You know that feeling. You’re minding your own business when you hear or see words… interesting, seductive, tantalizing words. Someone’s speaking or maybe you read them in print. You want to hear more from this author. Maybe they have wisdom or humor or a great story. That’s when, against your better judgment, you reach for it…
You pick up that Kindle and order yet another book.
Hello. My name is Laurie and I can’t stop reading.
I’m convinced being a book addict is like being a sex addict. You can never be sated. You’re constantly craving the next thrill. And once you’ve had one good experience (no matter how satisfying), you’re ready for the next.
I’m not ashamed to admit, many authors have passed through my door. Some were notable and life changing. Classic storytellers Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Wolfe, and Harriett Beecher Stowe come to mind.
Other encounters were quick and tawdry, yet strangely entertaining. I’m talking about Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz and Sidney Sheldon.
While others were in the middle –comfortable but in the end we were ready to part ways. Best-selling mystery writers John Grisham, Sue Grafton and Lawrence Sanders I’m talking about you.
My addiction began with Dr. Seuss in first grade. The Cat in the Hat showed how words rhyme, dazzle and bewitch. Words are magical. They leap from the page. They tell strange, funny stories about creatures that defy authority but don’t get in trouble.
In elementary school I craved tales of girls having adventures like boys. I devoured biographies of Clara Barton, Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart. I reveled in high-school sleuth Nancy Drew and Swedish explorer Pippi Longstocking.
My early teens brought Mad Magazine and steamy paperbacks from the back shelves of the Five and Dime store. A woman I babysat for had this incredible “forbidden” book collection. At fifteen my eyes bugged out reading, “The Sensuous Woman” by J with its butterfly kisses and advice on how to make every man want you.
Then in my late teens came Joyce Carole Oates. And that’s when the game changed forever. In her novel, “Them” I discovered I could fall in love with a character. And when my heartthrob Jules was shot and “the spirit of the Lord left him,” I had my first literary cry.
The years went on and my book lust continued. In college, I’d lie on my narrow dorm room bed, absorbed in Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying.” I daydreamed about sexy romps across Europe with a shaggy British lover and beat-up Triumph sports car.
Some characters seemed so real I didn’t want to say goodbye. I embarrassed myself weeping as I closed the covers for the last time on “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” “Three Junes,” and “The English Patient.”
Sometimes the right book turns up at the right time. Deepak Chopra, Napolean Hill and Edgar Cayce came into my life when I needed spiritual, social, and psychic guidance.
You’d think by now this addiction would abate. After all, how much excitement can a girl take?
But if anything, the fever’s grown. Right now I’m reading, “Autobiography of a Yogi” by 19th century guru Yogananda. Before that was British classic, “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy. Before that was the diaries of French writer Anais Nin. And before that was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by the late Maya Angelou.
I can’t stop.
So what drives this addiction? Is it always the quest for THE ONE? Are we simply searching for the ultimate wisdom that inspires, guides, and helps us understand not only life but ourselves?
Once in a while, sometimes when I least expect it…a book does exactly that. For me, it’s usually a novel. I put it down and realize I’ll never be the same.
I laughed. I cried. And now I’m spent. I need a break.
But all too soon, that siren song starts up again. A new author will be heard on the radio or talked about in the local coffee shop. Those words start to tantalize. My hand hovers over that Kindle.
Do I really need another?
And always the answer is… yes. Oh yes.
You bookworms out there understand. Will we ever be satisfied? Will we ever get enough?
Probably not…but maybe that’s half the fun.
What books changed your life? I’d love to hear and if you like what you read, please share. Thank you.