Reading and Other Life-Threatening Activities

As you may have guessed, I am an avid reader.

I don’t have one specific favorite genre or author. Anything I find interesting enough to get lost in is good enough for me. I am a big fan of creatively used clichés (I love a good friends-to-lovers trope, or “this grumpy old person who lives alone becomes pen pals with a very enthusiastic neighborhood child”).

Disclaimer: I do not go to the library often. I love libraries. I encourage the use of them and I support them wholeheartedly and think they are an amazing resource. But I am also terrified of them, mostly because the sheer speed at which I consume books, combined with two working parents and the attention span of a goldfish, lead to some pretty hefty fines as a child. Also because one time I found a ton of human hair in a library book.

Before I was a big old nerd, I was a big baby nerd.

I also just really, truly love to collect books. I adore them. I like to own them, stare at them, smell them. I love to fill shelves upon shelves with them and use them as décor.

The first thing I did when I got a credit card was sign myself up for a monthly book club. I usually end up with 2-3 books a month instead of just the one. I also follow several sites online that sell used books for cheap, usually with sales and in quantities that probably make our mail lady loathe me (we get her Christmas presents to make up for it, because she is the best).

Pre-online-shopping, I kept all the books I bought or received, unless I genuinely hated them. I accumulated them slowly (and still used the library), so this wasn’t a problem. But then I discovered that you can have two dozen books shipped directly to your house for like $20, and my life changed forever.

Suddenly, reselling and gifting books became a matter of physical necessity.

When I last moved, we had to specifically hunt down boxes small enough to be filled with books and still be able to be carried without pulling a muscle. Since then, my collection has nearly doubled (and would undoubtedly have quadrupled by now if I hadn’t been limited by space).

I got a custom stamp with my name on it for the inside covers of my books. It says it’s from my library. I am infatuated with it. It is one of my favorite investments of all time.

Every few months (at least) I send photos of my latest purge to a group of friends and let them pick which ones they’d like to keep before I sell the rest to my local Half Price or stick them in a Little Free Library.

In 2020, I averaged out to a book every 3 days. At this point, several of my friends are also drowning in my books. I cannot stop myself. I am having so much fun!!!!!

Here are some fun facts about me and books:

  1. When I was little and crabby, my parents would trick me into napping by telling me to pick out a book and wait for them to read it to me. Without fail, they would finish up what they were doing and find me unconscious, slumped over an open book.
  2. If I am deeply into a book, you could talk to me at top volume for ten minutes straight and I would not hear you. Whisper and you will get my attention immediately.
  3. I am not a book snob. E-Reader, audiobook, paperback, hardcover, random online site where people post their own stories? Doesn’t matter. All good. All great. Read it all.
  4. I will change out my purse based on whether or not I can fit the book I’m reading into it. This has become less relevant in the last year since I never leave my house.
  5. I am probably going to die under a pile of books. I will explain this further.

I have developed a fairly efficient system for keeping my book collection under control (for now).

don’t tell me they’ll break if I tilt them or something. I got them for $2 they’re fine

My system is quite simple, and it goes like this:

New, unread books go into the “to read” stack that is currently taking over the space between my nightstand and shelves.

At first, I keep everything. This is not permanent and has very few exceptions. I finish the book, document it, and add it to the “finished” stack. There is some organization to the shelves themselves, but it’s too vague to bother getting into. Currently, all in-shelf space is occupied, so recent reads go vertical.

Then I continue stacking until I literally, physically cannot reach the top of the stack anymore. When I get to that point, I (carefully) remove the stacks and sort into keep-vs-go piles.

That’s it. That’s the whole system.

You may have noticed where the danger comes in.

for some reason I say “tippy toes!!!” to myself every time I do this

I have done this fairly gracefully and without injury for years. I am not a coordinated person, but as a result of that I have become quite skilled at dodging projectiles. This is also because I have been hit in the head during nearly every sport I have ever played or observed, and so have become very quick to protect my skull. But that is neither here nor there.

In a typical burst of midnight energy, I was going through my possessions, cleaning and sorting and removing in a way that I can never seem to do during daylight hours. Eventually I made my way to The Stacks.

I had noticed earlier in the day that they were a bit precarious. I assumed (incorrectly) that it would be an easy fix.

With one slight touch, I sent the world toppling down on myself.

Somehow books ended up on my bed, under my bed, next to my door, under my desk, and yet not a single one made contact with my head. It did, however, make an absolutely astronomical sound.

No sooner could I lift my phone to send out an “oops lol” text to my sleeping family than my brother appeared at my doorway, understandably concerned for my life after hearing what sounded like an avalanche taking place above him in our peaceful suburb.

One other thing about stories is that they are supposed to have a beginning, middle, and an end. They are also supposed to have a lesson or something.

This does not have any of those things. There is no ending because I have not learned my lesson and I will absolutely be instantaneously crushed to death in my sleep by a stack of books that I am far too short to reach the top of. Honestly, not a bad way to go.


3 thoughts on “Reading and Other Life-Threatening Activities

  1. If I had a picture of you sleeping with a book for every time that you did, I could fill several books. You were once described to me as a voracious reader. This is an apt description indeed.

  2. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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