My Reading Problem by Emily Rozmus
When I realized that I had a problem, I went to see a specialist. He recommended I begin to keep a journal, so I could track my cravings to see if there was pattern to them – variety, time, triggers, etc. I agreed. What you will read next is five days of journaling as I begin on the road to recovery.
Monday 1:36 pm
I check my email for updates. There are three new emails from popular publishing houses and one from a review journal. I click on the first publishing house email with the bold headline: Top 10 Fall Releases! I browse through the top ten releases from this publishing house. Three I already have added to my to-read list. One book, Beastly Bones by William Ritter, looks promising. It is the follow up to Jackaby. I browse the description – England 1892, supernatural, thrilling, nonhuman creature…key words jump off the screen. I quickly add both books to my to-read list and briefly consider ordering them now. I stop, assess my current mood, and decide I am giving in to a passing desire. I have many books to read already; there is no need to order these two books today. This craving can be controlled. I feel triumphant. I delete the rest of the book publisher emails.
Tuesday 11:47 am
It is lunch time. I eat my soup and check Twitter. A tweet from a Book Rave blogger reads “ReadyPlayerOne movie release Dec ‘17 #80’s #gamer #oldschool.” I haven’t yet read this book by Ernest Cline, though it has been on my to-read list for four years. Sigh. I know they have it at the school where I was the librarian. Sigh. I text my daughter, a freshman in high school. “Check out Ready Player One by Ernest Cline from the library. K?” She replies, “Anything 4 u.” Sigh. This is okay, right? I’m not adding any new books to my to-read list – this will actually shorten that list. It will be the next book I read. I’m still doing okay battling this problem! This journal is really working!
I am reading Gabaldon’s Voyager in bed. Jamie and Claire are on a ship in search of his nephew who was seized by the British. It is hard not to get caught up in the 18th century when I am reading the Outlander series, yet I find myself thinking about a realistic contemporary juvenile book downstairs on the shelf in my office. I bought Fish in a Tree this summer at a reading summit after listening a school librarian – let’s call him Mr. Blue – inspired me to purchase five titles that day. In my defense, several people had recommended that book and I waited for almost a month before I bought Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s book. I love the feel of that book – just the right weight with a smooth cover…it’s the next book I am going to read, I decide. I go back to Jamie and Claire and finish the chapter before turning off the light. It’s been a good day.
Thursday, 3: 58pm
I have to clean up my office a little bit. I have tomorrow off and I want to be ready for Monday. I haven’t looked at the most recent shipment of books I received for reviewing, so I decide to open the box and put the books on my shelf. There are six of them, one picture book, two juvenile, one nonfiction and two young adult. One of the juvenile books is called The Doldrums by a new author, Nicholas Gannon. It is heavy and the pages are thick. There are full-color illustrations. I smell it. Oh, does it smell wonderful! This will be the next book I read, I think. I can’t wait to smell it every time I open it. I look around my office at the four bookshelves. I am momentarily dizzy at the joy from the bounty of books there – some read, some unread, some brand new, some discarded from the library. All mine. I am surrounded. I take a couple of deep breaths, and finish putting the new review books up with the others. I quickly leave my office and do some dishes to take my mind off books.
I am at the local super grocery store where I can buy vegetables, sweat pants and cat litter all at the same time. I can even buy books there. I decide I want to get a new word puzzle book, so I turn my cart into the magazine and book alcove. I am just browsing, I remind myself. There are mostly books that have recently been turned into movies. I have read most of those anyway – but, wait – what is that book? I pick up Rainbow Rowell’s newest book Carry On. Oh! It is also marked with a discounted price on the smiley-face price tag. I am going to buy it. I have to buy it! I want to read it now! I immediately begin to think of Park and Eleanor and start singing Joy Division in my head. I think of Cath and Wren and Simon Snow. I love Rainbow Rowell! This is the book I am going to read next!
I know I have a problem. The specialist said I have a problem. He told me, “Write it all down. Let’s find out what makes you buy, keep, savor, re-read, shop for, think about, crave books.” In five days I think I have found that maybe I don’t really care about the why. I don’t really think I have a problem, now that I think about it. No, I KNOW there’s no problem with my reading problem! Why, my reading problem is an educational problem! It’s never led to any financial problems! Reading has yet to lead me to relationship problems or social problems. Space problems – well, okay. I might have a storage problem from reading….but in the bigger picture, that’s really not a problem, is it?
I am going to head to bed now and read. I am still reading Voyager, and I am not sure what I will read next. That never seems to be a problem -trying to decide what to read next. There is a long list of books and plenty readily available on hand. Life is good. On Monday, I’ll call that specialist and cancel our next appointment. And before I go up to bed, I need to check my office, just to look at the books on the shelves, and perhaps, to dream about the possibilities…
Emily Rozmus was an English teacher and school librarian for 20 years, before she chose a new career. Since December 2013, she has been an Integration Librarian for INFOhio, Ohio’s PreK-12 online Library. She enjoys spending time with her husband, three children and cats, as well as reading, reading, reading. You can follow her on Twitter @rozmuse or read her blog museofreading.blogspot.com.