Confessions of a Bookaholic

One of the first spots I head to when moving to a new city is the public library – my kind of dollhouse. When I step through the lofty front lobby, I instinctively hold my breath for a few seconds, while my wandering eyes grow bigger. People talk softer and seem calmer, the floors are carpeted to muffle echoes and minimize sounds. In the distance, an ambulance siren, in the outside world, is deafened by the thick, large windows.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~ Attributed to Groucho Marx
Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. ~ Attributed to Groucho Marx

I relish in the silence, in the dusty dry air of the books’ presence, I glance at the reading rooms. As I am approaching the rows and rows of books lined up on the shelves, waiting to be picked and shuffled, a nervous thrill catches me. I’m like a girl in a Zara shop.  I can browse through any book my eyes fall on, and take home whatever I want, as long as I bring it all back within one month, and without the corners ripped off! OMG!  I always borrow more books than I can read in one month. More than I’m ever going to open! But it’s books! Hello!?! I cannot help it.

I always borrow more books than I can read.
I always borrow more books than I can read.

Oh, I also have a confession to make: I love to smell and touch the books. To crack open a new book, get close near its inner spine and inhale deep down until my pores fill up with the printing press scent of this magnificent creature. To feel the rough fiber of the pages between my fingers, to get them greyed and sandy from touching too much ink. Moving past this first hello, I cannot wait to know all about the book’s tales and secrets. And all about her neighbors’ tales and secrets.

A starved bulimic in action is what my compulsive reading habits resemble. Being surrounded by a swarm of books gives me the impression of being sheltered; I feel safe from the hunger of discovering more and more volumes. I’m such an incurable addict that I am literally afraid to go out of the house without a book in my purse. And as I usually divide my attention between several books simultaneously, imagine what that does to my poor bag!

My favorite library in Barcelona, Spain.
My favorite library in Barcelona, Spain.

I call it the infancy of my reading habits, since I’m just like an inexperienced, greedy teenager: I rarely have the patience to discover an entire book, before I already think about starting others that I spotted around. I have my morning-metro novel, my bedtime book, my lunchtime series of reference works, my feel-good book in between… I gulp through the pages to get farther and farther, only to reach more unexplored parts, to have a reason to gulp again.

I confess. I am obsessed with books and I love my addiction. And I refuse to seek help for it.


  1. a woman after my own heart! I am the exact same way Monica! I am at our wonderful public library (always packed in this university town) practically every day. the kids run to the reference section for the bugs, spiders, marine animal books and I go straight to the pick-up shelves for the latest books I had on request that just came in. I grew up going to the library and to the book store frequently and I think a love for books and reading is born early. My dream is to work in a book store! I had the (dorky) bragging rights to being the first person in my county to place on hold and receive the new biography “Hemingway’s Boat” hardback copy at our library (which I just finished , absolutely amazing). Sigh. Just picked up two more books that are waiting for me in the living room. Love the chairs in your barcelona library. Ours not quite as hip, but has a new teen “lounge” for teenagers and was renovated recently with beautiful artwork and skylights. wonderful post to start the day off here (which is a holiday). thanks!.

    • Thanks for the lovely words, Monique! Good point, reading is born (or taught!) early. What a pity for those who were not as fortunate as your kids to be brought up in a daily-library-time environment. What is it with the libraries?! For me it’s like a spell.
      Have a good long weekend!

  2. I feel the same way! What a great post! I have already checked out WAY more books than I can read before they are due back and yet, I still want more! I love getting library cards wherever I live, and am so pleased to discover there actually are English books for pleasure reading. I also love used book stores, I feel like they are confused on the prices and have no idea how valuable the books are. I always walk out with something, and yet I almost never finish them. Funny about your physically abused purses for hauling these books around with you like your daily travel companions haha!
    Love my books. LOVE those futuristic reading chairs in Barca!
    Loved the post.

    • So much LOVE in your comment! 🙂 And yes, used bookstores are such a charming place to check out too. When you visit Barcelona, I’ll take you to this library to see the chairs.

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