Monday, June 02, 2008

Confessions of a Bookaholic

When I started kindergarten, at a parochial school in Chicago, I was the only child that did not speak English. I am pretty sure that I wasn't reading then either.

By the time I was in 2nd grade we had moved to the suburbs and my teacher encouraged my mother to enroll me in summer school for reading enrichment. The children of the suburbs were born and bred there and I, as an immigrant, was lagging behind. It was that summer where I lost myself within the covers of Charlotte's Web, with my teacher's help. It was the first novel I was able to read and absorb on my own.

In the third grade I was placed in a remedial classroom for children with learning disabilities. I spent the entire year reading and writing and hoping to move out of that "special wing" of the elementary school. At the end of the school year, my story entitled The Dancing Shoes won the Illinois Young Author's Award. This only ignited my obsession.

Even before coming to America, when my father was collecting scrap metals on the streets of Austria, my parents found some way to afford to read to us. We begged my mother at bedtime to finish the entire fable and did not allow her to save the rest for another day.

In high school my mother would storm into my bed room to shut off my light. I would kneel by my door in darkness, waiting to hear her gently slumbers, before jumping back into bed with John Irving in my hands.

Today not much has changed. I do not own a bookmark for there is no need for one. I must finish a book. That. Is. All.

My children were neglected this weekend due to my selfish obsession.

I filled up the kiddie pool with water and listened to them play for four hours, before being interrupted by my husband coming home from work. "The kids are freezing, it is only 72 degrees." He greeted us Saturday afternoon. The kids did not complain.

Sunday morning, I set out all the ingredients for French toast and had every intention of going back to prepare breakfast. Lola beat me to it.

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Sunday afternoon, with my novel in tow, we drove to the farm park to enjoy the sunshine. "Mama what are you reading?" Jay asked me in the car. And so, I read a couple of sentences out loud to quench his curiosity, "We fought over who got to sleep with the dogs - Tinkle, the Jack Russell terrier, and Pippin, a curly-haired mutt who had wandered down through the woods one day - because they kept us warm."

My husband cooked dinner and took the kids out for ice cream while I silently curled up on the couch in the evening. He put Fifi to bed much earlier than usual and I allowed the kiddos to watch E.T. and stay up much later than usual.... "The Glass Castle" never left my side. "Mama. Mom! Mama, E.T. has super magical powers." Lola repeated for the gazillionth time awakening me from the Appalachian mountains the novel is set in. "Mama, moooommy... just like Jesus coming alive again." She continued. Wha? E.T. like Jesus? Good connection, I suppose. Her Christian preschool way more influential than I originally thought.

The kids went to bed without brushing their teeth. Shhhhh... don't tell their dentist. I stayed in bed to finish Jeannette Walls's memoir. I smiled out loud and tossed up the book in excitement at the ending. It was 9pm and the book was completed in 24 hours. I started to wrap it up to send to an awesome Canadian as a book exchange. Only then did I realize that I completely stood up my awesome girlfriend for our date to see "Sex in the City." Sorry Anna.

My name is OHmommy and I am a bookaholic.

67classy comments:

Katie said...

LOVE that!! I am the same way, I hate not finishing a book right away!! I also used to get caught reading in my room after bedtime when I was younger~~I used to sit by my nightlight to read ;) So glad you got to finish your book! :)

renatamic said...

OMG - I've heard so many good things about the glass castle...it's now number 3 on my list. send it to me when you're done??

side note: you really SHOULD HAVE seen SATC...it was brilliant!! i'm seeing it again with a diff't grp of friends on thursday and then i also promised to go with my mom sometime soon. this from someone who hates going to the movie theater.

Aimee said...

I am the exact same way! I've stayed up until 3 am sometimes, just to finish a book. I HAVE to know the ending! :) How does you're husband handle it, pretty well it sounds...my husband thinks I'm nuts!;D

krissy said...

I'm just as guilty. My books are my outlet to life. I am a James Patterson fan, Janet Evanavich, Mary Higgans Clark and Lori Foster. Love them.

My daughter has been left to fend for herself many, many times and ignored even more.

Ashlee said...

You are not alone, OhMommy. I finished a trilogy in 4 days. I couldn't put the books down! My kids, hubby, and home were terribly neglected...but I couldn't help myself! I couldn't wait to find out the ending. I love a book that I can get that absorbed in. :0)

Rhea said...

My name is Rhea, and I'm a bookaholic also. Hearing your story helps me come out with my own. I can totally tune out my kids and husband with a book, and I'd choose a book over TV any day.

I read once that while reading to your kids is very important, it's also very important for them to see YOU reading as well, on your own. Sort of the "practice what you preach" approach.

I loved hearing about your progression into becoming an avid reader, and I'm so impressed with how hard you worked to get to this point. Thanks for sharing, what a wonderful post!

The Mom said...

I'd love to read more...but my reading has been focused to my feed reader!

You MUST reschedule and see Sex and the City, it was fab!

zoeyjane said...

what rhea said!

i've been known to stay up all night reading, put on multiple episodes of dora, feed meals completely comprised of slice n dice and spreadable foods, just to finish a book.

heaven help me when i find a new author that i'd never read before - i have to read their entire published works, as soon as possible.

Rachel said...

I am jealous you had a date with Anna. She's awesome.

I too am a bibliophile, book-a=holic, reading nerd.. whatever you like to call it :-)

Love Love Love the pictures! Such a big girl.

Laski said...

If you are to have any obsession . . . this has got to be one of the best to have.

I'm with you . . . I'm going to go out on a limb and say you are probably in good company here.

BTW, I was in that special wing in my parochial school as well . . . I remember the day I was finally set free.

Kellan said...

I don't remember the last book I read - I am very jealous!

Lovely post - I liked the image of you sitting on the floor by your door - sweet.

Have a good week - see you soon - Kellan

Cheri said...

I could not put down that book either.

Stacy said...

This is just too eerie...I just finished The Glass Castle about 5 minutes ago...just before I got online. And I just started it yesterday too! When I read the line you typed about the dogs I thought "No way!" But I am the same way with books....life stops until mama reads the last line~ outloud none-the-less. Yes, ever since I was a child I ALWAYS read the very last line of a book outloud. Weird,I know!

Laura said...

I am just like you! I was also put in special class for language development due to a speach problem and that I could not read outloud - later told it is a learning disability...anyways - even today I get so involved with a book that I cannot put it down.

It is a great escape.

Keep reading...and blogging!

Krystyn said...

I am the same way. Once I start a good book, I can't put it down! There are so many good writers!

Your kids...you can neglect...but don't neglect us! (Just kidding, of course).

Irene said...

Oh, The Glass Castle was an incredible book! I took it on vacation a couple years ago. Yes, it is definitely a "cannot put down" book. But I am not sure it would cause me to miss Sex in the City! LOL!!!!

kim-d said...

I couldn't put that book down, either! In fact, I was like you my whole life--until hot flashes and the attention span of a gnat became the order of the day--HA! Luckily for me, things are starting to straighten out again and I'm devouring "Twilight."

Jill said...

I'm going to be a copycat and say the same as everyone above...

I LOVE to read!

I sometimes keep my poor husband up at night because I laugh out loud, I cry, I fiddle when I read.

It looks like we should all start a club...

Karen said...

That sounds like an awesome book and one that I should get my hands on.

Kimber said...

I loved the Glass Castle too and I am a bookaholic too. I was fortunate enough to meet the author at a luncheon last year and ask her some questions (she lives in my area). She is amazing! I too got lost in a book this weekend...but it is too big to finish in one sitting (over 900 pages)...The Pillars of the Earth. Gory in spots but enthralling.

Kim

Kimber said...

I loved the Glass Castle too and I am a bookaholic too. I was fortunate enough to meet the author at a luncheon last year and ask her some questions (she lives in my area). She is amazing! I too got lost in a book this weekend...but it is too big to finish in one sitting (over 900 pages)...The Pillars of the Earth. Gory in spots but enthralling.

Kim

anglophilefootballfanatic said...

I read books the exact same way. And, the only bookmark I have is one I was given. My mother also would scream at me to turn off my light when I was younger. And, how wonderful that your parents took the time to read to you.

My new site is up:
anglophilefootballfanatic.com

Stella said...

I, too, love to read! When I find a book that I love I cannot put it down. My husband can attest to this. There are many nights when he'll roll over at 3am and I'll still be reading because I Just Need to Finish It!!!

Your daughter is quite perceptive....ET is used for all sorts of religious references! :)

Smart A$$ Mom said...

I was so into that book that I actually left it open on the counter to read while I brushed.

I read the same way, cover to cover dog earing pages to put down to attend to bandaids and such.

Lisa said...

I love, love, love books too. It's the one thing I'm absolutely sure you can't have too many of. I remember in elementary school being able to order as many books as I could read out of the Scholastic order. One time I ordered 15!!!

What's next on the bookshelf???

Kelly said...

I've always been a bookworm and have intilled it in my boys. There is nothing better than curling up with a good book or magazine and losing myself for awhile!

Don Mills Diva said...

I am the same which is why I almost never START books anymore - I can't wait to read that one!

LunaNik said...

I read the Glass Castle. It was awesome. However, I would never, ever let SATC slip my mind. My SATC addiction trumps my book addiction by far. =)

Holly said...

I would rather read a book than do just about anything. I've neglected my family because of books, many times. My boys are the same way. E will come downstairs hours after he's supposed to have been asleep, just so he can tell me about the book he finally finished. I love it!

Immoral Matriarch said...

I haven't read a book since October. This blogging thing man...

CC said...

I loved that book! I also have been horrid at reading since this whole internet addition consumed me....

And in regards to you being put in Special Ed because you weren't an English speaker.... WFH????

I would like to HOPE that wouldn't be the case today. Or at least, not in my school. Or 1/3 of my school would be in Sped.

Steph said...

I loved loved loved this book! It was the first book I ever picked for the girls in my book club and they loved it too. So glad you were able to enjoy the book and that your husband was such a sport in helping you.

moooooog35 said...

I, too, can usually get through one book in a sitting.

Granted, they all are 20 pages or less and have pictures...but whatever.

Clare said...

I love this post...I am exactly the same way. My husband always asks me if the book has velcro attached to my hand. I will ignore my family until the book is finished! During Pillar of the Earth it felt like an entire week that I didn't do a thing around the house. Bradley's entire nap was spent reading on the couch. The Glass Castle is a great read! Clare

Blessings From Above said...

I recently read the Glass Castle (although not in 24 hours!) and LOVED the book. Amazing how the author turned out so well despite her upbringing. You may want to check out this link, it is a short video with Jeanette Walls and her mom - her mom even shows some of her "prized" paintings.

http://www.turningpoints.atomicshops.com/wallsvideo.html

BTW, Lola’s pancakes look yummy! ;)

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I am the same way, OHMommy! I get lost in a good book.

Marmarbug said...

I am a book freak too. Drives the hubby nutty!!!

insane mama said...

Once I have opened the pages of a good book, there is nothing I wouldn't do to read "just a little more" even sneaking into the bathroom for like my third bath of the morning. Anything!

Crystal D said...

Oh there is nothing better than to lose yourself in a good book for 24 hours. I just did that last weekend with this silly series that my neighbor and I read. I puffy heart a good book.

Stephanie said...

I also had a little selfish time this weekend and finished my book. I don't know that I have ever owned a bookmark either. Once I start a book, good luck getting me to put it down. Though I DID go see SATC, and highly recommend you see it soon! It was fabulous!

Life As I Know It said...

I'm the same way with a good book.
The Glass Castle has been on my list for awhile but I haven't gotten to it. Yet.

LceeL said...

I remember once I was sick for a week and I read all 11 Stephanie Plum books that were out at the time.

Kim said...

I used to read like that.. ALL THE TIME.. when I was a child I was constantly reading something.. I miss reading.. but is something I know has to wait until the boys get a little bigger!

Love your pics as usual!!
Kimmylyn :)

Tracey said...

I so understand. Completely.

Pink Lemonade Liz said...

Sounds like a great book! I haven't had time to read in ages - maybe this summer - my "want to read" list is a mile long... where to start...

On the other hand... you missed "Sex in the City"??? ohmyheavens!

EatPlayLove said...

My hubby always gets a bit nervous when I pick up a new book at the library, I am also a completely voracious reader and can not put a book down.

Isn't it the best?

momof3crazykids said...

Wow sounds like a great book. I will have to find that one.
That french toast looked quite cinnamony-is that a word? If not it is now.

amanda said...

there truly is nothing quite like getting lost in a book. truly one of my favoritest things to do ever!

Dziadek said...

my story entitled The Dancing Shoes
Pamietam ta ksiazeczke-powinienas ja opublikowac-byla piekna
Napisz chociaz troche-wszyscy beda uwielbia-czy masz Ja???
co do ksiazek-ja przeczytalem dotychczas ok 10 tys.ksiazek-tak wyliczylem ksiazek

Nap Warden said...

Oh, this makes me feel bad...I just never get around to reading. I wish I did, but there's blogging to be done;)

carrie said...

Books usually take me a few days - but magazines? Cannot put one down until I have read every word (that is, every word that I'm interested in reading!).

I've heard a lot about that book - now I must read it too!

the mama bird diaries said...

Well... if you are going to be a "holic".. this is a good one.

Glad you enjoyed the book.

Wendi said...

Oh how I love books too! I have not read one in a while. Life has been busy. You have inspired me. I have one waiting for me on my bedside table. I will start it tonight. Thanks for the review on the Glass Castle...that will be next on my list!
Love the photos of sweet Lola! What a helper you have in the kitchen!

Maureen said...

Well, the first step is admitting you have a problem, they say...

But a problem I have to admit I share with you. My "library" is filled with books read, re-read or yet-to-be-read.

I love it. Great post.

mamatulip said...

I was exactly the same way with that book. Wasn't it riveting?

I love this post...I see so much of myself in it. You're a treat to read.

Lisa said...

I used to be such a reader but it is so hard now :(

I am racking my brain trying to figure out the mix for the french toast--lots of cinnamon?!

Mr Lady said...

Book exchange? with MY name not attached? Woman, you have some splainin' to do.

Karen MEG said...

You blog AND you read? Pshawww!!!
I used to be like that too, not being able to put the book down; now it's fashion mags that just depress me... although I have started the Other Boleyn Girl.. I am sooooo behind.

Must be a great read, and book exchange, what a great idea ... with Ali of all people, cool.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I'm only as good as the book I'm reading.... :-)

just jamie said...

Loved The Glass Castle. Definitely worth neglecting your kids for, after all, it couldn't be neglect like anything read in that poor memoir.

And, I was hoping for OhMommy's story The Dancing Shoes to make a blog appearance. Please?

MamaWise said...

It's alright my dear. I probably would have gotten you sick. Would you believe that my illness has resurfaced as of yesterday. I am so sick... I think I was feeling better on Saturday as a matter of pure adrenaline.

ConverseMomma said...

OH honey, I totally feel ya. I am so in love with books. Seriously, even the smell of a bookstore turns me on. Seriously, my fantasy in college was always to do it in the stacks late at night. Like butt naked in the philosophy section, all hot with Sartre, or Voltaire, but that is really probably more than you wanted to know or imagine, right?

Eve Grey said...

Me too. (in love with books that is)
I love your comment conversemomma!

April said...

Thank you for the valuable life lesson! I will stay up (unwittingly) until 2 am to finish a good book - but I don't start reading until they go to bed. Now I see the secret to getting a good night's sleep and feeding my addiction is to just turn on ET :)

Death By Soup said...

Hi ,

Recently started reading your blogs and thought I'd jump out of lurkerville.

I can relate a lot to this post. The worst part of bookaholism I think , is when you just purchase a new book that you've been dying to read and you have to wait , until you are able to read it , read it , and not have to deal with those itty bitty reading sessions like in grade three.
Individual Reading Time is what htey called it at my school and it was all of 20 minutes :(

Flea said...

OHmommy, that's really the only way to read a book. I've learned, as I've gotten older, to put books down and pick them up later, but it's not as much fun. Reading at stoplights is much more fun.

Thanks for sharing your addiction. :)

Amy said...

I too am a bookaholic! Just finished The Glass Castle myself and can't wait to discuss it at book club this week. Sure did make me feel like I was an AWESOME mom!

 

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