The confession of a bookaholic

The past does not need to cast a shadow over the future.

Thirty five years ago I wrote those words in a letter to a friend who was afraid his unsettled spiritual past would make it difficult for him to live a stable Christian life in the future.  Since then he has settled down, married, and has successfully navigated his way through the ups and downs of life as a stable Christian.  I’m not taking any credit for his victory, but I offer it as proof that by the grace of God we can leave the past in the past.

There is, however, at least one area of life where that does not hold true.  The effects of my free-spending, carefree past are still with me in the form of a considerable load of debt.  Apparently my father had a debt problem too when he got married, but my mother soon set that to rights.  I fear at times that I have inherited most of the weak points of both my parents and precious little of the good.

I gave up drinking and partying forty years ago, so that can’t be the cause.  If you visited our home, you would probably soon diagnose the problem – I am a bookaholic.  There are bookcases and/or piles of books in every room.  The total of the purchase prices of all those books would probably equal the total of my debts.  Yet I have never used a credit card to buy books.  I pay cash for books and save the plastic for things that we really need.

I grew up as an only child in a house full of books.  I was reading several years before I walked through the doors of a school for the first time.  Books are essential to my life.  I usually have a half dozen books scattered around the house that I am in various stages of reading.  My favourite coffee shop is located in a Christian book store.  I pop in regularly for a cappuccino and browse around to see if any good new books have appeared on the shelves

The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra holds a wonderful ten-day used book sale every spring as a fund raiser.  I was there on Friday and intend to check it out again on Tuesday.  They have such a massive stock of books that they are constantly replenishing the shelves.  Then, in the fall there is another big used book sale put on by the Canadian Federation of University Women.

My daughter and son-in-law gave me a Kobo e-reader for Father’s Day two years ago.  This gives me the possibility of buying the e-book version of books that I might never buy in print because they are too expensive.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Christian Writers’ Conference.  There was a book table there where the conference speakers and attendees could sell any books they had written.

You see my problem?  There is temptation all around me.  No, that’s not really the problem.  The problem, if problem there is, is that I don’t regard any of this as temptation.  I am hooked on books and I like it!

As for that debt load, I really do want to find some way of whittling it down that does not involve denying myself of books.

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