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Turning the Pages

I have a book addiction.

I read ALL THE TIME. My nightstand usually has a couple books waiting patiently for me. I journal about the books I read (I am on the second volume of said journal). It contains all the books I have read for about a decade, plus it is crammed with lists and slips of paper and articles of books waiting to be devoured.

Why journal about this, besides my compulsion to make lists? I have this weird self-important idea that someday a kid or grandkid of mine will want to see what I read and pick a few books out themselves., just to be closer to me. But honestly, the journaling is also about keeping track; I read so much that sometimes I forget I read something until several pages in. Time waste!

Besides the journal, the website Goodreads has made me even more obsessed with chronicling my reading habits. Now I write my reviews there, then print them out and paste in my journal.

Mind you, I don’t buy most of the books I read. I am a frequent flyer at the library (when I do need a book that I can’t get from the library, I visit my local independent bookseller, Excelsior Bay Books. They are awesome).

Recently I started looking for books about an upcoming trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Got on the library website, and looked for everything I could find about the area — essays, travel books, fiction, etc.

At the same time, Amazon started sending me book suggestions “based on my history/interest.” I frankly don’t remember ordering any books from them. So somehow the internet Gremlins cyber stalked me and realized I am a sucker for historical fiction, especially about British royalty.

Amazon’s suggestions sent me down a rabbit hole back on the library website, and I added a bunch of books to my reserve list from that realm.

I am not sure how many books I reserved, but I do know that at some point they told me I had to stop, having exceeded the number allowed to reserve.

And then I got the call: I had books waiting.

A lot of books.

My first trip home netted about 25 books.

A few days later: a dozen more.

I was in trouble. I quickly organized them in order of size, knowing that I would never get through all of thee in 3 weeks, but that I needed to get through as many as possible in that time. The library has a fantastic new auto-renewal system, but I needed to get these books going on my own.

So far this year I have returned 37 books (love that the library now tracks this!).

This is my current pile:

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Books, of course, allow you access to amazing stories. True ones, fictional ones, and everything in between.

In the piles of books I recently brought home, there were some quite old ones — published in the 1920s, 30s, etc.

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Frankly, I didn’t get through them, but just holding them made me feel something. When you open them up, they still have the cool old handwritten check-out slips in them, and I couldn’t help but wonder: who read these books back then? Why? Were these hot new publications back in the day, or did they just hear about them from friends? Did they stumble across them, fall in love, or hate them and not finish them.

These books made me feel a little better about my weird book journal because I am leaving a document of what I read, when, why and what I thought about it. Maybe no one cares, and that’s ok. But maybe someone will. Or maybe, 80 years from now, someone else will check out a book I read, and it will have the patina of age, with butter-soft pages worn silky from years of love. And the reader will go — man, this book is old!

I wonder who read it?

I did.

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