They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery, so here goes.
My name is Cyndi.
I am a bookaholic, a binge-reader. And it's causing me to lose my mind.
I've probably been like this ever since I started reading Morris the Moose Goes to School at age 4.
Before I knew it, I was devouring The Chronicles of Narnia, Nancy Drew and The Bobsey Twins, the Anne of Green Gables series, Little House on the Prairie and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms.
Then it was lots of Judy Blume and some of these favorites, followed by every one of the Sweet Valley High books (which I borrowed from my friend's collection a couple at a time).
At some point in high school, someone loaned me copies of The Handmaid's Tale, Bonfire of the Vanities, Skinny Legs and All and The Cider House Rules -- it was like feeling the power of the ocean for the first time and realizing that backyard swimming pool wasn't so refreshing after all. For my senior English class, there was Heart of Darkness and The Metamorphosis and plunging into Hermann Hesse's Demian and Narcissus and Goldman, then Ibsen's plays like A Doll's House and Hedda Gabbler -- that was the year I decided to be an English teacher.
In college, I didn't have as much time for "pleasure reading" -- but being an English education major meant I got to read plenty for classes. Rediscovering American classics like The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby, finding whole new territories in One Hundred Years of Solitude, wandering into the amazing North Carolina writings of Kaye Gibbons, Clyde Edgerton and Lee Smith, taking women's studies lit-based classes with A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Madame Bovary and Tracks.
I also dated a boy whose parents owned a bookstore (I may have had a harder time letting go of them and their shop than I did him) -- they introduced me to more Margaret Atwood, Tom Robbins and John Irving plus Doris Betts, Michael Lee West, Robert Inman, Ferroll Sams, Alice Walker, Barbara Kingsolver and more.
Once I started teaching, there was even less free time to read, so I spent my summer breaks diving through the high school reading list -- The Bluest Eye, Ellen Foster, A Raisin in the Sun. When I left teaching for Wales, I read the British versions of Bridget Jones and the first three Harry Potter books while I learned all the local lingo.
I've always consumed books as much as I've read them -- but it seems that the less time I have to read, the more likely I am to binge once I start. Which makes me afraid to start a book. Which makes me afraid to put it down once I start. And so the cycle continues.
More recent reads include Water for Elephants (which I finished early on a Sunday morning while plying my children with cartoons), The Help (which I practically swallowed whole while abandoning my children to friends at the beach), Lift (which I read sobbing on the beach while my husband entertained the kids) and the first two books of the Clockwork Dark series by my friend John Bemis (book three should be out soon!).
And of course, there's Anne Lamott -- one of the few non-fiction writers I've really followed, starting with Operating Instructions (which, if you are a mom or plan to be one you absolutely MUST read). Oh, and there's always David Sedaris, too.
Clearly I could go on and on. And on.
So you tell me... are you able to read just one chapter a night? or do you find fiction impossible to put down? And what titles are the ones that kept you up until the wee hours? Not that I need help staying up too late, mind you, but I'm always up for suggestions.
Note: If you're planning to buy books, please go to your local independent bookseller. If there's not one in your area, you can borrow mine -- Quail Ridge Books and Music will let you order online, send you a confirmation from a real live person, and ship your books straight to you.