Confessions of a Book Junkie
THE Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living in Nazi Germany on a mission to rescue the books of Germany. In the aftermath of her brother’s death and witnessing a Nazi book burning she begins an on-going and thrilling journey to save the world’s literature from ruin and sustain imagination. While this story contains much more than just this passion for the pages of books I won’t spoil it for you by spilling the details. So worry not, no more spoilers alert.
However, the news of this release did make me reflect on my own passion for books: new, old, damp, and mouldy, of every genre and my compulsive addiction to saving them. I am a book junkie and like little Liesel, feel a strong and overwhelming compulsion to save the books of the world.
Now I’ll admit my situation is not quite as dire as Liesel’s. I’m not saving books from the burning rage and censorship of the Nazi regime. Rather I am saving my sweet-paged friends from dreary charity shop shelves, unloved homes and bookshops that allow them to fall into the wrong hands. Living in Dublin the streets are littered with goodwill shops begging you to take these once unwanted books off their hands. Classic Penguin publications, classic novels, Jane Austen, college textbooks, poetry, cookbooks, children’s titles; the list is endless. I simply cannot pass the opportunity up, particularly if said books are below two euro in price. It’s a severe addiction – regardless of genre, no book gets left behind.
The situation merely worsens when I enter a store dedicated to the sale of books. The smell fuels my adrenaline and I buzz about gathering books like a honey bee does nectar. Wandering for hours about the shelves, caressing the spines on the different books both new and old, bathing in their glorious scent allowing myself to become one with each before I smuggle it beneath my sleeve and move forth once more. I have often approached a service desk and spent well over the 60 euro mark on books alone (I’ll have you know, the two thirds of my weekly wages).
With this compulsion to rescue books from possible ill fate and create my very own ‘book shelter’ comes one very pressing problem – storage. Where does one display each of these literary wonders? Average bedrooms have room for only one meagre bookcase. Overcrowded and overflowing with books, not doing them justice. Hence, many people have partaken (many people here meaning an increasing amount of nerds) in turning their closets/wardrobes into ‘book nooks’. These pokey nooks and crannies are nothing other than a wardrobe with its doors removed and some cushions strewn on the floor and the surrounding walls transformed into wall to floor shelving. Thus creating approximately three bookshelves and a quiet space to read; your very own book universe. This idea appeals to book junkies, not only for its storage capacity but also its privacy, solitude and silence. Within the tiny cranny hidden in the wall we create our own worlds of wizards, lovers, poetry and cookery undisturbed from the world we so long to escape from. Basically, whoever came up with this idea was a genius and deserves some sort of prize. A book perhaps?
The only problem that arises with this addiction is not, as one might expect, the financial worries it brings but finding the time to read all these books. I find myself torn between college, work and social obligations that often books are forced to take a back seat. Reluctantly I might add. Nevertheless this is often the case. Some of you out there who are true nerds like me might find this puzzling but working 14 hours each weekend beginning at dawn each morning can be tiring. Ergo, the time and energy escapes me more than I’d like to admit. Each time I glance at my overflowing bookshelf I grimace and reflect shamefully on how many books I have yet to be read and demolished by my eyes. It’s an on-going heartbreak, folks, and is becoming increasingly hard to deal with.
There you have it, folks. The shortened but honest confessions of a book junkie, on a mission to create her very own book shelter, carrying on the work of the fictional yet inspiring Liesel Meminger. Some day building a ‘book nook’ to rule them all, a ‘book nook’ to find them all and in the ‘book nook’ bind them.
Photos c/o etsy.com, pinterest.com