My Addictive Reading Personality

The Who, What, When, Where and Why

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On average I read two books per week. I love to read all topics and genres. Once I’ve settle into a book I can’t stop. Even the worst books I’ve read I finish because I have to know, Why is this story so bad? I need that closure.

I remember as a young girl how safe it felt inside a book. That feeling has remained with me throughout adulthood.

For me reading is similar to the life threatening sensation of desperation when you need another hit off the crack pipe. I’m assuming. I’m in no way speaking from personal experience.

Stories offer an adventure and escape from actuality. Nonfiction provides education and perspectives we may never have considered before. For junkies like me- enough reading is never enough. It’s an unaffordable psychosis I have no control over.

I’m not much for modern technology. I don’t download books to a Kindle or tablet, or my phone. I live in the era of way back when. I go to the public library and check out books, request inter-library loans and attend reading clubs.

My home library is absurd and screams issues of mania. I have hundreds of books dated from 1700 to last month. There are few things we can control in our lives or know they’ll forever remain the same. Words in a book will always be there for us just as they were the first time we opened the cover. The same as an old friend.

Books travel a lifetime with us and many more after we’re gone.

I can read all the books I want with my free public library card. In my opinion the public library is an underutilized creative space for both readers and writers.

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The library is in walking distance from my home. It’s a reason to leave my house on days I’m feeling too depressed and intimidated by the world. I find myself there at least three days a week.

They serve free coffee and popcorn.

During the winter months it’s refuge. Cabin fever when the snow falls and I feel frustrated with my family. Too much time trapped together and on each other’s nerves. I love them dearly but that’s a reality, one in which they feel the same. I hide at the library where there’s a fireplace to keep me warm while curled up with a book.

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The Haunted Bookshop in Iowa City is my most loved bookstore. The shop opened in 1978 and carries over 45,000 titles. Few, if any titles have more than a single copy. It’s Iowa’s oldest interdependently owned bookstore. The books are housed in the ten rooms of a historic boarding home built in 1847. The nostalgia is a potion for the love of reading.

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It’s a second hand shop with many titles I’ve never heard of that spark my interest. I have a strong desire to touch every book and feel them beneath my fingertips. I can smell them as if it were the aroma of fresh baked bread.

It’s a bit of a drive from our house but I make it a point to go at least once a month. The bookshop is equally as much a part of me as the library.

The Haunted Bookshop is key to building up my home library. At ridiculously low prices it’s impracticable to leave empty handed each time I visit. It’s a shop filled with treasures vintage, contemporary and unique.

The Friends of the Library organization have a book sale every three months for ‘at-will’ donations. This helps the library remain alive and available to the public. Many of those books now fill the shelves in my home.

My husband once questioned my irrational collection of books. There’s stacks all over the place.

“When I’m ninety,” I say, “my time will have passed and they’re all I’ll have left.” It’s true. All the stories I’ve read and the journeys I’ve taken, the explorations and things I’ve learned.

I can justify every book.

I’m currently reading, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, written by Mona Awad and before that it was Letters of Sylvia Plath. I read the entirety of 1424 pages in three days. Next will be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s s complete edition of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It’s 1032 pages. I have a ‘new to me’ stack of books patiently waiting on me.

There’s a map of Iowa hanging in my home office and on it I’ve circled all the independent bookstores and libraries in the state. What a dream it would be to travel to all those towns and visit each place. Perhaps a goal I’ll reach during my retirement years.

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Reading is captivating, engaging and knowledge. Books are our world and many other worlds I may otherwise never see. If you can’t find me, chances are I’m inside those pages. There’s no place else I’d rather be.

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Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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