Bibliophilia

6 07 2009

book hug

Hello, my name is Estelle and I’m a bibliophile.

Now, all you fellow bookworms out there say, “Hello, Estelle.”

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a bibliophile as a lover or collector of books. I think “love” might be putting it mildly. For me, it’s more of an obsession.

Years ago (in my former life as an English teacher) I went to a workshop on teaching writing, and the attendees were given the classic paragraph assignment: Describe your bedroom.

The fact that this is a silly assignment for either students or teachers aside, I had a sort of revelation while completing it. I started with the bookshelves—two six foot shelves, and two smaller three foot shelves on either side of the bed, all brimming. Then I moved on to the piles of books on the floor—the mini towers that the cat constantly knocks over. Last, I described the heaps of books on the empty side of my double bed (I was—and still am—single). Yes, I sleep with my books. I realized there was probably something Freudian (and therefore disturbing) in the fact that my bed companion was (and still is) a pile of books. Then the timer went off, ending the exercise, and I happily quit thinking about it.

I do love books though. I love to look at them, smell them, hold them. It’s a comfort to have a book in my hand. If I have extra cash, I want to spend it on books. If I have time to kill in town, I want to spend it at the bookstore. A dream vacation for me would be to travel across the country visiting all the unique and hole-in-the-wall bookstores I could find. Unfortunately, it would be a short vacation because I’d spend all my money after the first few stops.

My biggest pet peeves are book related, too. I don’t dog-ear. Ever. I don’t crack open spines. Chills go down my own spine when I see someone do that. I consider it an accomplishment for the book to look pristine and unread when I’m finished with it. I also have issues with price stickers. If there’s a sticker plastered on the book, I have to remove it as soon as I’m out of the store before the heat can seal it on forever. It’s one of those things that shouldn’t matter, but it does—I want the stickers removed. And if you wait too long to take it off, the residue is there forever and even Goo-Gone won’t truly take care of the problem. I told you—it’s an obsession.

My to-be-read pile resembles a small mountain, and it has a little bit of everything in it—I’ll give you a glimpse.

At the top is Lisa Kleypas’s Smooth Talking Stranger. I recently read Sugar Daddy and Blue Eyed Devil by her and LOVED them. I picked up A Hint of Wicked by fellow Romance Diva, Jennifer Haymore the other day. On the spicier side, I recently discovered Bella Andre’s erotic romances and have Red Hot Reunion in the stack. Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees and Prodigal Summer are there—The Poisonwood Bible was the best piece of literary fiction I’ve read in ages. The Chosen by Chaim Potok is there because a friend recommended it. Amanda Quick’s The Perfect Poison is there because I’m addicted to the Arcane Society books. Toward the end of the month when Suzanne Brockmann’s newest Troubleshooters book comes out, it will go to the top of the pile, although I may have to fight my mother for who gets it first. I have Donald Maas’s The Fire in Fiction in there too. And tons more. I never get ahead of the stack. I wouldn’t want to. Where’s the fun in that?

When people ask me what my favorite book is, I usually can’t give just one answer. I love so many of them. I have lists of favorites on my website, and I have a Shelfari shelf of what I’m currently reading on my blog, but I’m constantly reading new books and gaining new favorites.

It’s so hard to stay committed to just one. (Don’t get all Freudian with that.)

It turns out that I get to pick the theme for July here at The Write Direction, so I hereby officially declare it In Love with Books Month.

Let’s celebrate with a CONTEST! I’ll take a few romance books off my shelves to make room for new ones. I’m gritting my teeth at the thought of parting with them, but it’s a little easier when I know they’re going to someone who will love them like I do. Only bibliophiles need apply.

If you’re a true book lover, then comment on this post and tell me about your love of books. Which are your favorites? What’s in your to be read pile?

Then come back to The Write Direction throughout the month of July and comment on other July posts. At the end of the month, I’ll randomly select four commenters who will each get a new (new to you–and in good condition, though maybe not pristine because some of these may have found their way to me via the used book store) book to love.

I’ll post an additional book for the contest each week.  The first one is Make Me Yours by Betina Krahn.

Make Me Yours

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9 responses

7 07 2009
Sandra Jones

Oh, i’m a hopeless bibliophile, too! I have piles of books–some read, some tbr. One of my favorite keepers is The Bride Finder, which has a very memorable scene in which the heroine–also a booklover–discovers a terrible secret about the hero, her bridegroom. After being told he “made good use of books,” she found he didn’t read at all. Instead he’d used a book to prop up a broken chair leg! I hate to see books abused, but that scene was too cute.

9 07 2009
Estelle

Sandi! I figured you for a bibliophile, LOL. 🙂 You know…I think if a guy I was dating shoved one of my books under a wobbly table leg, I might have to consider cutting him loose. LOL Book abuse could be a deal breaker. 🙂

8 07 2009
Afshan N

I’m with you guys!!!
My Name is Afshan and I’m A Bibliophile!!!!
they say once you admit you have a problem that it will be easier to fix, I say I don’t have a problem 😀
I Absolutely Love Books! I have those same mountains all over my house Estelle, One’s I’ve read, TBR, And reading…LOL
And if I have any free time, I’ve got a book in my hands. I also Got a Sony E-reader for my birthday, so now instead of lugging 2 or 3 books with me when I go out I can read as many books as I want and not have to worry about where to put them.
It’s good to know I’m not alone in this world!
~Afshan

9 07 2009
Estelle

Yeah, I’m not admitting it’s a problem either. 😉 If it’s a vice, I’m keeping it. I haven’t broken down and gotten an e-reader yet (though I’m not anti-e-book or anything). Several of my friends have and they’re loving them, but I’m a technology hold out, LOL. I’m glad you’re enjoying yours!

9 07 2009
Heather

I’m a certified (or is that certifiable?) bibliophile. I don’t have a TBR pile, I have an entire mountain range complete with rolling foothills. There are several bookshelves full of books I’ve already read, as well as boxes of those that are (as yet) unread. I keep telling myself not to buy so many new ones, yet cannot help myself, especially where favorite authors are concerned. It’s especially fun to find a new-to-you author and track down and devour his/her entire backlist. And, like you, my TBR pile spans many genres: romance, mystery, paranormal general fiction, nonfiction. I tried Shelfari but did not find their site as user-friendly as GoodReads, so ditched the former in favor of the latter.

9 07 2009
Estelle

Hi Heather! I love your analogy with rolling foothills. 🙂 And I, too, love finding a new author and reading through their backlist–backlist hunting becomes an adventure in itself. I haven’t checked out GoodReads. Honestly, I just went with Shelfari because I liked the look of the blog shelf add on, LOL.

9 07 2009
Julie Robinson

Hi Estelle,

My name is Julie and I have been a bibliophile for as long as I can remember. I confess, I used to make library cards to check out books to friends when I was a kid. Now I have so many books that my house is a fire hazard. I expect any day to hear the DH say, “It’s me or the books.” Yes, sometimes I have books on his side of the bed. I already have 4 bookshelves in the bedroom, and only because I can’t fit anymore in the rest of the house. I even put a bookcase in my hallway and could actually use another one.
I also confess to buying books and keeping them in the trunk of my car to take out gradually when the DH is not home.

Whew! Now that my guilt is off my chest, I can say that YES, I would love to win this Harlequin Blaze. Blazes are one of my favorites in the series lines, with H. Intrigue being the first. I also like Silhouette Nocturne.

Right now, I am reading Kris Kennedy’s “The Conqueror.” I am also reading a writing book called “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder. It’s about screenplays, but is very useful. I’m reading it because of Lori Devoit’s Read a Writing Book yahoo loop, which has just started up.

Speaking of themes (from your home post), I love the title you gave to this month’s theme on this blog: In Love With Books. Yep, that’s me. And I would treasure your baby as if it were my own. I know that I should give some of my books away, but I can’t. It’s like being surrounded by friends. I even still have a few from the ’70’s that were my favorites.

Junky Julie
(as my sis used to call me)

9 07 2009
Estelle

Julie! I’m so glad you stopped by here! Your comment about sneaking books out of your trunk a little at a time cracked me up! That, or twist on it, could be a great character quirk. 🙂 I love Intrigue–they’re a target of mine. I’ve only recently started picking up a few Blazes and they’re definitely fun reads and Make Me Yours will be a great new friend for somebody!

10 07 2009
Julie Robinson

Never thought about that, Estelle. You might have to use it. I don’t know that I could use a quirk I have myself—and I have plenty!!
🙂
Julie

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