I love to read. An early precocious reader, I worked my way through chapter books in kindergarten and by the end of elementary school, few of the great classics had escaped my attention. Thousands of books have passed through my hands in the past 35+ years.

Books have always been like friends to me. My bestest of best friends. I am unable to throw them away, to cast them aside, as that would be the same as discarding an important piece of my own self-discovery, my emergence, my livelihood — essential to my being. Thousands of books sit on my shelves like old lovers, at my immediate disposal to satisfy whatever whim may enter my mind. There they wait for me, sad, lonely, neglected, and underused — but not abandoned altogether. Each book I read becomes a part of my own story, a part of me.

Cicero said (or maybe not as the exact origin is disputed) that, or something like, “a room without books is like a body without a soul.” Whenever I inspect a room and find it without books, I wonder how bleak the soul must be to exist in such an uninspired space.

I recently decluttered my living room, which had been populated with at least two hundred books in addition to many pamphlets. Those books have all been moved to make way for photographs, of actual people with souls; yet, the room does not feel quite right. There is a heavy emptiness, a desperate lack of the positive energy that only books can radiate in that special bookly way. This needs to change. A room filled with books is a room filled with hope, with possibility, with curiosity, and with love. It is where I feel safe, inspired, and natural.

My love affair with books is a never-ending saga. There will never be too many books in my life. I may be an addict, but I am one that truly cherishes my unharmful object.

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