I am a compulsive book buyer. My dad is kind of relieved; he says that there are worse addictions to have. Of course, that is true, but when you’re constantly having to stack book after book onto an already crowded window sill because you’ve run out of book- shelf space, slowly blocking out the natural light, it starts to become a problem. Now, it wouldn’t be that much of a problem if I actually had time to read all these books, but I don’t. I have hundreds of unread books on my shelves, and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future. And that’s okay.
My books are my prized possessions. Sometimes I Google home insurance just so I can find a way to protect my book collection against a possible house fire. Every time I move in with a new person, one of the first things they ask, without fail, is, “Wait, so… are you really going to read all those books?” No, no I am not. I drive to Barnes and Noble once a week just to browse the shelves, affectionately picking up the books that I want to buy. Walking among the endless rows of books whose worlds I have yet to discover, I feel at home. George R.R. Martin once wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one.” Who wouldn’t want that kind of immortality?
I’ve loved to read since I was little, but my love of reading was reignited when I started high school and read “Harry Potter” for the first time. During my junior year of high school, I read a 1,000-page Stephen King book when I had down time during trigonometry, and the senior who sat next to me kept looking at me like I had two heads. Needless to say, I’d rather read than do pretty much anything else.
In search of other people my age who loved books just as much as I did, I stumbled upon a community on YouTube that loved to read, aptly named “BookTube.” Doing so really didn’t help my book-buying problem, and my shelves reached capacity before I knew it. At the end of my senior year of high school, I attended my first New York City book convention – yes, readers will leave their homes if it means they’ll get free books. Now books permeate every nook and cranny of my house, and to be honest, I don’t even know how some of them got where they are. It’s like they play an elaborate game of hide and seek while I’m away at college.
But even when my dad exclaims “What in the world are you going to do with all these books when you move into your own apartment?” I can’t bring myself to regret a single purchase. For me, every single book that I own brings back fond a fond memory. One holds the memory of a sunny, summer afternoon, reading the day away alongside a slow-moving river as my best friend wades knee-deep in the refreshing water. Another reminds me of the thrill of meeting my favorite childhood author for the first time as she signed my tattered, 10-year-old copy of her debut novel. Of course, I do end up having to donate books fairly often. While they’re in my possession, though, I’m going to cherish them. They give me an indescribable joy, and I’ll never feel guilty for that.
Contact Stacy Silnik at [email protected]