Addiction to Fiction

Confronting your book addiction.

I’ve become a book junkie. When I think of all the addictions in the world, it has to be the most luxurious and the most intriguing. It can take you anywhere. It’s a habit that has developed like a roller coaster; a rapid start as a pre-teen, a slowing in the mid twenties as life took on it’s own fast pace and now, as my third child turns six, I find it has taken an insatiable pace that I seem to have abandoned control over. 

I have become a book guard. I watch over the book I read, like gold. The very carefully chosen, next book, is near at hand, in its reading order, close to my bed. I am cautious of the authors that enter my circle. It is a love affair.

Love affairs take time! I don’t have much time. I have three kids, so, my body, not my alarm clock takes to waking in the small hours of the morning to steal some moments of reading. I need to know what the next page brings.

I cannot turn the light on for fear of waking this gentle man, my husband. He does not share my addiction to fiction. I’ve not had time to get a night-light that clips to your book, nor have I got a Kindle. So, I creep from the bed like a nocturnal creature with a pitter-patter across the hard woods and sneak my guilty luxury into the spare bedroom.  I am stealing time and gaining pleasure. I read.

When I look over the last 17 years of my marriage I see that the brightest gems  given to me, have been the classics. I am not a seeker of old. I want new and fresh and young, the bright diamonds. As a younger woman, I did not look to far back in time for gems of wisdom, but of course, they came to me, and these musty, dusty, books have become my greatest gifts.

One Christmas my husband and son bought me Ernest Hemmingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls. They put it beside my bed. I woke Christmas morning to see it and picked it up. I spent Christmas in that book, in and out. Turkey, card games and Hemmingway. I binged. It was Christmas after all. I remember it well. It was great.

He gave me Steinbeck, Updike, and Mark Twain. Twain’s Books for Bad Boys and Girls, sits on my bedside locker. I love a cheeky child, preferably, someone else’s child. Mark Twain was a cheeky writer; he made light of what we now consider inappropriate, unacceptable behavior. “Let us swear while we may, for in heaven it will not be allowed.” His advice to young people is hysterical.

My husband gave me great authors of efficient words and deep soul. I interchange my authors. I mix up the genres. I pick who enters my boudoir now with consideration, not any old words will do!

I recently read Roddy Doyle’s, A Greyhound of a Girl. It’s a YA book that crosses over to all generations. It is a beauty.  I loved it so much I got on-line and ordered every book he ever wrote. I own most of them already but not his books for children. I will give my children stories written by great authors as my husband did for me. Irish, American, and everything in between, authors who peak your curiosity and interest in seeing the world, and living life to the fullest.

I read Doyle’s The Giggler Treatment to the youngest child last night. It’s about how gigglers, little gremlin type characters, plant big piles of poo in the path of any adult that has been in some way, mean, to a child. 

She laughed so hard, out loud, she had to put her hand on her belly. I laughed with her, mostly I laughed at her. We fell off the bed. It was great! 

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Ciara Collins July 03, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I love roddy Doyle also. I also have a lot of his books. Sad to see all the bookstores going out of business because of technology. I hope the next generation will be able to buy books for their children like we did for our kids. I think the next book I am going to read is fifty shades of grey and I believe we should be passing it on to the hubbies also. Will keep reading your stories they make my heart sing.
Veronica Stack July 05, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Lara, I love your writing. You have a true talent. I also was addicted to fiction from an early age. I remember trying to steal a few extra chapters of a book, hiding Under my blankets with a flashlight as a child. As for Roddy Doyle, I think I nearly cried, because I laughed so hard Reading it. Keep the writing up Lara, I look forward to reading your Next piece.
Lara O'Brien July 05, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I know J, I can't get enough of him. He is capturing many of the old Irish expressions that we grew up with but are dying out. He's brilliant!
Lara O'Brien July 05, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Hi Ciara. I hear fifty shades has sold out in Ireland. A new found revolution is in place. I'd say the Irish hubbies may look out! Haven't read it myself mind! I'll stick to Roddy and a bit of a laugh, any time.
Lara O'Brien July 05, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Ah Vee, you're a gas woman. Thanks for the kind words. You'd love "A greyhound of a girl,' you being a nurse on a cancer ward. It's all about letting go. I had just finished it and my own grandmother passed away and was buried Monday last. She was great, 95 and playing bridge up to her passing. They'd a good ol session down in Wicklow for her. Thanks for posting Vee.


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