It's inevitable that when meeting someone for the first time, or enjoying (or not enjoying) yourself on that first getting-to-know-you date, the question "What do you like to do?" will make its way into your conversation. At this point, you must provide a list of general hobbies and interests, but because it is the first meeting you must slightly censor yourself for fear of revealing too much too soon. You might even say, "I really like to read." which is a perfectly respectable hobby, provided you are not addicted to bodice-rippers or graphic novels for children. However, you absolutely cannot say, "I am a book addict. It's a problem. I really LOVE books." That comes later. When you have a wedding ring and some vows behind you. You cannot reveal your obsession with the written word because it might entail providing some of the following behaviors I am about to describe.

These are all from personal experience. A special thank you to my husband, Brian, for contributing to this blog and loving me in spite of my book addiction.

I know I am a book addict and not just a book lover. Here are twenty two embarrassing reasons why.

~ I must go through all of my library books when I return them to the chute to be sure that the right books are getting to the right library.
       ~ While going through said books, I must also flip through the pages to be             sure I did not leave important  papers behind because the books can       
        double as a sort of file folder.
~ At any given time, someone could find one, or even two books tucked into my purse.
~ If I see someone reading a book, I "stalk" them to try and see the cover. This sometimes leads to conversation, and sometimes just makes me look creepy with no end result.
~ The librarians know me by name and have actually said things such as, "Thank goodness!" when they see me enter the facility because I have so many books on hold to pick up.
~ I have, on occasion, had to plan library trips around errands with my husband so he can carry my bag of books.
~ I once spent approximately fifteen minutes trying to select the perfect book light at Barnes & Noble...and there were only about ten to choose from.
~ Finding fantastic books in great condition at the Goodwill has become a personal Olympic event.
~ I am generally in the middle of at least five books at the same time, and one of them is always an audiobook.
~ Sometimes, before going to bed, I literally stare at the bookshelf for a full five minutes before deciding what I feel like reading that evening.
~ I always read on the twenty minute commute to my in-laws'. If it is not a classic title, this drive generally equates to about sixty pages.
~ I read more than one hundred books each year.
~ I printed out my goodreads "to-read" list last week and it was thirty eight pages long.
~ With no printer available at my house, I am constantly sending my husband email attachments at work so he can provide me with task lists for the book challenges I belong to.
~ I monitor my reading lists in at least five different locations - goodreads, a list website, a journal, a calendar, and a binder.
~ When I must choose user names for various websites, they are usually characters from books I love. (Yahoo: my user name incorporates Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged)
~ I moderate four book groups with ideas for more...but I am trying to keep this in check.
~ I have tried to assist customers in bookstores because I know I have probably read more than the employees. (I only do this if they look like they are in need of help or are holding a book with a quizzical look on their faces!)
~ I enjoy rearranging my bookcase.
~ A person who shall not be named has joked that bookstores and libraries are like foreplay for me.
~ If someone asks me my favorite book, it takes approximately ten minutes to provide a truly accurate answer.
~ I have logged 2000 steps on the pedometer browsing the library for "random reads."
~ When my husband asked my father for permission to marry me, my dad replied "You know that you also get the boxes of books in the attic, too, right?"

What makes you a book addict? To contribute to this topic, please click on the comments thread at the beginning of the post.

Lisa Hickman
01/24/2010 7:27pm

I'm taking the gold in the Goodwill Olympic event and I'm going to leave you looking at my backside. (And from your vantage point it looks don't come any closer to my GW record or my BS may blind you, then you'll only need your audiobooks!)

Stephanie, you are too funny and I sooooo relate to everything you said.

01/24/2010 9:12pm

The linen closet in my upstairs bathroom doubles as bookshelves since I've outgrown the existing bookshelf space in my house. Last count our catalogue was over 1700 and sadly there are stacks sitting all over my office not tallied.

My aunt asked to borrow The Art of Racing in the Rain, and I had to consult the excel spreadsheet doubling as a catalogue to figure out what bookshelf (or linen closet) the book was in. UB3 -- in case you were wondering (Upstairs Bathroom shelf three)

I read while drying my hair as I get ready for work in the morning. I'm usually good for 10 pages.

I've mastered the art of reading and knitting at the same time.

01/24/2010 10:10pm

Hmmmmm.... just a few reasons I know I have an issue with books:

- I told my husband when we first started dating to skip the flowers and buy me a book/books instead.

- My husband jokes with me about smelling the pages of books. (I really do like to do this)

-I get more excited about getting books or gift cards to bookstores for presents than I do anything else. And I mean ANYTHING else.

- My three-year-old has more storybooks than I care to even describe here. It's embarassing.

- We are moving and one of the main things I consider while looking at houses is where my bookshelves will go. If they won't fit, the house won't work for us.

- I collect business cards from bookstores whenever I go on vacation. I must visit all the bookstores we encounter.

-I volunteer for local used book sales so that I can get first dibs on the books. If i can't volunteer and go and wait outside before the doors open.

There are so, so many more reasons. I am seriously obsessive about books. But, in my opinion, it;'s a good obsession/addiction. Could be worse. A LOT worse!

01/25/2010 9:40pm

I love your list! I also 'suffer' from this addiction. I identify with many of your reasons; here are a few more:

- People at work check with me before the local library for books they would like to read

- It is impossible for me to pass up any place selling books, and I always plan to just look for a minute. It is likely to be over an hour every time.

- My husband now says "just let her finish this chapter' for me

- I read Cherylann's comment above and got very excited about the linen closet idea (now where to put the towels...?)

01/31/2010 8:59pm

I'm obsessive about checking my library list - checking it multiple times at work every day in case another book came in that I'm waiting for. LOL

And, I took a 2 week trip to Scotland several years ago and took an entire carry-on bag with nothing but books - I stuffed a good 20 books into my bag and carried it all through Scotland. AND, I still purchased 5 more while in Scotland.

Ugggh, I really am obsessed.

Oh, and I have a book at work that I read on my breaks, one I am listening to each time I get into my car, one on my bedside table AND one that I keep in the living room. So, at a minimum, I have 4 books going on at any given time (often more).

Okay, now I see why my husband and our friends make fun of me LOL

02/15/2010 3:57pm

And I know I'm addicted when I read all these lists and think, "What's wrong with that? I do that too!"

03/13/2010 1:52pm

Hello. My name is Kellee and I am a book addict.

I am self and husband diagnosed- as well as others who probably just don't have the guts to tell me.

How do I know I am addict?
-I feel a pull when I drive by Barnes and Noble
-My library's website (where I can request home delivery!) is one of my top 10 books marks.
-I frequent Good Reads more than any other website including my e-mail.
-I have a classroom library of over 1200 titles.
-I have 4 full size book shelves at my house with all titles in alphabetical order by title.
-I, too, would rather get a gift card to Barnes and Noble as a gift more than anything else.

There are probably more reasons, but those are the big ones.
But you know what- I LOVE my addiction and I will never give it up :)

04/16/2010 7:55pm

Yeah, me too ... what ALL of y'all said! Although right now none of my bookshelves is occupied except by the random book that actually HAS been unpacked [I moved across town in August of 2008] and just dumped on whatever bookcase was closest. Normally I shelve according to my own weird "system": BritLit goes on one bookcase, in alphabetical order by author and then title; I also have a French lit/textbook case [ditto for arranging rules], one for American and one for "world" lit. Then there are the Mystery/Thriller shelves -- those are shelved by author [alpha] but those are arranged chronologically by publication date or however the series is ordered. (And the mysteries and thrillers are the ruling party in my apartment.) Finally, I have a couple of cases for kids' books [my own, mostly, which I lend to the kids I babysit WHEN they're worthy -- the kids, not the books] and one for humor and cat-related books. The latter have almost all been given to me -- I'm definitely a catlady, but not to the extent of wearing cat clothes/jewelry/whatever or buying any and every cat book that comes out.
But while my prior "stock" of books rests in its boxes, neglected and unloved, I have bought probably another 200 to feed my habit in the last 20 months; thank God for and! Now where am I going to put everything?! (Wonder if that apartment next door is empty ...)
But I'm PROUD to say I'm an addict. I don't do drugs or alcohol [well, not TOO much alcohol, unless it's a REALLY hot day and someone offers a G&T or a margarita] -- I just do books.

05/20/2010 8:34pm

I agree with everyone. It is making me laugh (in a good way). I have a few to add:

- I have bought suitcases to carry books I buy on vacation.

-I moved in with my fiance, and promptly turned a bedroom into a library.

-I own clothing that says One More Chapter and I Need More Books,

-I work at Barnes and Noble in the morning and spend most afternoons at the library.

05/21/2010 2:16pm

I thought of a few more reasons why I am also a book addict.

-I read about 65 books a year.

-I met my fiance at a bookstore.

-The Miami Book Fair Street Fair are my favorite two days of the year.

-I keep a detailed book journal with specific rules of my reading expectations.


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