Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gorging on Books

Yesterday, I got a huge shipment of books from Amazon. Yes, I buy from Amazon, even as I also support local, independent bookstores--and chain bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders; I'll buy books from anyone who has what I'm seeking. I got 5 or 6 volumes of poetry, which I'll write about in the weeks to come.

My husband and I fell under the spell of Daniel Amen, who seems to be on the air nonstop when our PBS station does fundraising, so I bought us a copy of Amen's Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: Use Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted. After hearing William Alexander on this installment of The Diane Rehm Show, I got 52 Loaves:One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust and Justin Cronin's The Passage, which I'm almost afraid to read whilst on vacation on my sister's sailboat, since several reviewers have mentioned how the book left them afraid of the dark. I remember in high school reading Stephen King's Salem's Lot, which left me scared to sleep--what if I invited a vampire into the house because I was talking in my sleep?

Last night, as we watched The Simpsons, I read (out loud) a poem from a different volume at each commercial break. It was an interesting approach, both to old reruns, the commercials that dissect them, and to poetry.

I flipped through my stack of books and was reminded of my adolescent practice. I used to save up all my allowance and birthday money and babysitting money, and every so often, I'd go to B. Dalton Bookstore and buy whatever I wanted. For the most part, I was buying those young adult novels, where a teen is in trouble (pregnancy, drug abuse, hit and run driving, paranormal experiences of all kinds) and can't rely on the adults for help. I loved not having to choose between them. I loved gorging on books.

I still love gorging on books. Now I tend to buy them and put them on the shelf while I wait for a chance to read them. But I love going to a bookstore and telling myself I can buy whatever I want. I love loading books into the Amazon cart and waiting for the right time in the credit card cycle to place the order--that wonderful anticipation! I love being surrounded by stacks of books--the books which wait patiently for me and the books which I read long ago, but can't quite surrender yet.

I've already bought my dad a Father's Day present (a book--shh! don't tell), but if I hadn't, I'd contribute to one of the social justice organizations suggested in this piece by Nicolas Kristof. He tells us some of the stats of what we'll spend on Father's Day cards and gifts, and then he suggests some amazing social justice organizations which could make better use of that money. Most of us have dads who have more stuff than they can use in any one lifetime. Why not give to organizations which help the kids who don't have dads in their lives?


Sandy Longhorn said...

Hey, Kristin, I'm a gorger too. I had to stop reading Stephen King really early b/c Christine scared me into a nearly catatonic state according to my mother, who might have been exaggerating just a bit.

Looking forward to hearing about the new books of poetry.

As for book buying, hope you'll consider Better World Books, which usually has what Amazon has, including discounts, but uses its profits to fund global literacy efforts. (

Sherry O'Keefe said...

non-book people in my life don't understand the thrill of a stack of unread books. for me, the anticipation of adventure each book offers is thrilling. i tell them it is like having cheesecake in the frig you haven't eaten yet.

good to hear about the, as well. i am off to check that out.

Kristin said...

I, too, will check out Better World Books. I would love for my book obsession to help fund literacy efforts--thanks for that tip, Sandy!