Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Up For Air

It's time to emerge from my latest reading binge. Reading has to be my favorite hobby of the many hobbies in which I have indulged during my life. I have probably spent as many hours reading as sleeping. I have never understood people who say they don't read. I can understand that they might not read as often as I, but never read for enjoyment? It's almost like saying I don't breathe--it's a concept foreign to me. 

I started this week, by buying three books and checking out four books from the public library. I have three more reserved and waiting for pickup. I have given up buying so many books because my house is bursting at the seams and there's no more room. Thank goodness for public libraries! Never say never, but I would have difficulty making the switch to electronic readers because I am so addicted to the paper books. I like holding a book in my hands. I like the smell of books and the weight of a book sitting in my lap.

I am very possessive of the books I have decided I want to keep. Sometimes I turn some books over to second hand bookstores in trade for other books, but I have some classics that I don't plan to give up. Unfortunately, some folks don't understand that and want to borrow my books. I have to make it clear that I plan to keep the book. I learned the hard way that lending books to people is really just giving them books. They assume I won't remember; then they forget and when I ask for it back, they are insulted and have forgotten what happened to it. Simply because I have a lot of books does not mean I want someone to find a home (other than mine) for it. I have a relative who picks up one and starts reading it, which then forces me to tell the person that they can't take it home because it is part of my reference,does-not-circulate collection. Sometimes I revisit my favorite books, or I want to double check some fact from it.

I know that person would finish reading the book in question, then turn around and leave it someplace, which did not sit well with me. The person is a fan of which is fine for her, but not what I want to do. I'm a fan of public libraries. So I wrote my name on the three ends of pages when the book is closed so that my name was visible anytime the book was seen. Then I told her I would pay to have it shipped back to me when she finished it, which finally convinced the person that I intended to hold on to the book. So she left it on my shelf.

When I discovered books, my world was complete. Sometimes, I bury myself in books for days, stopping only for necessities like exercise, eating, shopping, or laundry. I've been known to interrupt sleep to read. One of my greatest reasons for retirement had to be my compulsion for reading. Now I can indulge myself anytime I want. Needless to say, the only things that top my reading priorities would have to be family and friends--grandchildren trump everything.


  1. I also have been known to get lost in books for days at a time. I love it when I am able to get lost in a book ~ with few interruptions. I have to work to find the balance between all of my hobbies. And I agree with your final statement ~ family and friends and grandchildren are my priority.

  2. Hobbies and grandchildren have to be the highlight of retirement. This time of life is greatly enriched by both.