Tuesday, September 5, 2006

My name is Jenny, and I am a book-purchasing FIEND

But in my defense, it isn’t really my fault. My mother started reading The Chronicles of Narnia to me and my sisters when we were very tiny (I was like two), and then when I was growing up we always read at the dinner table, and furthermore we always read all the time no matter what we were doing, leaving me with an unending hatred for faucets you turn rather than faucets you lift, because with the former it is much more difficult to get water and read at the same time without getting the cup wet and leaving rings wherever you happen to set it down.

Plus my family would go to Maine every year for summer vacation for three weeks, and that was its own set of issues. For one thing, we had two specific bags that were designated as book bags, and we all got to choose, I don’t know, ten or fifteen books that we wanted to bring, this in addition to whatever books we were packing in our own personal entertainment backpacks that stayed with us in the car as we drove there.

For another thing, once we got to Maine, our Louisiana brains were overwhelmed with the idea of used bookstores. Used bookstores. With books inside that were used. Someone had used them before us and then discarded them. And the books didn’t rot! They weren’t rotted books! They could just hang out in the bookstores for as long as they wanted, and it never got humid enough for them to rot! We couldn’t pass up a used bookstore. There was this one bookstore in Maine called “Books and Other Treasures” where the books were just stacked in humongous tippy stacks, and we would have to dig them out. We would get these stacks a foot high and bring them to the owner, and she would size them up and go, “Dollah.”

Right, so my point is, we were encouraged in this whole book-buying thing. We have something like sixteen bookshelves at my house, of which at least six are proper floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. My mother is constantly wanting more bookshelves. Now we have reached a point where my father says we have to quit getting books because the foundations of our house are sagging because we have so many books. This is not wholly without precedent: one time we were driving back from Maine, and our car broke down, and the car-fixing man couldn’t believe how heavy our car was, and he was all like, What’ve you got in there, rocks?

(But it was books.)

My mother actually wrote a postcard to my uncle George, who was then building us four humongous bookshelves, to tell him about this incident, in order to expedite the building process.

I guess I’m just trying to justify the fact that I bought three new books the other day to bring to England with me. I’m sorry, house foundations. I will take them to England with me and you will not have to worry.

P.S. Did I mention that Neil Gaiman is publishing a new book of short stories in late September?