30 May 2007

Bibliophilia Bibliomania? Present.

A wise someone once said: "We buy books because we think we're buying the time to read them." That very well may be one of the most perfect statements I've ever heard.

I can lose a few hundred dollars at Barnes in about 15 minutes; and when I'm too impatient, I peruse Amazon. Yesterday I bought 4 books and 1 on Amazon.

My name is J, and I'm a book addict. The words are my heroin; the cashier my dealer; the security guards are the Feds. At lunch I rarely eat, instead I walk 5 blocks to the Barnes on 5th Avenue. I just want to smell the pulp and touch the covers and read the back covers. I want to see the little author pictures where it says where they live happily with their 2 children and 4 dogs.

When we were touring a lot I had one bag just for books; it weighed a ton. I used to bring 8 or 9 books per tour because I'm fully aware my A.D.D. is brutal; and there is nothing worse than being on an extended trip, reading two chapters of a book and getting bored and not having another book to reach for. I guess it's a lot like chain smoking; I get bored of one subject - could be after a few lines, a few pages, a few paragraphs or few chapters - and I need something else to stimulate me, immediately or else I'll crumble and start walking on the ceiling of the tour van, which I often did. Ask R., she'll tell you.

So yesterday I bought a book for a friend online in the morning. At lunch, I headed for Barnes. Like a junkie on his way to meet his dealer to get his fix under the time constraints of the corporate lunch hour. Up Madison Avenue, turn right on 5th, shit, I went too far over; Ok, stay calm, its only a few blocks down 5th now, ahh, there it is. Through the revolving doors; feel that rush of publicly traded funded freon cooling you down. I smell coffee and chocolate and books. Was I in heaven? Oh, no, just Barnes and Noble.

I dart for the "New Non-Fiction" section. I have no patience for fiction, but some of my friends do and my mom does and my friends mom does, so I touch some covers on the "New Fiction" table; I read some back covers; fanning the tight pages with my thumb like a deck of cards. I just love the ritual of stumbling across a book you never heard of that could change your life and there are just so many goddamn books on so many goddamn subjects. And they somehow all interest me on some level.

Right now I'm juggling a few books; I'm finishing up Farley Mowat's "Never Cry Wolf", I'm really just savouring it, I don't want to finish it but the end is nigh; I've got Neil deGrasse Tyson's "Death By Black Hole" on the right front burner and this morning I started an older Chuck Klosterman that had somehow slipped through my cracks called "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs". On top of these 3, we've got the few more I bought yesterday: Anthony Bourdain's "The Nasty Bits" and Elizabeth Wurtzel's classic "Prozac Nation" which I'd started reading in Manchester at Kimberly Close's house on Sunrise Road but never finished.

Chances are I'll finish a few of these and a few others will get put down and left for another time or maybe never. That's just how my head works. I'll get distracted with a new bundle of books and on and on it goes. I just love buying them and touching them. I love going home knowing my bag is extra heavy because its filled with new books. In fact, I'm perfectly happy with this addiction, I just wish I could afford it.

Oh and I failed to mention, last night I fell asleep reading and circling things within a listicle in the new ish of New York Magazine: "The Best Novels You’ve Never Read: Sixty-one critics reveal their favorite underrated book of the past ten years".

Perhaps I need an intervention?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What you need is a source of free books. I'm the same way when it comes to reading, although I prefer fiction. I love it, but I tend to read 3 or 4 books at a time. Oddly, I can never remember the stories until I read them again, then I instantly remember that I've read it before. I find it's cheaper to pay the overdue fees at the library, although you'll have to shoulder the guilt for not using the book when someone else could be.
Plus, the smell of old, well-read books is better.