“Everything I do all day, I do in preparation for my reading time. Give me a great novel or memoir, some tea and a cozy spot to curl up in, and I’m in heaven…
Insight, information, knowledge, inspiration, power: All that and more can come through a good book.”
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Oprah’s a gifted reader whose love of books has made her a beacon of light in the publishing industry. And Annie Lamott is a gifted writer whose books and essays are beloved and eagerly awaited.
But whether writers or readers, or both, like Oprah and Annie, we all share a common bond: We belong to what I call the Joyous Bookaholics Club. This club is open to anyone and it’s free: the only price of admission is a boundless love for the written word.
Joyous Bookaholics are easy to spot: As kids, they’ll read anything and everything, from the labels on their T-shirts to the backs of cereal boxes. When they get their own library card, they act like they’ve been given the keys to the kingdom. Their rooms are full of books, but they have their special favorites — the ones they read again and again. When it’s lights out, they don’t give a hoot, because they can fish out their flashlights from under the covers and keep reading until they drop. That was me, anyway — I hope and pray that some kids still feel like this.
Joyous Bookaholics of the adult variety pursue their obsessions more openly: They have piles of books stacked here and there because their shelves are all full. Despite warnings by other, more rational people, they are constantly adding to their piles. And despite digital seduction, they still love the smell and creamy, nubbly feel of the real deal: a book that comes with two covers and has honest-to-goodness pages.
Cancel that: You can be digitally seduced and still join the Joyous Bookaholics Club. I have friends who absolutely love to read and adore their Nooks and Kindles, which sort of look like skinny books (especially when they have leather covers). So, take your magic carpet ride on the covers of a book or in cyberspace — whatever sets you flying.
Joyous Bookaholics, unite! I think I’m going to have a membership card made up and carry it with me. Then, when I meet a fellow traveler, I can flash it and without even speaking, the two of us will know that we’re on the same page. Write on!