in books, musings

when you can’t resist it, it’s called a compulsion

booksOne of my favourite “teacher-moments” came when I was re-shelving books in my classroom.  To set the scene, it must be understood that my classroom was filled with books. There were nine bookcases of varying sizes, books stacked underneath the whiteboard, books stacked underneath desks, and books stacked on top of the bookcases.  Of course, the tallest stack was the yet to be organized books that I’d bought that week (safely stacked on my desk). So I was merrily adding books to the computer and passing them out to the students hovering around me when one of the girls piped up:

“Miss S–you know how you constantly buy books? Even though you have a lot? When you keep doing something even though you don’t need to? That’s called a compulsion. And it’s a sickness.”


First, I must admit to loving the students who worry deeply about the number of books I buy (and read!). Since moving to the UK, I’ve tried to *mostly* use the library.  Shipping over a thousand books will stall book buying for a bit, I find.  Of course, then I found the lovely (and generous) Bookgeeks who will send me books for free as long as I read and review them. Still, though, I tried to keep the actual purchases down to a reasonable level (after all, what could I do if people were willing to send them to me for free? I would gleefully ask my (lovely and tolerant) husband.)

I broke down, just a bit, this week.  It was for a number of reasons, but I lay most of the blame on Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader and the fact that I have a job interview.  The combination of reading a book (from the library) that I then felt I must own and the remote possibility of a monthly income led me merrily to decide that really, I needed to buy The Uncommon Reader, and if I was buying that book, I might as well pick up a few other books (Rushdie’s Shame and Czeslaw Milosz’ The Captive Mind) to…make it easier for the postman? By sending more mail to the same address?

So those books, along with my latest haul from Bookgeeks, are now sitting on the table waiting to be read (re-read…), reviewed, and enjoyed.  And, if I move quickly, I can blend them in with the rest and pretend I didn’t jump the gun on the whole have-a-job-means-you-can-buy-books thing.

What can I say? It’s a sickness.