Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Once a Book Hoarder, Always a Book Hoarder
If you look around my house you will find bookshelves in every room. Even the bathrooms and kitchen. My husband and I LOVE books - not just reading them, but being surrounded by them. I cannot pass by a stack of books, whether it be at yard sales, bookstores, thrift stores, or other people's houses without stopping to examine them and salivating a little at the thought of holding them.
I've mentioned before that I do actually get rid of them through Bookcrossing. I read them and release them all over the world. But my stacks never actually dwindle because as soon as I get rid of one, I find myself buying 2 or 3 to take its place.
I've tried to trace the roots of my book hoarding obsession and think I can follow it back to 1st grade when I learned to read and couldn't get enough of books. I was in Mrs. Montgomery's class. We had those old elementary school desks that had a hinged desktop that lifted up to reveal the storage space beneath it. That was where you were supposed to keep your pencils, crayons, paper, glue and scissors. I kept those there, along with a dozen or so library books.
During class, I'd often surreptitiously lift the lid and read a few lines of the page I kept open inside my desk. Every chance I got, I was reading and hiding new books in my desk. I got away with it for a while, until I finally had so many books crammed in there that my desk top wouldn't close. Mrs. Montgomery lifted the lid and discovered my hoard. I had dozens of school library books hidden inside, along with all the requisite papers and crayons.
I was in big trouble, apparently. Mrs. Montgomery scolded me and told me I had to stay inside during recess and clean out my desk. I laugh to this day at the fruitlessness of this "punishment." Skip recess and lovingly look through the accumulated books in my desk? I feigned shame at my crime. But truly, it's a miracle that episode didn't turn me into an early childhood delinquent.