One of the first spots I head to when moving to a new city is the public library – my kind of dollhouse. When I step through the lofty front lobby, I instinctively hold my breath for a few seconds, while my wandering eyes grow bigger. People talk softer and seem calmer, the floors are carpeted to muffle echoes and minimize sounds. In the distance, an ambulance siren, in the outside world, is deafened by the thick, large windows.
I relish in the silence, in the dusty dry air of the books’ presence, I glance at the reading rooms. As I am approaching the rows and rows of books lined up on the shelves, waiting to be picked and shuffled, a nervous thrill catches me. I’m like a girl in a Zara shop. I can browse through any book my eyes fall on, and take home whatever I want, as long as I bring it all back within one month, and without the corners ripped off! OMG! I always borrow more books than I can read in one month. More than I’m ever going to open! But it’s books! Hello!?! I cannot help it.
Oh, I also have a confession to make: I love to smell and touch the books. To crack open a new book, get close near its inner spine and inhale deep down until my pores fill up with the printing press scent of this magnificent creature. To feel the rough fiber of the pages between my fingers, to get them greyed and sandy from touching too much ink. Moving past this first hello, I cannot wait to know all about the book’s tales and secrets. And all about her neighbors’ tales and secrets.
A starved bulimic in action is what my compulsive reading habits resemble. Being surrounded by a swarm of books gives me the impression of being sheltered; I feel safe from the hunger of discovering more and more volumes. I’m such an incurable addict that I am literally afraid to go out of the house without a book in my purse. And as I usually divide my attention between several books simultaneously, imagine what that does to my poor bag!
I call it the infancy of my reading habits, since I’m just like an inexperienced, greedy teenager: I rarely have the patience to discover an entire book, before I already think about starting others that I spotted around. I have my morning-metro novel, my bedtime book, my lunchtime series of reference works, my feel-good book in between… I gulp through the pages to get farther and farther, only to reach more unexplored parts, to have a reason to gulp again.
I confess. I am obsessed with books and I love my addiction. And I refuse to seek help for it.