"I am such an addict." That's what I thought to myself as I stood at the counter of the little independent bookstore on Main Street, handing over my debit card to pay an amount that could--and should--have been used for food (I have yet to grocery-shop for the week) or clothing (I pulled yet another thread from my sleeve as I waited for the cashier to ring up my purchase).
Will I read these books? Of course I will.
Did I plan to buy these books when I walked into the bookstore? Of course I didn't.
Yet, even before I walked in, I knew I would be poorer when I walked back out. Even as I stepped into the store, I thought to myself, "Self, you really don't want to do this." See, I usually try to leave my wallet behind when I go to a bookstore. That's one way I can (almost) guarantee that I won't buy anything. I say "almost" because I've been known to tell the clerk, "Could you hold this book? I just need to run to my car and get my wallet ..."
I bought four books. One should not buy four books at a time. If one is going to get four books at a time, one should be at the library, or at least a used-book store, where the tattered old copies are a quarter apiece.
But one can't write in library books. And, as much as I love used books, there's nothing quite like a new book.
What's really sad, and what is a true sign of this addiction, is the fact that these aren't the first four books I've bought this week. I bought two on amazon.com yesterday.
(No, I don't have an endless supply of money for books. I did the same thing, minus amazon.com (which didn't exist yet), when I was a broke twentysomething.)
It's true that I've been looking for a good novel to read. I generally keep three or four books going at once--the Bible, a nonfiction book on theology or philosophy, some other nonfiction book, and a novel. So lately I'm reading Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure (by Martin Lloyd-Jones), and I'm getting ready to start Uneven Ground: Appalachia since 1945 (by Ronald D Eller). I've read a couple of novels since Atlas Shrugged, but none have grabbed me the way Atlas Shrugged did. So yes, I've been looking for a novel.
I went through all of my bookcases the other night, but nothing jumped out at me.
So what choice did I have?
I went to the classics section, which is, of course, the only section worth browsing. (Just kidding. But it's my favorite section.) I've read most of the books in the small classics section at our bookstore, so I decided I'd buy four books I either (a) had never read, or (b) haven't read in a long time. Of course, they couldn't be books I already owned.
So, I bought:
The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom (I’m not sure why this one was in the classics section. But it jumped out at me, and I was in a book-buying mood, so now it’s mine.)
Animal Farm, by George Orwell (I know I’ve read this before. I don’t remember it. So I’m reading it again.)
The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan (I love this book.)
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand (If I can’t find something to grab me the way Atlas Shrugged did, I guess it’s a good idea to read something else by the same author.)
That's two books I've read and two books I haven't read. Considering one of them (Pilgrim's Progress) is one of my favorite books of all times, it kind of shocks me to think I didn't have my own copy.
Who knows. Maybe I do have my own copy. But now I definitely know I do.
(I know. Spoken, or at least written, like a true book-buying addict.)