Thursday 25 August 2011
My Name is Christine...and I'm Addicted to Books
When we moved in together, the problem was hidden by my illness. For two months I didn't read a single book, and in hindsight that should have been my first hint that I needed to go to the doctor. When you've constantly add a book on the go since you were a toddler (holding a book upside down still counts, you know) then suddenly not caring about reading should have set off the panic alarms. But I had just finished my final college exams in history, a subject well known for its heavy reading list, and we presumed that I was just burnt out. Anyway, even if I had suspected that something was seriously awry, I was feeling way to lethargic to actually do anything about it.
I was married and on honeymoon before I read another book. I was on medication for inflammatory arthritis by then, and felt clear enough to read Breakfast at Tiffany's (I was honeymooning in New York, it was the obvious choice). I only bought one book there, and a magazine of short stories. Again, very strange for me, but I didn't realise it at the time.
Back home, with a fibromyalgia diagnosis finally under my belt and some effective medication, I began reading again in earnest. I discovered young adult urban fantasy, and started writing my first novel. Slowly, my reading climbed up to its pre-illness level, and our Ikea bookshelf began to fill up. So much that we had to buy a new one. Books were stacked on window sills, on my bedside table, and on my office desk. So much so that I started to do that tell-tale addict activity: hide the signs of my purchases.
I was reading a book a day, or at least every two, so I stuffed all the paper bags from bookshops into the green bin when my husband wasn't looking. It's not that he would mind, he's very easy going, but because I was embarrassed.
He recently asked me to consider throwing out my books. I gave around a dozen to a charity shop, and called a halt to it there. He brought up the subject again the other day, talking about how much space my books take up. I now have a couple of cardboard cartons full of books in the cupboard under the stairs. However I pointed out, reasonably enough, that I let him have his Warhammer models on full display, so he needed to be respectful of my collection. He left it at that, though he does seem overly keen for me to get a Kindle. To help my hands, apparently. Hmmm.