Addiction. It’s a strong word but then I’m a strong girl – did about 500 reps of arm exercises (with humiliating 2-lb dumbbells) just today thanks to the ongoing Pilates Experiment – and I have an addictive personality. When I love something, I really really love it. Chocolate. My children. The movie Empire Records (remember when Renee Zellwegger was adorable?). Jelly Beans. Swing dancing. Exercise. Artichokes (which is a genetically inherited predilection, according to NPR some people are born with a gene that make artichokes taste delicious while everyone else only tastes bitter stabby vegetation. Yay, I finally won the genetic lottery in something!)
But the real love of my life are books. Never have I been as passionate about anything as I have about reading. It is only fitting that it was this passion that made me fall in love with my husband. We’d known each other for months and yet I didn’t fall madly in love with him until we were walking in the library stacks one star-kissed evening and he said, gesturing randomly to a shelf, “That was a great book.” “Which one?” I asked. “All of them,” he answered. That man had read every single book in the entire History section of our University. Not one to believe just anything I’m told, I quizzed him. And then I married him. To this day he is the only person I know who has read The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire in its entirety.
I do not jest when I call my love of books an addiction. I must read at all times. We’ve already discussed about how I can’t use the bathroom without adequate reading material (I will even set up little reading stations – an open magazine by the sink so that I can find new recipes while I wash my hands, a book held open by my box of curlers so I can read up on the modern caste system in India while I blow dry my hair.) In the shower I’ve read my shampoo bottles so many times I have the ingredients list memorized (Is it the sodium laureth sulfate that makes that nice foamy lather?) And of course I am addicted to health and fitness books. You name a popular diet, workout or health routine/guru and I’ve either read it or want to read it. And thanks to the speed-reading course I took in second grade (no joke), I read 3-4 books a week.
This addiction gets expensive though. The last health book I bought was the life-changing Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth and it was a darn good thing it was life changing because that little 200 page sucker set me back $18. Why not just get it at the library? I was #230 on the waiting list. By the time I got my hands on a copy the sequel (Men, Beer and Satan?) would already be out. Libraries are great for browsing and picking up books you’d never think to read until you feel their heft in your hand or for books that only a few other people want to read. Libraries are terrible for new releases, best sellers and impatient patrons.
There is another solution to buying the book new. Turbo Jennie recently introduced me to a fantastic site (that you all probably already know about but I’m posting about it anyhow on the off chance anyone else missed the memo like I did) called PaperBackSwap. It’s so simple: you send a book, you get a book. The book you receive is yours to keep as long as you like – forever if you want! The only price you pay is the shipping to send your books to other people (usually $2-$3).
Today I cleaned off my health and fitness shelf – you really only need to read The Engine No. 2 Diet once to get the idea – and posted them all to share. But now I need to fill my wish list of books I’d like to read! This is where you come in: If you are already a paperbackswap member, can I be your buddy so I can get recommendations from your list? Or just tell me, what is your favorite book right now (any genre)? Which health and fitness books do you love? Did you luck out with the yummy artichoke gene??
PS> If you do sign up for PaperBackSwap, tell them I referred you (by typing in my e-mail addy chariander AT gmail DOT com into the referral box) and I’ll get an extra book credit! That’s not why I’m posting this but if you’re going to sign up anyhow might as well feed my addiction!
PPS> I love memoirs, non-fiction and classic literature. I absolutely hate vampires – especially if they sparkle – zombies and Jane Austen. Take that into consideration when making your recommendations.