Am I Book Obsessive?
Or, am I Normal?
I was riding in the car with my husband, Mr. Birdie, this past weekend, he was listening to music and I was reading. I thought it was peaceful, but I guess he was feeling lonely because he made a joke about how my reading in the car leaves him without anyone to talk to. I put my book down and asked him if my love of reading is something that drives him crazy, or if it’s something he secretly loves about me. I swear it wasn’t a loaded question, I was honestly just curious. I wouldn’t read less in general, because I am who I am and we’ve been together since I was 16 so he must not hate it that much, but I would be willing to put the book away on car rides if he really wanted me to. (He’d probably regret it. I’m a panicky mess on the highway. Anxiety galore. Reading helps.)
I was curious for his opinion mainly because my husband isn’t a reader. He’s read a handful of books, but he doesn’t get the same level of enjoyment out of it as I do. He’s one of those instant gratification kinda guys who’d rather they just make a movie. That’s fine, most of the time, when I don’t think about it too hard. (Just kidding! He knows I love him!) It does mean that we don’t often come together on the merits of reading, so I was pleasantly surprised when he said he likes that I’m a reader. It’s something that he’s always liked about me. Awww, right? I know. 🙂
He did end his sweet words with, ‘most of the time’. He said that he does find it frustrating when one of my books is damaged or lost and I need to spend more money to rebuy it. In his head, I’ve already read it so why do I need to spend more money on replacing something that’s just going to sit on a shelf and collect dust. Do I really have to pay another $20 for a hardcover book that I may or may not read at some later obscure time? My answer was an emphatic yes! When something happens to my beloved books, I must replace them even if they are just sitting on a shelf untouched. I just struggled with finding the words to explain why. How do you explain to someone who doesn’t understand how much a story meant to you?
Even when I tried to find a comparison, his love to mine, nothing seemed to fit right. The things in our home that he loves are things that he physically uses daily, so to him they are worth replacing. A book, one that I read 2 years ago, doesn’t rank very high in his mind. I understand his logic, but you can’t usually use logic on love. To me, no matter how old the book is, if it’s on my shelf then it left it’s mark inside me the same way a family picture would. The characters mean something to me, and I like to know that at any point I can pick up that book and revisit them.
Perhaps it’s because I don’t own every book I’ve ever read in print. I tend to read on my Kindle and then if I love a book I buy it in print for my shelf. When I do spontaneously buy a book in print and I don’t love it, I pass it on or donate it. What that means is nearly every single book I own is special to me. When one is missing from my shelf, I don’t put another book in it’s place. I leave a hole there until it comes back home. I let that hole remind me that one of my most prized possessions is missing. If I’m going to give into the dramatics, it’s the physical representation of the hole in my heart. I’m sure most of you understand.
I think that’s the nail on the head, actually. They are my most prized possessions. If there was ever a fire in my home, I wouldn’t hesitate to get my daughter and our animals out of the house. They aren’t possessions, they are all family. After that, I would be running from bookshelf to bookshelf trying to save my favorite reads, because out of everything I own they are the one thing -well more like 300 things- I care most about. They helped build me into who I am today, and most of the time I like me.
And that is why I’m willing to pay to replace books I’ve lost. Do you think he’ll ever understand? Do you?