This is a public service announcement for everyone who knows me in real life or ever will meet me in real life.
I have an addiction. It is crippling, and tragic, and deserves a reality show, but it is one often ignored by the public because of its low visibility. Despite this it is an addiction shared by 50% of Americans.
I am addicted to not reading books.
Last week David bought me a book for mother’s day. He bought me the kindle version, which I would normally read on the app on my phone, but because doing that means getting half a paragraph per page I elected to borrow my sister-in-law’s kindle fire. After I realized that you can’t just move a book from one kindle to another, even though you bought it and should be able to move it and I sincerely doubt anyone is committing grand book larceny with copies of Lysa Terkeurst books, I decided to put my credit card on the kindle and shop for a cheap book, just to have something to browse through on that big shiny thing.
I was about two pages through Joy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment (a hopeful book that relies heavily on guilt and admonishing, odd choice) when my phone pinged with a notification. R.C. Sproul was giving his shorter apologetics books away for free! I hurried onto the Amazon store and downloaded eight of them. I started reading the first one, How To Know God’s Will, hungrily highlighting phrases and leaving notes and cross references to other pages. Or rather, other page, because I was only on page 3 when I spotted a phrase I didn’t agree with. It could just be quirky grammar but instead I chose to assume he was an unrepentant jerkwad and closed the book. I decided that kindles were dumb and what I really wanted to read was a paper book.
So I opened up the drawer by the side of my bed. There sat the last couple of books I had bought from Value Village. I grabbed the one off the top and cracked it open.
After a few pages of elaborately constructed dinners–some of which she doesn’t even give recipes for, she just assumes you know how to make mashed potatoes, which is not a fair assumption in this household–I started to feel inadequete, so I dropped the book like an absentminded astronaut who is used to being able to just let go of things and have them stay there and started rummaging deeper into the book drawer. I found a wonderful book on housekeeping and was convinced it would cure my ails, since I’ve always been better at cleaning than I am at cooking.
I was quickly reminded that being better at something than I am at cooking does not mean I am good at it, it just means there is a lower chance of me setting anything on fire. I dropped that book too. But that’s okay because here on top of the nightstand is the book that just came in from the library, I need to read this one for a discussion group I’m having in a few weeks. Perfect, I’ll settle back and do this.
At this point I’m so drunk on the narcotic that is thinking-about-reading-books-but-not-actually-reading-them that I don’t even start reading. I’ve barely managed to flip past the acknowledgements to find the first page before my attention span runs out and I flip the book over my shoulder into the pile. I quickly decide I’m more of a fiction reader anyway, and the problem was all the nonfiction I was trying to digest. That’s why I can’t focus. I wander out to one of my five crammed bookshelves and pick up the first book I see. Perfect, my mother in law lent me this, I need to read it and get it back to her. She said it was pretty emotional though, it’s about religious persecution and has some awful deaths in it. Maybe this is a bad idea.
I’m sobbing, this was a bad idea. Okay, calm down, we can manage this. Just grab something, anything. This is your relaxing time, you like reading, it relaxes you, just read something!
Okay, I’m out. As soon as I seriously consider fantasy that means I’m done.
I emerge from my book bender with no new information learned, no edification done, nothing improved in my life, but I do have a vague sense of self satisfaction at owning and thus obviously reading a ton of books.