Books piled on the hearth, stuffed into bookcases, littering tables and counters and even splayed open on the back of the couch. This is my living room in all it bookish glory, where volumes substitute for china in the corner cabinet. In the bedroom, the shelves on my headboard and the top of the headboard bear precipitous stacks of books. These become a problem only when a pile falls onto the head of my sleeping husband. To say I read a lot would be an understatement.
I must confess, my example has not been good. My daughter now piles books here, there, and everywhere. At least I don’t pile mine in the middle of the floor. She does. Often it is two piles, in fact: one for books that have been “read” and one that has not. She is adamant that these piles must not be mixed. When trying to clean up, I often move the piles so I can sweep or vacuum, eliciting a squawk of protest from her that “you’re messing up my piles!” “Books belong on the bookshelf, not on the floor where I need to clean,” I reply. “But your books are all over,” she points out. (She has me there.) “But not on the floor where people need to walk,” I reason, self-righteously.
Not only do I use books for entertainment and information, I use them for therapy. When I’m depressed I do not reach for a Hershey bar, I reach for a book. To be more accurate, lots of books. When my husband finds me sitting on the couch with piles of books beside me, behind me, and obscuring my feet, he asks: ‘Are you working on a project?’ If I say yes, he just sighs and waits until I’m finished and ready to participate in life again. If I say no, his antennae go up. Time for an intervention.
While I do love chocolate, I find books much more therapeutic. They last longer, are re-sellable, won’t make me feel guilty of adding pounds (unless I spend days on end sitting like a lump on the couch, which is fortunately impossible with a seven year old), and they occupy my mind completely, thus distracting me from my malaise.
It could be worse: I could have a serious Ferrari-collecting habit . . . .
Do you have a vice? Perhaps you sleep with a teddy bear discreetly tucked under your pillow during the day. Maybe you dream about desserts. Go ahead, let it out. We won’t judge.