I’ve always been obsessed with books. They are life long friends, one of the greatest treasures I’ve ever known. Old books, new books, childbirth and parenting books, Oprah’s book club books, the books assigned by my teachers at Middle Tennessee State University (particularly the women’s studies classes)… I’ve loved them all.
I did. Honestly. Even when I stopped reading.
For about 10 years, beginning with the birth of my son, I rarely actually read a book. I purchased, borrowed, collected, and inherited books. They were piled all around me. I would hold them, organize them, flip through them, and loan them to my friends. Occassionally, when I had a crisis, I would sink onto a pile before my beloved bookcase and “research” until I found something to avert said crisis. That happened the most with parenting things:
What does one do when their nursing toddler won’t stop biting?
How can I keep him from running out into the street without spanking?
Getting toddlers to sleep… what the hell?
And there were the others, the non-parental crisis:
How can I get my husband to stay when he wants to leave?
How to survive sharing my children with their father’s new wife?
What is codependency?
What to do when you’re married for the second time… and you think you’re a lesbian?
Clearly, I’ve leaned heavily on these books. And although a decade passed without me really reading them, I never could release them. Despite years of failed attempts, I wasn’t ready to stop calling myself a reader, declaring that I loved books. I wanted desperately to be the woman who read again. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.