self-confessed bibliophile

I love books. I've been reading since I was four, and the greatest punishment I could get was to be banned from reading for any amount of time. I would read in the car, in the bathroom, lying on my bed, sitting under a tree, or while surrounded by noise. My family loves to tell how I would eat soup with a fork so lunch would take longer and I would get more time to read. I never walked out the door without grabbing a book, which meant that when I started driving I had no idea where anything was located. My father couldn't understand it, but I honestly only looked out the windows when forced. They rest of the time I had my nose in a book. The surest way to start a fight at our house was to start reading a book that someone else had already begun, leading to the rule that whoever started the book had dibs on it until they finished. Which meant, of course, that certain crafty siblings would start several books, reading only the first page of each, thereby ensuring that they had a book monopoly until the next new books made their appearance.
We fell in love with words.
We didn't watch television; we didn't play sports. We read. We knew nothing of pop culture, modern music, or current trivia, but we had read everything by James Herriot or Peter Jenkins and had more than a passing acquaintance with the classics. We were known, if bored and currently bookless, to pull out a dictionary and start adding to our vocabulary. (Do you know what a "gymnosophist" is? Can you correctly pronounce "imbroglio"? We did, on both counts. That's what happens when you read the dictionary.)
Of course, I was never as enamoured with hard books as my father thought I should be. Once, convinced I was reading entirely too much Gene Stratton Porter and Eugenia Price, he assigned me a two-volume biography of John Quincy Adams. The first chapter contained a paragraph covering half the page, describing how old he looked. "He was old, old as the mountains, his skin wrinkled and ashy as the dust covering the hearth. Old, old, old." Or at least that's how I remember it. I never got past the first page. And since my dad has a short memory, he forgot that he assigned it to me.
In second grade, the only year I attended public school, I was given a chance to choose my reward if I got straight As on my report cards. I wanted to spend a whole entire day at the library. They said yes, and I was in heaven. A day of nothing but reading? I could ask nothing more of life.
I married a bibliophile, though he wasn't bitten quite as hard as I. One of our very first home furnishings purchases was three bookcases, each six feet tall. They're full now, and there's another box of books sitting on the floor, waiting until I figure out a way to squish them into place. (Maybe if I move my cookbooks to the kitchen there will be room.) There are currently books lying on the floor on both sides of the bed, stacked on the coffee table, and resting on the back of the commode. (My bad habit, not his.)
So today? When I got a new library card for Stark County? I finally feel like I actually live here.

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~ by wildeyedwonder on January 19, 2006.

5 Responses to “self-confessed bibliophile”

  1. Yes, well, perhaps if you return some of the books THAT ARE MINE you will have room for all of yours.

    sniff.

    It’s been quite lonely without my books.

  2. Laura, I found your blog through Noah’s blog. 🙂 (I’m his sister, btw)
    Very cool post! Brings back many fond memories of my early childhood!!!! My mother instilled in most of us kids a love for reading. Every day after lunch she would read to us – C.S. Lewis, Little House on the Prairie, The Trolley Car Family, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, Little Women, etc… Going to the library was our FAVORITE thing to do! Alas, we moved to Nowheresville, OK where the library ONLY has 50 year-old women romance novels. Bleh! Now that I’m in college though I have plenty of reading to do. And, yes! I have been caught hiding in the bathroom when I was supposed to be studying with my nose in a book. 😉 I seriously think you read far more advanced literature than I, though. 🙂
    Anyway, very inspiring!
    ~ Becca

  3. We shall raid her shelves when we go out to visit! (I think you have some of my books as well.)

    Either way, I have vowed to go pay off my library fines and take up reading again. I miss it. And my vocabulary is becoming rather dull.

    (Though, yesterday I picked up Walk Across America and I cannot figure out for the life of me why my eight year old mind was fascinated with that book. The man could not write!)

  4. Ahhh…James Herriot. It never ceased to amaze me how he could take a fairly hum drum occupation like being a veterinarian, and make it so darn fascinating. The man had a gift for creating eccentric and lovable characters, all of whom were a bit crazy, but for some reason you just couldn’t help being intrigued by their odd little antics.

  5. I’m glad I am not the only child who loved books that much 😉

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