Friday, August 13, 2010

On Being a Bookish Person.

I got into a conversation with my husband tonight that got me thinking about our differences. Matt is not a big reader. While he enjoys a few things, namely books about mountain climbing, adventures gone awry, and certain biographies, he is not a bookish person like I am. Every once in awhile he'll pick up a book and read in bed with me, but that it maybe, MAYBE once a month. He just doesn't see the merit in constantly reading.

On the other hand, I have always been a huge reader. Ever since I could read I can remember lugging books with me on vacations and to doctors' offices and to ballet classes. Books were a great escape for me as a child, and as a teenager. I have no problem turning the TV off and spending hours before bed reading my book, or looking at book blogs, or researching new titles. It is something that really comforts me.

We never really have problems because of these differences. I enjoy reading my books at night, and he spends time playing XBOX, or watching TV. We simply find value in different things, and having different interests is good for us.

Anyway, Matt came home from work tonight and was helping me finish putting books on my new bookshelves (more on that Sunday). I had already dragged some boxes out of the closet that stores my books and I was trying to decide which titles I was going to display, since there was no way all of my books could be out (that is a dream for another day). He was rolling his eyes out as I rejected some titles, but grasped some and held them close. He asked about some, so I told them what they were about, and so on. It was a funny conversation and made me think a lot on how those hundreds of titles have shaped me.

To Matt, many of those books are JUST books, nothing more. He can look at the image on the cover, or the author's name and feel nothing. I, on the other hand, look at a novel on my shelf and I can remember where I was when I read it. I can feel the pages in my hands, remember the characters, and remember who I was when I held it. Each of those books doesn't just contain the story the author wrote-they also contain a small part of me.

So when Matt suggested I get rid of some-namely the ones I was placing back in boxes-a small part of me was hurt. While they were not big enough or important enough to go on the shelf, they are still a large part of who I am. And getting rid of them would be painful.

Perhaps I have too much of an emotional connection to my books. But their covers and worn pages bring back a lot of memories, and define me. I can't wait until I can help my children discover them in the future; pass them on so they can have their own stories and memories for the future.

Anyway, I was curious, how do you all feel about your books and your reading habits?


  1. I think like you!
    I love my books, and when I have to get one for school I want to buy it asap! But, I can't!

    "Perhaps I have too much of an emotional connection to my books. But their covers and worn pages bring back a lot of memories, and define me." those are my same ideas, I grew up with the help of so much books!

    I loved your post!

  2. I think that if my husband asked me to get rid of my books, I'd throw his gaming system out the window. ;)

  3. I am very attached ot my books. I couldn't give any away. My other half is not a reader at all. He has read 3 book his whole 33 years of life, and two of them were the first two harry pottter books because I asked him too.

    He doesn't read or appreciate anything bookish at all, but he is wonderful at supporting my reading habit (at least openly). He even suggested that we get a new bookcase earlier this year to store my growing collection. He also lets me talk about books to him which is really nice of him becuase I know he has absolutely no interest in what I am talking about. I love him!

  4. Haha what Jane Doe said.

    Although I have to say, you're lucky that he at least understands and supports your love (and obsession) for books. Some just don't.

    I am like you as well. I am very attached to books. These books are not just mere objects to me anymore. When I pick up a book I have read in the past, I think about how I was and what state I was in in my life back then.. how much I've changed from then until now. Those books are like timeless pieces of memories; whether they were good or bad, I still wouldn't want to throw them away!

  5. Im not attached to my books at all, aside from about 10 special ones or special collections I give all mine away. Chris on the other hand is more attached but he is alot better and will give most away now. You would never guess we were big readers stepping into our place at all LOL

    Im the same with all other objects in my life though, if I dont wear it/watch it/use it anymore if goes.

  6. I don't get attached to many books. It really depends on how deeply the book affected me. In the last couple years I've been reading a lot of modern fiction and very little of it has made a significant enough impression on me that I need to own the book. The classics that I loved, on the other hand, or the books with childhood memories associated with them, I keep. Even the silly books, like some of my favorite Lois Duncan reads from when I was 12 or one of my childhood favs, Ghost Cat by Beverly Butler. My husband thinks it's funny that I've gone out and tried to find copies of those books to keep (my mom kept all the originals, as I was the oldest child and my younger siblings were all still reading them when I left home).

  7. I am attached to the memory of the book than the physical book itself. My favorite books are somewhere amongst friends, I give it to anybody interested in reading them. My husband has commented "you are your friend's library".

    I have been very lucky to have given birth to an avid reader, and she, on the other hand is very much like you!

  8. I'm very attached to some of my books, but I try to cull them regularly. I dislike the idea of being merely acquisitive--I want my personal library to reflect who I am by containing all the books that have shaped me.

  9. *Sigh* What a lovely post. I have attachments to many of my books too.. mainly the ones that are my favorites, or ones from childhood.

  10. I love your post Allie. I especially loved it when you use to have Matt help you so call "clean out" your closets of books (multiple times) when you lived at home. I mean what boyfriend would do that? ;). Personally I love my books. I also have about 10 favorite authors that there is no way I would ever get rid of their books. They are apart of what I enjoy and I also think back to where I was when I read them and how sometimes even though they may not be classics, they sometimes help me with everyday life, even if it is to escape into the story for awhile.

    Love, Mom

  11. I feel the same way about my books...I have emotional attachments to most of them, and I love going to sit by my bookshelf and being surrounded by all those different worlds and stories, just ready to be explored.

  12. I'm intrigued by the comment Jane Doe made - that would be as much a punishment for me as my boyfriend if I did that.

    Anyway, I've always been one to have a book (or a few) with me at all times, and I love all of my books dearly. I don't read as much or as fast as you do, Allie, but I read a fair amount more than, say, my boyfriend. However, we do have a few books we both love, and we talk about them constantly (Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss most of all :D)

    I don't quite have enough room for all of my books either, but we work with it.

  13. Oh, relating is what I am doing right now! I am the same way about my bookshelves. I can't just throw any old books on there, there has to be a rhyme and reason. Books that hold special meaning don't mingle with the regular books, and yes it does take me FOREVER to put books on the shelf. So, this was awesome. Glad I am not the only one.

  14. My boyfriend sounds like Matt, when he suggest I double stack books on my shelves or put them in boxes I feel a little twinge of guilt, but he doesn't feel that way about books.

  15. I can totally relate to this! My boyfriend is not a reader at all. The only things he reads are newspapers and ESPN magazine. I think it is one of our biggest differences but not one that is a huge problem. I've been a reader since I could actually read on my own so it has been a huge part of my life and I am so passionate about it. He doesn't get it at all! He's always like why do you have so many books..shouldn't you get rid of some?! I'm like WHAT?! How about we get rid of some of our basketball shoes!? Or your car! Haha It's alright though because he supports my habit and will listen as I talk about a book! Maybe one day he will become a reader! Doubtful but a girl can wish!

    Great post!

  16. My husband and I are the same way. We often curl up on the couch, me with a book and he with a video game controller. He's very intelligent and listens almost exclusively to a.m. radio and tends toward philosophical conversations, but he doesn't enjoy reading. We debate the merits of actual books a lot, but at the same time he supports my reading habit. We have an entire room set up as a library, and books still spill into other areas of the house. And I tend to read multiple books at once and leave them scattered throughout the house as well. He doesn't exactly understand my obsession, but he lets me do it anyway and even carries my books at the bookstore or used books sales where I add to my collection.

  17. My boyfriend and I are similar. He likes to read, but he can't read for as long as I can and can't read multiple books at a time. He also isn't really one to seek out new books to read, and that is what I spend the majority of my non-reading free time doing. Every once and awhile I suggest a book to him and he reads it but that is pretty much the end.