I’ve been banned. From getting new books.
Why, you might ask? Because I suffer from the age-old problem of readers the world over: too many unread books.
I put books on hold at the library. I pick them up. I see interesting options in the ‘New Titles’ and display areas; a few end up in my hands. I return home with a bulging bag that I set down beside the library bag from last week, which stands next to the desk with the books I bought a few months ago.
All are still untouched.
It’s not exactly bibliophilia, as I borrow more books than I buy. And it’s not bibliomania—I’m not hoarding tomes that will be worth millions by the time I’m old and grey.
I’m more of a dormant bookworm—reading a book for pleasure one week, then devouring a few at a time for most of the next. I could spend hours lying on my bed or sitting on a chair, engrossed in my latest read.
Bookstores are easier for me to avoid. Here, the books aren’t free. The money I’d spend is money I’m saving for housing, tuition, and food.
I amble through bookstores nowadays. If something catches my eye, I look around surreptitiously, whip out my phone, and snap a picture of the cover. Later, I see if I can find it for free, since I’m a starving soon-to-be-broke student and need to save my pennies.
(This doesn’t always work. I decided to enter a bookstore in Parksville a few months ago. I left with three books and $70 less in my bank account.)
The library is much more dangerous because it doesn’t cost me anything. But I don’t just go there for the books. I go there for the experience.
I need to leave my room and stroll up and down the aisles. I need the weight of those books in my arms. Who cares if I’ll read only one or two? Who cares if there’s already a stack glaring at me from the floor? I must return to my oasis. I need a distraction, to educate myself on different cultures, to immerse myself in someone else’s life.
But I need to stop. I’m running out of table space.
Hence the ban I imposed on myself mid-August. I’ve made a small but sizable dent in my TBR (To Be Read) pile. The only books I’ve bought are for courses this semester. So far, I’ve been busy enough that I haven’t felt the urge to go downtown, to Country Club mall, or to the north end for the libraries there.
But I can feel it coming on the cooling autumn air.
When September ends, I’ll step foot inside a library. Allow myself to pick out a few (very few) items.
And I know I’ll break my rules. It’s part of human nature. I have to accept it.
I love books. I am enticed, I collect, and eventually I read.
Because I’m a bookworm.
Sophia Wasylinko is a third-year Creative Writing and Journalism student. She was the Entertainment Reporter for CHLY 101.7FM in winter 2020. Her favorite things in life are cats, the color purple, coffee, and books (mysteries or books about ghosts, murder, and crime in general). Sophia is excited to be back in Nanaimo and hopes to explore more of Vancouver Island this year.View all articles