I had lunch the other day with a dear friend who happens to be a former bookseller. I've known her for years (I worked in her store, in fact), and while a love of books happens to be one of the many things we have in common, in recent years we haven't had much chance to simply sit and talk about books. This past Sunday we did, and it was wonderful.
Thinking about our far-ranging conversation on the drive home, I was struck by the fact that not only are we both book fiends (another way of saying bookaholic :-)), but we each maintain a sizable book stash. My TBR pile is more like a small mountain--in actuality it's an entire bookcase with side-by-side tall stacks piled along the entire top shelf--and the books there run the gamut of all types of romance, several types of mysteries and suspense, historical novels, some science fiction, nonfiction, history, travel, cooking, a bit of poetry and essays . . . I buy what interests me, even if I'm not planning to read it right away. There's a comfort level for me to have an assortment of choices, because I never know exactly what I might want to read next.
My friend's TBR pile is similar; maybe that's because her tastes are as eclectic as mine. I know we're both very curious people, but I think there's more to it than that. What I want to read at any given time is what I'm in the mood for--but why is that so varied? Why are there times I look at all those books and feel like I have nothing to read--and I need something right, right now?
Depending upon my mood, maybe I need something that only a certain type of book can provide.
I guess my TBR pile is like a medicine cabinet for my emotional well-being. Just as I wouldn't take Pepto Bismol for a headache, but would go straight for the ibuprofen (or, heaven forbid, my migraine meds), there are times when only a romantic comedy will satisfy my need for escapist fare. Perhaps if I'm working through something emotionally, that's why (though I'm not aware of it at the time) I'll go for a serious, emotionally charged historical romance.
Friends and family are wonderful, of course, and have certainly helped me when I've needed it, but let's face it--there are times you might not want to talk about something with anyone. Or if it's the middle of the night and something is on your mind, a book won't grumble about being taken off the shelf at 2 a.m. when you can't sleep! Books have been loyal companions all my life. Over the years there have been many times I've retreated into a book, then realized once I'd finished it that I knew the solution to a problem, or I felt better about whatever had been bothering me.
A prescription for whatever's ailing me, with virtually no side effects, no need for a doctor or an expensive insurance plan.
I knew there must be a reason for that giant book stash--it's therapeutic. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!