OK so the first step to solving any problem is recognising you have one. My name is Jenny and I’m a Bibliophile, or book-aholic. I’ve always had a fondness for books and reading. My granny always impressed upon me the importance of reading, anything and everything, just always read. I always did read when I was younger. Harry Potter was of course, a shelf staple, and I read most of the Jacqueline Wilson books. But then when I got older and actually had to start studying for that Leaving Cert. thing, I ran out of time for books. I also developed a fondness for computer games and I went out socialising a lot more so I had even less time on my hands and my free time was taken up with other activities. In previous New Year’s posts from 2012 and 2013, you will see a failed attempt at forcing myself back into reading, and a successful one respectively. I didn’t read one book a month in 2013, but I ended up reading 16 books in the last five months of the year. I was back in all my bibliophilic glory.
Since the beginning of 2014, with a more ambitious resolution of 24 books to read in the year (I’m already on my 11th so I think I’m set for that) I have developed the side of the addiction that is dangerous…to my bank account. I can no longer walk into a bookshop without needing to buy a book – or several as the case has often been. Like I said, this is the part of the problem I’m working towards recovering from. It started with Gone Girl, and Gillian Flynn’s two other books. I got them for Christmas. I actually got Gone Girl twice, which gave me the opportunity to change it for something else. So I exchanged it for Michael Grant’s Gone – a series with six books in it. I was already diving into a big commitment, but I didn’t see it that way at the time. The next few weeks are a bit of a blur, I’m not sure what order it all happened, but one thing’s for sure, I did not simply buy the next five books in the series; no, that would be logical and not at all an addiction, merely practical.
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snicket
I remember being in Dubray bookshop on Grafton Street. I only needed to kill some time. Not much, just half an hour, maybe less. I only meant to browse, honestly. But then, I saw a peculiar cover. I’ve always been attracted by unusual covers. They’ve often been good to me with the quality of books. I suppose publishers and book PR teams are paid a lot of money for a reason. Anyway this book was called The Circle, and it sounded intriguing, but then so did The Book of Lost Things. Then I happened upon Divergent, I’ve been meaning to read that, and I think it’s a movie soon. Which one of these should I buy now? I suppose I could get two but definitely not all three. That’s excessive. You can’t afford it…
Suddenly I was at the till. “Just these three, is it?” Oh God don’t invite me to look for more. “Can I help you with anything else today?” No, I can’t! Don’t tempt me please! “If you like The Book of Lost Things you should come back for his other one, Nocturnes, it’s very good” It’s only over there, I could run and grab – no. Just these three. It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that I still hadn’t even moved on from Gillian Flynn’s books. I had a series to move on to, and I just bought three more books, one of which was the start of another series, and none of which were part of the series I was supposed to read next.
While that sounds like a rock-bottom experience, I didn’t stop there, I of course, sporadically continued to buy the rest of the Gone series but I didn’t stop there. I rekindled my Goodreads account and found yet another series (Chaos Walking) and bought the first one, as well as The Girl With All the Gifts. And Misery, because I’ve always wanted to read it. And the rest of the Divergent series. And Stephen King On Writing, just ’cause.
I had a problem, it was time to admit it. I’ve stopped buying books now, I haven’t bought any new books in a month, except for the last book in Divergent (which is the series I’m currently reading). I’ve browsed Hodges Figgis several times without having to buy anything, and I was in Dubray once, and I found another book I want to read when I’ve finished all my other ones, but I did not buy it, and I won’t until I’ve read all my other ones. My bank account and I are in recovery and I think I have the addiction under control; I am confident I will only buy books now if they belong to the series I am CURRENTLY reading, or if I’m on my last book and need something new. I’ve heard there are others like me. It’s nice to know I am not alone.
PS I’m also OCD with my books. I like the covers in a series to match, which is why it took me so long to buy the last one in Divergent, I despise “movie version” covers, and I think there should be some jail time for people who dog-ear books – especially if the book does not belong to you.