Books and I get along well. A little too well. So well, in fact, that I have a hard time leaving them all alone, unwanted and unloved, on the shelf of a bookstore. I feel better knowing that, even though I may not be able to give it all my love for quite some time, it has still found a better home on my bookshelf, and that one day, I will be able to devote to it as much time as I want.
But alas! This is not an ideal situation. It is an addiction, a terribly beautiful addiction. I say terrible because it drains addicts of finances, shelf space, and the will to do anything other than pick up a novel and rifle through the papery angel wings that are its pages, becoming intoxicated by the smell of the ink that forms the divine words within. And even more terribly, yet also an element of its beauty, society encourages this addiction. Bibliophiles are commendable for this habit. They’re thought to be intelligent and educated human beings because of their literary consumption. If only those unperturbed by the throes of bibliophilia knew what it was really like…
I am a self-proclaimed book addict. It started when I was little, when my parents and grandparents started reading stories to me. Then I wandered into the wrong part of the house one day, that dark little alley known as the library. It only took one book. I was hooked. From that moment on, I read whenever I could, whatever I could. I was constantly looking for the next dose of literature, and even was caught catering to my addiction in class, when I was supposed to be doing math.
But it was worse than that. While reading made it very difficult for my parents to punish me (no good parent can take books away from their child!), it also deprived me of things essential to human existence, particularly food and sleep. The power that books had over me was so great that I would simply forego eating in order to finish a section, or ignore the fact that I hadn’t slept in over 36 hours because I had to find out how a story ended. I would push myself to the limits of existence just to continue feeding my lust for literature.
Now, I’m suffering from withdrawal. English major though I may be, the writing I consume for classes is not enough to fulfill my cravings. It is the wrong type of drug for this addict, and I am suffering from withdrawal. Required reading simply adds insult to injury. I have not read a book (or at least finished one) out of sheer pleasure since the middle of the summer, a whopping 8 months ago, and my inner bookworm is crying out for attention. It leads me to the campus bookstore, a place almost regrettably not devoted exclusively to text books. Popular fiction and classics not required for class take up a quarter of the shelves, and it is to this quarter that I am so often drawn. My wallet is endangered every time I step foot into that sanctuary of paperbacks, for though I know I cannot read them right away, I still feel compelled to make a purchase, simply to salve my withdrawal ever so slightly. It is despicable, and yet oh so sweet when I carry a new addition back to my dorm and cradle it lovingly for a few moments before tucking it in with my other drugs. “Someday,” I say longingly, “I will pick you up and let my eyes caress your pages, the sweet type imprinted on them flowing in and coursing through my mind as blood through my veins.”
But until that day arrives, I must wallow in the depths of requisite reading, of knowing that recreational reading is only a few feet away and still so far out of my reach. The only thing that keeps me from relapsing into sleep-deprivation and unintentional anorexia is that I only have to hold out for a little over a month. On May 4, 2012, I will finally be able to become a bookworm once more.