My library card has had a recent surge of activity in the last couple of months. I’ve had a library card for over 8 years now and only recently have begun to use it. Among my growing list of obsessions, is my love of books. I love books so much that in order to stay on budget, I had to start using my local library.
Once en route to Peru, my husband and I realized while visiting the book store in Terminal D at DFW, that we were traveling sans books. What were we thinking? There would be many an opportunity over the course of the next week to delve into a really good book. Why hadn’t we packed some of the books we already owned? Luckily my husband also sees the value in books and felt that the purchases would be justified. His one condition, “You cannot purchase a book you already own.” Easy enough, right? Suddenly book titles taunted me. I had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to read that book, but now it sat on my bookshelf at home which meant it was off-limits for purchase. Truth be known, I’m not one to follow rules. I grabbed a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife. I had been wanting to read this book for so long – at least a month. So what if it was sitting on my bookshelf at home? No one has to know, right? As if, by some divine knowledge my husband asks, “Do you already own that book?” Rule breakers rarely answer the question. “But I’ve been wanting to read this book. I hear it’s really good.” Undaunted by my attempt to rationalize, he repeats the question. “Do you already own that book?” Clearly, he’s not going to give up this line of question easily. “Yes, I already own this book.” I answer. I am completely defeated. How am I supposed to pick a new book? I have lots of great books at home. Needless to say, I survived.
I’ve also been know to stay up all night because of a book. I recently confessed to a friend that when I read Memoirs of a Geisha, I didn’t sleep at all. I kept telling myself, “Just one more page. Then I will go to sleep.” but then I would turn the page and I would again tell myself, “just one more page.” At some point, you stop repeating one more page and think, “I’m almost done. I’ll just go ahead and finish.” Who cares if it’s 5 am? Right? And if it’s already 5 am, why bother to sleep for 30 minutes or an hour before you have to wake up.
So, I love books. I stay up all night to read them. I love books and buy them up quickly even if they sit on my e-reader “shelf” unread for months at a time. But because of this love for books combined with the need to stick to a budget, I’m at the library now. So far, this new strategy has worked out well. The only problem is that library books stress me out. Sure they’re a little musty. I really try not to think about the people who have read this book before me. It can easily gross a person out. What really stresses me out are the due dates. Can you renew materials before they are due? Of course. Do I still get stressed out by these due dates? Yes. I recently read, Stephen King’s latest book, 11/22/63. 800 plus pages AND a due date? Thrilling and Stressful all at once, and that was before I read the first page.
The crazy part is that if I owned the book, I wouldn’t read it any slower. I must know what happens in the books. I must finish. But there’s something about the due date and library fines that I can’t handle. There’s really not much to do. I must accept this new stress as my fate. Woe is me.