Wednesday, January 18, 2006

B is for.....

At first, I thought that B was going to be for Beth which is what my family calls me and I would just tell you about myself. Then, I thought B might be for Boston University which is where I went to college and met my husband and I would tell you about my college years (ahhh the memories).

But one morning, I looked up from my cereal and realized that:

B is for Books.

In my dining room, I have four 7 foot tall bookcases crammed so full of books I've had to start stacking them on top of each other. These are most of our fiction books and most of the books on these shelves are mine.

And then, there are these:

This is in my living room, and these are most of our non-fiction books, although those are really spread out among various other small bookshelves in the apt. depending on where they might be most useful (old textbooks next to the computer for instance, self-help books in the bedroom....STOP THAT--that's not what I meant! *blushing* it's just that I don't like the rest of the world knowing how neurotic I am so I keep psychology-related books in my bedroom, geez get your mind out of the gutter!).

I know you are still giggling. *stern look*

Anyway, I have loved books ever since I first started reading. Reading became my obsession, and my escape from the world. It didn't matter what was going on in real life, because I had my books. Reading probably saved my sanity in my youngers years (and still does on occasion). Parents fighting? Go read a book. Problems at school? Go read a book. Bad breakup? Go read a book. Reading was and is my cure for everything (that and chocolate, but that's another story). In another life I might have become a librarian. Or a used bookseller. When I was younger, I read obsessively and when I was reading, nothing else could get my attention--I was in a completely different (and more interesting) world. My father was the same way. You could literally stand right next to him and say his name and he would be oblivious. My two younger brothers read in this manner, too, but my younger sister missed out on the crazy, obsessive reading gene. I still become completely absorbed in what I'm reading, but I don't read as much as I used to (which was at least two books a week).

When I first started reading, I liked mysteries. I had stumbled across The Boxcar Children books in my school library and loved them to death. A little later, Trixie Belden became a favorite, and also Nancy Drew (the classic ones, not the new ones). In middle school and junior high I read a lot of teen romance paperbacks--Sweet Valley High and Couples (couldn't find this on Amazon--you should see what you get when you just type Couples into the amazon search engine!)--as well as Beverly Cleary, Cynthia Voigt, Paula Danzinger, Judy Blume, and my all-time favorite, Madeleine L'Engle. By late junior high, I found my true love. Fantasy.

I started reading David Eddings and got hooked. When I started reading, his first series, the Belgariad, was finished, and his second series, the Mallorean had just started. I remember when the last book came out. All of this time, I had been patiently waiting until the books came out in paperback to read them, but with this one, I just had to read it. Right now. So, I bought the hardcover--the first hardcover book I bought--and started reading. It was over Memorial Day weekend, and I had to march in the parade in band, so I brought the book with me and while I was waiting in the band room, with my uniform on, I read the book. There is no way I can ever forget this, because a reporter from the town newspaper was there and took a picture. The caption says I was studying. Right.

Fantasy fiction pretty much dominated my life until about 7 or 8 years ago when I decided to give some of the classics a go. I had tried reading Dickens in high school and hated it, but I thought that maybe my tastes had changed a little bit. But, before I got into Dickens, I decided to make a small foray into Jane Austen territory with Sense and Sensibility. That was it, I was hooked. I read the other five in very short order and bought them all in hardcover (that's how you know I really love a book--I buy it in hardcover). Then, I decided to try Dickens again and I loved A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations. I tried the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights made me want to throw myself out the window (I have never read a book with such disagreeable characters--I hated every one of them), but Jane Eyre was lovely and so I also read Villette.

My most recent new area of literature is non-fiction. I enjoy learning and reading about things I did not know about before. I'm particularly interested in epidemiology and read The Hot Zone and The Coming Plague (we're all going to die in a flu pandemic any day now, btw). I also love history and if it's history of science, even better.

I don't just love reading books, I love owning books. I love having an obscene number of books in my house. I almost always buy books instead of going to the library (this is also because I have a leeetle problem returning books on time and run up huge fines). I love the smell of books. Old books smell different from new books--have you ever noticed? I think it may have something to do with the ink. Madeleine L'Engle once commented that books from Britain smelled different that books from the US (at least when she was a child). I read my books more than once. There are some books I've read so many times, I can practically recite them from memory. There are some authors I read specifically when I'm feeling very overwhelmed and frustrated with my lab work. Terry Pratchett comes to mind. He writes delightfully absurd parodies based in a fantasy world. It's perfect for getting my mind moving in a different direction. He's a fairly new find to me, so I haven't even read all of his books yet.

So that's it. B is for books. Or bibliophile. Or bibliomaniac. Your call.

1 comment:

  1. Mmm...books. I, too, come by my love of book genetically. My parents own enough books to open a used bookstore singlehandedly, as long as their customers didn't mind that all the books were mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, or horror. Reading this post reminds me so much of myself....