I dedicate this blog to the wonderful New York City Institution called Strand Bookstore. It is a place where a bookaholic can read until she is filled. # New York City #Strand Bookstore #reading #writing
Hi. My name is Molly Shea, and I’m a bookaholic. I’m a person obsessed with the written word. My favorite pass time is snuggling up with a book while Rooster watches TV. I carry a book in my purse for those moments when I need a quick fix. When I’m stuck waiting in a doctor’s office or standing in a long line, I whip out my book and escape reality because sometimes the world around me sucks.
What it’s like to live with a reading compulsion
People look sometimes at me with strange expressions when they notice I’m reading. There are times when I’ve been ostracized because of my bookish habits. Bookstores are my favorite place to shop. It is impossible for me to stroll past one without dropping a wad of cash when I could check the same book out of a library for free.
I have a compulsion for those stories to have space in my home. I never knew when I might want to revisit them a second time. Books provide me with adventure and drama I could never experience in my daily life.
Adventures I’ve taken by way of books
I’ve strolled through the French Quarter with Ann Rice’s Vampire Lestat. I went to war with Hemingway and walked the streets of Paris with him while I read A Moveable Feast. I glimpsed the world of glitz and glitter of the roaring twenties in pages of The Great Gatsby. During the blizzard of 1978, I read Stephen King’s The Shining as the wind blew snow underneath my door and rattled my windows.
I spent time when I was a child with Charlotte and her web. I’ve walked the streets of a small southern town with Atticus Finch, Scout, and Boo Radley. I’ve experienced many lives among the pages of the books I’ve read. In fact, I would read your grocery list to see if I could find a story written there.
I’m also a member of the unfortunate folks afflicted with this addiction who take up the practice of writing their own books. This is the disease in its most dramatic form. I’ve moved on the spectrum from simple reader to spending my spare time slapping words onto a blank computer screen.
Problems associated with being a book addict
There are meetings a bookaholic can attend. They are called book clubs. Instead of providing support to help the afflicted stop the reading addiction, they offer suggestions on the next good book to read. Few people can understand this unusual obsession in a world filled to the saturation point with video games, cell phones, U-tube, Facebook, Tweeter, and Instagram.
Why would anyone spend hours in solitude committed to reading when there are so many other forms of entertainment. It is an odd pursuit of the modern mind. A relic of the past when folks had more time and nothing better to do. There is an element of truth to this train of thought. Reading a book does require an investment of time most people don’t have in this fast-paced, hectic day and age.
Authors I met on My Kindle
Rooster said I had to come to terms with my obsession. I had to promise my husband I wouldn’t bring another book into the house until I read the ones I’d already bought. He claimed my collection was becoming so heavy it might do damage to the foundation. Like all true addicts, I made the promise before I started buying books behind his back. It didn’t take me long to hoard a secret stash in the closet beneath the stairs.
I don’t know if it was an act of self-preservation or an act of codependency, but Rooster bought me a Kindle for Christmas last year. This opened my world to a group of authors I never would have found in a typical bookstore. I’ve read books by Julie Smith, Susan Russo Anderson, R.H. Hale, Andrew Fox, Eric Wilder, and S.S, Bazinet just to name a few.
Most of these folks are Indy authors. They have helped further my reading addiction, and I thank them for their support. I don’t believe I will ever kick the habit, but I ask myself if I really want to end my love affair with the written word.
My friend, Marsha Gillette, told me when I visited New York City I had to ask my son to take me to Strand Bookstore. She claimed it was the temple where all true book addicts go to worship. She’s one of my beta readers and a cheerleader for my Hen House series. She asks me how my ladies are doing every time she passes the window where I sit at work.
As a fellow book addict, I figured she knew what she was talking about. I asked my son, Richard, if he’d ever heard of the place. He and Chris both said it was one of their favorite bookstores in New York City. (It appears the reading addiction can be passed down through the generations. Richard also seems to suffer from the reading affliction according to Chris who doesn’t know how they will fit any more books into their small apartment. I feel somewhat guilty about this.)
Stand Bookstore history and attraction
After our trip to Staten Island, we got on the subway to head home. Richard suggested we end our day with a visit to Strand Bookstore. He claimed it was on our way home, but like all true book addicts, he was craving a fix. I could see the hunger in his eyes when he made the suggestion. As we strolled the door of the place, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was like entering a world specially designed for a person with a book compulsion.
The bookstore came into existence in 1927 and ever since has been distributing books on a large scale. They claimed to have eighteen miles of books, and I believe they are telling the truth. There were books upstairs, downstairs, and in the basement. The shop was a virtual smorgasbord of reading material. If we weren’t flying home with limited space in our luggage, I would have gone broke before we left the store. I now know where to get the perfect book fix. I might have to travel 734.2 miles to get there, but the Strand Bookstore is the reading junkie’s idea of the ideal vacation spot.
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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