‘ My name is Peary Perry’.

‘Welcome, Peary Perry’.

‘I am a bookaholic. Welcome, Peary Perry, bookaholic.’

I suppose that’s how it would go if there was such an organization. I probably need to join some kind of social group to be able to restrain my book buying, book saving compulsion. I can’t seem to help myself and am in danger of spinning totally out of control.

When we moved some months ago, I know we had more boxes containing books than any other item in our house. I have quit trying to count how many we have scattered all around each room. I tell myself I’m going to stop buying new ones and start reading the old ones, but somehow that just never seems to happen. Long ago I stopped feeling huge amounts of guilt because I have books which were bought twenty years ago that haven’t been read as of yet.

Now, to be honest most of the books I have not read are all reference books of some sort, not novels. Well, that’s not totally true; in fact that’s a lie. Years ago, I signed up for some program called ‘The 100 Greatest Books of All Time.’Each month for 100 months (almost 9 years!) I got a gold edged leather bound book in the mail. Little ditties like ‘War and Peace’and ‘Tristam Shandy’and that all time favorite’. ‘The Peloponnesian War.’Books that you find really difficult to pick up and slip off to some quiet corner for an afternoon of light reading enjoyment. All 100 of these came with a synopsis outlining the story and plot. I can’t even bring myself to read those. So, they sit in a bookshelf looking marvelous which elicit comments from visitors from time to time. Comments such as ”Oh, how nice’ I suppose you’ve read all of these”I guess I should look for someone or some place to donate them to before I die, I don’t want anyone to have to move them again. Too much trouble.

I don’t keep novels, once I’ve read them I tend to pass them along to someone else to enjoy or throw away. My wife reads a lot of the things I happen to like so she gets first dibs and then they go to whoever is interested in the leftovers. She and I differ in our reading beliefs. Once I start a book, I’ll try to finish it unless it’s really, really bad. I mean really, really bad. I keep thinking it might get better if I just wait long enough. She won’t do this. She starts one, and if it stinks, then she has no problem stopping, not going to waste her time. As you can guess, I find this hard to do.

I get on one subject and tend to stay there until I just get sick of it. Before my surgery in June, I had gotten into a group of novels that were 1200 pages long. I think I did about six of them before I gave up and surrendered. I felt like these people were taking over my life. Then I found a mystery writer and read all thirteen of his books. After the last one, I panicked and found myself in our local book store searching the shelves in a sort of daze much like some drug addict looks for their next fix. I’ve done Roman history novels, World War I and II novels, spy stuff, murders; English naval novels’just about anything entertaining that I can get my hands on will satisfy my craving.

I shy away from westerns and science fiction, but everything else is fair game as far as I’m concerned. Historical fiction is the best if it’s done right.

I no longer belong to any book of the month club. I guess they’re still around, but I kept getting things in the mail that weren’t interesting and you have to pay for them or ship them back. Do they even have book clubs anymore’I never really liked the way the pages looked on the ends, like they were torn rather than cut. No one could ever tell me when they looked that way in the first place. I do remember they weren’t all that cheap. Especially if you forgot to mail in the little card each month telling them you didn’t want that month’s selection. Some of their selections were really awful, but you still had to pay for them. I’m sure this is how they made their money.

I suppose my addictive habit is somewhat harmless, it keeps me off the streets and out of the bars. Besides you save more money buying books than you can buying glasses of wine these days. And you still have something to give away.

But, then that’s another story.