My parents visited me in IL in my apartment over Thanksgiving, and my mother (who has always told me I have too many books), after making a thorough inspection of the place, determined that I would be getting bookshelves for Christmas.
I couldn’t argue. I have books in every nook and cranny of my place. They’ve overrun my shelves and my storage containers. They hog the places in my closet where other belongings really belong. I had to shuffle some clothes around in my dresser to vacate two drawers in order to accommodate important books. And when those spaces quickly became full, I had no choice but to begin keeping piles of books on my floor spaces.
New bookshelves seemed like an ideal gift. Why didn’t I think of that?
And so, we carefully picked some out on the internet to be shipped to my place. And on Christmas Eve, my mom surprised me with a small used bookcase she got at a furniture store and repainted. I knew just the places for them.
When I returned to IL from being at home in IA, I shuffled some things around and assembled the beastly set of shelves we had ordered. I rearranged some books so I could put all of my autographed picture books on the small set of shelves.
See for yourself:
I probably don’t have to tell you that both sets of shelves were immediately filled and stacks of books still remain on the floor.
A few people have suggested that I might be a book hoarder.
But I think there is a fine line between book hoarder and book lover/reading teacher.
You see, I believe a book hoarder collects books just to be collecting books. Buying books for the sake of buying books. Accumulating them just because.
That’s definitely not me.
I think long and hard before I buy a book.
If it’s a picture book, I preview it. I think about which ones of my students would like it. I think about its read aloud potential. I think about how it could help my students grow as readers.
If it’s a middle grade novel/young adult book, I also preview it. These books are for me, so I decide if I’ll like it, and determine how it will challenge me as a reader and a human being. I read young adult books- not adult fiction. I think young adult literature is far more interesting than adult fiction.
And if it’s a professional book, I also preview it to decide how it will maximize my teaching potential and how it could change my classroom and my teaching methods.
I don’t buy books to have them. I buy them to use them. For my students. For me. Each one of them was selected with much thought and consideration. And when they’re in my possession, I wring them out and utilize each and every word and letter to its potential. I share the ones for my students again and again, and I savor the words of the books that are for me.
You can call me a hoarder. A collector. A nut. Someone who is obsessed. A fanatic. You can even tell me I have too many books.
But really, deep down, I’m just someone who loves reading and who wants to share that love.