Let me tell you what you really need to know about unrequited love and reading. Falling in love with reading is much like having a romantic relationship and always experiencing unrequited love. Why you ask? Shocked. Reading has no bad side-effects. You can learn so much – so many books so little time. You read books as part of being educated, your parents read to you and you read to your children– everybody loves a story.
And you know how it is when you read a good book, you actually become an active participant. My ex-husband, who couldn’t stand to see me happy, would blame my excessive reading on my frequent arguments with him. He’d accuse me of becoming the book. I later read that when you read a good book, you do become that book, so I felt vindicated. What he despised most was me validating what an asshole he was because there’s no shortage of them in fiction, nonfiction, news articles, etc.
But it’s so easy and fast to buy books
And with so many choices, and such easy access to books, it’s easy to read! You sit at your computer, like a hungry, salivating wolf, you sense your tasty prey and just at the right moment pounce on the click here button and presto! $15 poorer, but hey, that’s not so much. You must read this book. Sucked in again. You eagerly attack your new book and it suggests another must read. You try to resist, but there’s an urgency inside you screaming to get out. This one’s only $9.99 and it’s free delivery because you’re a prime member or you know someone who is, like your kid, and you use their account.
And it’s faster than ever to get your books. You can order almost any book you want on Amazon. Just in case they fall short there’s Barnes and Nobles, Half-Price Books, Kindle Unlimited – choose from 1000’s of titles and Audible – listen on the go.
Okay – so you’ve chosen your platform. With Amazon one click you make it happen. You can have your book in a few days or even the next day. And, as an Amazon Prime member you don’t pay for shipping unless you buy from one of their independents and then that postage shoots the price right up and sometimes you have to wait a few weeks for those babies. And then there’s the condition—good condition with a few marks here and there, the jacket is torn, stained pages and so on. So, you think—I can get that new book, no marks, no torn covers, no stains, free delivery and in a few short days. Click and your new book is on its way. Or, with Kindle it’s on your PC or phone in a nano-second. Same with Audible—ready to listen as soon as you pay.
As you ponder unrequited book love; you feel the thorns of agony with the relationship. You’re never satisfied, you’re impulsive, and you’re having financial issues. But you need more. More time to read all the new books and finish the ones in your Kindle, on your book shelves or on your Audible. And of course, all this pondering leads you to create a plan to read them all and not buy anything new until you’re done with every single one. Because you know, when this happens, when they’re all read, your unrequited love will finally be requited.
Another challenge with unrequited love is that you’re always looking for instant gratification and Amazon and the book powers that be, as I discussed above, make it seamless. But, I knew I had to change this reactivity that was damaging my relationship. So I decided to execute my plan. No more one click, instant deliveries or free shipping for me. I was going to catch up on my reading, save money and savor my newly requited love.
When another temptress entered my life
But then, another temptress entered my life–the public library, replete with hardcover and softcover books, eBooks and audibles – just like Amazon, but FREE to read or listen to as long as I didn’t overdraw them, which I would never do.
I knew about the public library. My mom started taking me there when I was three or four. But, fast forward to 2019 when I still worked for the state. I had a friend who apparently had conquered the unrequited book relationship and she used the library all the time. She always had a book with her. I’d see her walking down the hall—she was hard to miss—she looked just like George Cluny’s wife – and she’d be reading a book. When we met for coffee, she always had a book and she always recommended books to me. I was jealous of her reading resolve. However, she wanted to check out some hopelessly famous and high demand book one time and she was 1264th on the waiting list, and I knew that was not the relationship I wanted. I stayed loyal to Amazon and friends and pitied her.
This new temptress, the public library did not solve my unrequited book love relationship. Now I can feed my habit for free. I have 12 unread books at home, five on my Kindle and three on Audible. And now I have four checked out with the library. I wonder though, if the three-week due date–an actual deadline, could possibly help me. But if no one’s on the wait list, I can check it out again.
Full disclosure. I did have a minor Kindle relapse last week. I was listening to Natalie Goldberg’s: Writing Down the Bones and she said all writers should read Steinbeck’s The Movable Feast. Of course, I quickly went to my online public library to check it out and it was checked out. No wait lists for me because that feeling of immediacy sucked me up – I couldn’t wait. I needed it now! $18 on Amazon! No way. But only $3 on Kindle. I got in my wolf-like stance and proceeded to the one-click check-out.
Leave a comment below an email below on your unrequited book ? relationships ? ?–Kathy