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On Books

I'm addicted to books. I just wish I was addicted to reading books.

My belief, which dates back to when I was a little kid, was that learned people read books, whether they needed to or not. But I haven't read books in any sort of sustained way in years. It's not the books' fault. I started reading John Scalzi's Locked In earlier this year, and really enjoyed the first three chapters. That was in June. I haven't read a page since. I even took it up north with me, but didn't open it up.

I'm just easily distracted, I guess. I seem to be always online, where I'm often reading things; they're just brief passages with photos or illustrations. I always have my eyes in books at work, since I'm composing them (formerly known as "typesetting"), but I don't have time or need to read them closely, so at best I scan a page here or there. At the end of long workdays, I go home and don't want anything to do with words for a while, sometimes.

When I do read, sometimes a voice in my head says "Look at me, I'm reading!" which is ... um, kind of strange. And then I'll get lost and have to reread a paragraph two or three times. And then I'll think of what other things I should be doing. It feels as if I'm spending time that should be put to more productive use, which of course is not true at all.

However, it doesn't stop me from buying more books. I bought three today, though one is going to be a gift for my great-niece. One was by one of my favorite authors, on special in paperback. The other is Oliver Sacks' memoir, for which I paid full price (even though I'll be able to get a free copy of the large print edition in a month or so, probably). I really like to have books. The physical oomph of a book is something I've always really liked. It's not a fetish, but maybe something like one. They smell good, they feel good in my hands, they look good on a shelf.

Then there's my catalog on LibraryThing. I have it up-to-date (except for today's purchases, but I'll log those in by midnight), and I like to just look at the listing of books, adding tags (slowly) to categorize my collection, and looking at what other people have in their libraries. It's good bibliogeeky fun. Even if it's not actually reading a book.

Maybe I'm just a collector. That's not so bad, really. Is it? Um, don't answer that.


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December 2017


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