Food Whore/Book Whore and the Bookmobile

We call one of our cats, Mimi, a “food whore” because she will do anything to try to get a bite of food. She chews through plastic bags, jumps up on the counter, and has even opened the zipper, yes, opened the zipper on my backpack to get at the muffin I smuggled home from work.

Mimi is my cat, and like her I practice harlotry. I am a book whore. I think the worst thing for me about not having money, or being poor, would be not having books at my disposal. I know the library is free, but I like to own the books. Selfish? Yes. I write in them, I dog-ear the pages, I do all those things Mrs. Heinkel my middle school librarian taught us not to do. I even eat Cheetos while I read because they are my books! I just ordered a new round of books from Amazon, which is a thing I hate. I hate the impersonal nature of ordering books online. I want to hold them and fondle them and love them in person. I like to do it in public with other people who love books the way I love them. I love hardbacks with no jackets. And I love paperbacks with their soft, fresh flexibility. I love independent bookstores, coffee shops, etc. But I also love a bargain. I preordered the new Harry Potter book, and I ordered three other books, Sex God by Rob Bell, The Gospel According to SBUX by Leonard Sweet, and Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott. I couldn’t resist them. They called to me from the computer screen.

Becky and I are eventually going to try to buy a house. One of my requirements is a room that I can use for a library/study. I am sure that it will have to be on a ground floor because I have so many books that I am afraid they will collapse a second floor room. She makes fun of me because I have this phobia that I might fall through to the floor below. I am pretty sure that my books would compromise the integrity of the structure of our house. I already own about 14 cases of books.

I say all of this because I am currently rereading a book called Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America, and I am rereading another book called the Irresistible Revolution. I do not feel guilty for my wealth, my ability to read, my book harlotry (okay, yeah, i do), but I do feel a strong pull to part with some of my books. I feel like maybe I could donate them, but I have worked in a library and I know what happens to most of the books that people donate. They end up being discarded in the annual booksale. They are then purchased by people who will not love them like I do. People who will read my notes and touch my pages. People who may throw my books away when they are finished with them. I have this vision of driving all over the country and placing books in public spaces for people to enjoy at their leisure. But I can’t part with my books.

This is warped, I know. I know they are just books and maybe, just maybe, one of those books would change a life, but they are mine. There. It is out. My struggle is my ability to part with “my” earthly belongings. I could have nothing, but I have much, and those to whom much is given, much is expected. Maybe, I should by a VW bus and start my own bookmobile?

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