may exist, but in that case, I think anonymizers and proxy access stuff are perfectly okay.

      (And if you worry because you’re not currently paying city/county taxes, library systems also accept money in the form of Friends of the Library donations.)

      So if you can get access to multiple libraries, or to one library with multiple sources of ebooks, audiobooks, etc. (my library does both Overdrive and Hoopla, so I could check out at least 40 ebooks a month, and some libraries subscribe to even more systems than that), you can feed the addiction. 🙂

      1. Oh, I’m good now. Amazon is my best good friend. That first couple of weeks really sucked, though. My next ship, I will have a lovely large hard drive full of books and movies/TV, oh yes. I am planning it right now.

        One time, at Great Lakes RTC (I wasn’t in boot camp at the time, just coming back on active duty), it got so bad that I was reduced to reading the Twilight books someone had left behind. May it never get that bad again.

        1. Once, I had to return all my books to the library and get none out because we were going on a trip — in a week.

          That was when I started writing.

  29. I can remember when I learned to love reading. It was at the end of first grade, when:
    a) I got my glasses, and
    b) my mom let me buy Pippi Longstocking from Scholastic, even though it was far beyond my reading level, and we were on a very tight budget.

    I took half the summer to read it, then turned around, and read it in half the time. After that, there was no stopping me.

    Mom is still thankful that for whatever reason, Dad couldn’t make the eye-doctor appointment that day, so they took me, since they had to pay for it anyway. Otherwise it might have been a couple more years before they caught that I needed glasses, and who knows whether I would have ever been able to catch up with my peers.

    1. The Daughtorial Unit did acceptably well on eye exams until one day at the pediatrician’s the doctor’s daughter was helping out by running kids through the eye charts. Not having a rote methodology, she tested Left Eye first, whereupon we discovered Daughtorial Unit had been memorizing the chart when reading it with the Right Eye and reciting it from memory on the second eye.

      Not the D.U.’s fault that she had reached second grade without anybody explaining that she wasn’t supposed to memorize the chart. It was reading — of course she remembered it!

      1. Chuckle Chuckle

        In grade school, I thought everybody closed one eye to see what was on the blackboard clearly and closed the other eye to read. [Smile]

      2. I was far-sighted, could see the chart across the room fine,just couldn’t see what was in front of my nose. There was no way the school was going to catch it, they are looking for the much more common nearsightedness.

  30. It is fun to read about people who are even more deeply addicted than I am. Work interferes with my reading and when I was younger my other addiction to adrenaline (skydiving, motorcycling, etc.) often took precedence. The kindle with one click ordering is quite dangerous to my finances.

  31. I’m addicted to reading… I am currently re-reading the Black Jewels. Her writing reminds me how to use description to get the reader immersed in story.

    1. Have you read Diane Duane’s _Stealing the Elf King’s Roses_? It’s urban fantasy in the original sense, and her world building and descriptions are . . . wow. I should be taking notes.

        1. If you haven’t read any of her books, be sure to pick up her 4 Rihannsu Star Trek novels. The first one is My Enemy, My Ally, and they show the Romulans in a way that Trek would have been well served to adopt.

          1. I read that book shortly after it came out, and I remember that I really liked it. I didn’t know she had written more. Looks like I’ll have to scrounge some for the collection…

        2. I really loved her Young Wizards books. Or at least the first three, which is all I really ever read, though I believe there are more in the series. The first one is “So You Want to Be a Wizard.”

    2. Are we talking about the Black Jewels “Trilogy” by Anne Bishop?

      Since when does a Trilogy contain (at least) nine books? [Smile]

        1. Piers Anthony once joked that he didn’t know that “Trilogy” meant Three Books. (or words to that effect). [Smile]

      1. Well when I first read her it was a trilogy and then she slipped in the other six lol… YES read them all. Some of those books a short story collections btw.

  32. My name is Bill and I am a biblioholic. The cost of my addiction has been considerably reduced by a site called paperbackswap.com. Despite its name, you are allowed to swap hard backs as well as paperbacks. When you mail a book out you pay the postage and you receive a credit. The credit entitles you to a book from another member who mails to you and you pay nothing for it. Your only cost is $20 a year plus the postage out for the books you mail. The “media mail” postage averages about $3 per book. When you sign up and offer ten books you immediately receive one credit. It is easy to list the books by IBSN number. If you mention me as the recommending member (wdpollock@yahoo.com), I will receive a credit which I will kick back to you because I already have the credits I need. (I promise I am not an affiliate other than a member.) Check it out.

  33. I am in the last stages of moving to Texas; I am now packing up the rental house I’ll be staying in for my ongoing California visits. I only moved the bare essentials of books in to it to handle occasional visits; down to seven boxes. Now I’m moving even those out and leaving just enough for the occasional visits; about two boxes of books. A lonely outpost indeed.

  34. > the public library

    My local one consisted of one shelf of SF, which only took a few weeks to read. There were children’s books, cookbooks, travel books, romance stories, and a bunch of biographies. As far as I ever found, no general science books at all, and no detective stories. The school library was actually better, but I had vacuumed that long before…

    My house has bookshelves on every accessible wall, though some of the bookshelves are inaccessible due to the books piled on the floor.

  35. My name is Heather and I am a returning book-a-holic. (No, not recovering, returning. I don’t consider it ‘lapsing’ since the dry spell was due to lack of availability.) It was a very long dry spell in which I could discover no new books worth reading. And there was great sadness!

    Now there are new books and new authors and all is once more right in the world. Now if only there were enough money to afford all the books at once.

    I have probably been a book-a-holic my entire life. My first complete sentence slightly before the age of 2 was (in a rather commanding voice to my mother) “Read the book.” I had a devious first grade teacher who read me well. She knew I’d cruise in the top reading group so put me in the second from top and I worked my tail of to prove I should be in the top group. (Which she did put me in for the last part of the year so I didn’t figure out her devious trick until I thought about it many years later.) She also encouraged us to get just about anything we thought we could read from the library. They don’t make nearly enough teachers like that.

  36. I am a book-a-holic. But I must confess I am a baby compared to some of the posts above. I have < 500 ebooks on my Samsung (nook app); granted I reread alot. Got hooked when extended family was moving grandma and a box of stored Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy books were handed off to 7-year old and told to keep self out of the way. However, I was NOT smart enough to marry another book-a-holic (and how). eBooks save a LOT of arguing!!!! Samsung, VS original Nook, also gives him the illusion I might NOT be reading "that stupid fiction".

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