This weekend I am not going to buy a book.
That doesn’t seem like a big deal, does it? But to me it is. This is a conscious decision I’ve made, almost a resolution and there are reasons (yes, reasons plural) for it.
I can’t tell you the last time a weekend passed where I didn’t end up at a bookstore. I feel like my book-buying has almost become compulsive, like if I don’t buy a book then what do I do with myself? Part of my Saturday usually consists of me wandering around, a book or four (or five) clutched in my arms as I try to choose which to take home with me. It’s like Sophie’s Choice. My Barnes & Noble wishlist (I think we all know why I don’t have an Amazon wishlist) has 482 items currently on it. That’s a lot to choose from. How do I pick a favorite? The answer is that I usually don’t. It’s so hard to pick just one that I normally end up buying two or three. I limit myself to no more than three per visit because, really, but my TBR pile is a little ridiculous. Also, I recently thought about looking at my bank statement and seeing how much money I spend on books a month and I realize I’m too chicken to do it. I don’t want to know. I think I’m better off not knowing. I buy books more often than I buy food. Or clothes.
These weekly bookstore treks are on top of buying books on-line. This doesn’t happen very often, but there are times when I know the store doesn’t have what I want so I let on-line take care of it for me. Occasionally I get a coupon that is only good on-line and I feel that if I don’t use a book coupon then somehow I’ve failed. I don’t let these internet purchases get in the way of my weekend buying. Oh no. They’re two separate things.
I made a mid-week trip to the bookstore on Wednesday. I had read an interview with Cheryl Strayed on-line and I suddenly knew I had to go out and buy Wild. Never mind that it’s been out for over a year now and I’ve often times picked it up and then set it down. I’ve known that I was going to eventually buy it and read it, but for whatever on Wednesday I felt like now was the time. Except, I’m in the middle of Life of Pi. And I have stacks of other books to read as well. There’s no guarantee that Wild will be next. There was no logical, legitimate reason I couldn’t wait to buy it, I just felt that I had to go and get it.
So. This weekend I’m not going to buy a book. Not only am I not going to buy a book, I’m not going anywhere near a bookstore. I can’t. There’s no way for me to resist the temptation.
My name is Elise and I’m a bookaholic.
I remember being a teenager and having a boy in my room for the first time. It was exhilarating and nerve-wracking and we had to keep the door open, so what to do? My bedroom was so tiny that even at its neatest and cleanest there was barely room to stand in the middle of it, and it was hardly ever neat and clean. Boy and I sat on my bed and in my nerdy-girl way I pointed out my favorite shelf on my bookcase. The other shelves were taken up with knick-knacks and odds and ends acquired in the brief seventeen years of my life, but my favorite shelf was the one that contained actual books. And not just books, but my favorites. The ones I wanted people to see and know just by looking at them what kind of person I was. (So ya’ know, they were mostly Anne Rice, which sure enough tells you all you need to know about 17 year-old me.)
I currently do not have enough shelves to hold all of my books. If you were to enter my house right now, you would assume that I’m building a fort in front of my couch, due to the four piles stacked in front of it. I recently went through my collection and weeded out some books I will never read again and have made some room for my book castle to be shelved properly. I haven’t gotten to the point of actually doing it, because my inner-librarian is trying to figure out which ones will go where. Because seventeen years later, I still have favorite shelves. The ones I want to draw attention to and the ones I want you to never look at. A carefully placed photograph or a tiny bowl holding seashells draw your eye away from the copy of Summer Sisters shoved as far back as it will go. (I would take a bullet for Judy Blume, but I’d much rather guests look at the shelf with Salinger and Shakespeare and assume I’m intelligent and well-read than assume I’m a normal human with guilty pleasures.)That Dia de los Muertos jewelry box? It’s there to obstruct your view of my crossword puzzle dictionary.
I suppose if I were a normal person I would arrange my books alphabetically by author or do something with genre or even by color. But, no. My books are arranged in such a way that only makes sense to me. Some of them are arranged by theme, like my shelf of mysteries. Some of them are arranged chronologically by when I read them. Some of them are where they are for practical reasons. There’s just no way for the giant Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker to live anywhere other than on a bottom shelf. And my cookbooks (that are read and rarely ever used) are close to kitchen. In writing this, I realized that I subconsciously put Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Joyce together on a shelf above Man Ray because they all knew each other in real life.
The problem that I face with my newly created shelf space is how do I arrange the books that go there? They’re all TBR, so I don’t know them well enough to know where they fit. It’s certainly a problem that my nerdy seventeen year-old self would appreciate
Since this Music Monday thing started, I keep thinking about The Police, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” This was probably one of the first songs I knew to be related to a book. Was I 10 when it came out? Maybe. Something like that. But it certainly helped that it made reference to “that book by Nabokov.”
More recently, Elefant was also most certainly inspired by the character “Lolita” as well:
When you wear those pretty dresses,
I forget the girl in you …
Am I wrong for loving Lola?
Am I wrong for what I think?
She is such a wicked child
Here’s something a little different. In the really referencing Lord of the Rings department, we’ve got Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On”:
Mine’s a tale that can’t be told,
My freedom I hold dear;
How years ago in days of old
When magic filled the air,
‘Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair.
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up
And slipped away with her.
Here performed with Foo Fighters:
And in the embarrassing reveal about myself department: I spent years under the delusion that there was also a KISS song inspired by LOTR. I was certain they wrote a song about Strider. I guess the lyrics never came into play for me…I just knew it was about Strider so I never paid that much attention. Until one day I listened a little more closely. So here it is, “Strutter,” covered by The Donnas:
I thought this would be a good little follow-up to my most recent Miscellany post. Here is “Haunted,” by Poe. This was part of an album of the same name that was created as a counterpart to the book House of Leaves … written by her brother, Mark Z. Danielewski. Did you know they were related? I did not! So there you go.
In fact, Mark does the excerpt reading in the video for “Hey Pretty”
Another thing I did not now. And there you are.