The Gravity of a Bookshelf

Introvert problems.

Also book-lover problems.

As I’m writing this, I’m visiting my aunt and uncle and their kids (my cousins) for Thanksgiving revelry. We all have family that we experience… difficulty enjoying time with, but I love spending time with this part of my family in particular. We have a lot of common interests and spend our lives in similar ways.

And you know what I’m doing right now?

Well, besides writing this. Obviously. I mean, here I am.

I’m sitting in their guest room… gazing lovingly on all their books. They’ve got a great selection of Doctor Who books from the “dark time” between Classic Who and New Who. I’ve been gobbling up the back cover solicitation text, imagining all those stories I’ve never encountered before.

At the moment, I’m choosing Doctor Who novels over my family.

This is a thing I do. If I visit your house and there’s a book shelf, at some point I will zone out of the conversation to see the titles on those spines. I won’t judge (probably), but I just love these artifacts of print that contain worlds.

Now, if you don’t have a shelf of books (or at least not one I can see at that moment) I might wander up and down your DVD rack. Or maybe just leave for a while. Because can you really trust someone who doesn’t have a bookshelf? Well, probably, but you might not be “my people.”

But there’s something about these stacks of worlds that pull me in. Even if I love you, even if we’re having a great time, I cannot escape the gravity of a bookshelf.

Do you have this problem?

Incidentally, I have the exact same problem at my own house. I’ll find myself just sitting in one of our libraries, caressing the spines, wondering what world I should visit next. And yes. We have multiple libraries. Because… well, who can say no to a good book?

Why is this? What is it about these stories bound in ink and glue that suck me in, pulling me from loved ones?

I’ll note that I don’t even have to read the books. Their mere existence is enough.

Is it the magic of living another life? Is it an addiction, pure and simple? Books ping my endorphins and I need my fix? Is it dissatisfaction with this world? Could it be that this is simply my way of taking care of my introvert self?

Well, probably all of them, truth be told.

Soon enough I’ll go back and spend more time with my family. I’ll enjoy it. And I’ll retreat back to the library to read the backs of a few more books. And back again.

Until then, I hope you’ve had and are having a wonderful weekend. I hope you get to enjoy some shelves of books. And I hope that even if you get sucked into the gravity of a bookshelf, you also escape to spend a little time with family.

I realize they’re not books, but they’re probably worth your time, too.

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