My Year Without Books

TOWER GROVE — Evidence of my problem is all over the office, and the movers unwillingness to schlep it up there should have been the first clue.

When we moved into the house more than 10 years ago, the fine folks helping us transport our furniture and clothes and doodads from the apartment stopped at the bottom step when it came to carrying 42 boxes of books up to the tree house, the name for the office on the third floor. I carried them up myself in as close to 21 trips as their weight would allow. Labor didn’t teach me the lesson. I kept buying books. I buy them as souvenirs from bookstores around the world, from the bookstore near Charing Cross or in Pirate’s Alley in that little re-purposed military shelter in Malta. I buy them on because it’s a good deal or it will arrive the day it goes on sale (a miracle of modern post!). I buy them downtown when I’ve read a good review in The New York Times or elsewhere. Some shelves are double-stuffed with books, and pillars of my problem have grown in front of those bookshelves, some stacked 32 paperbacks high. I’ve bought and been given so many books that movers would again leave the moving to me — and 21 trips won’t make a dent this time.

My name is Derrick. I’m a bibliophiliac.

So, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution. Continue reading