My name is Jill, and I’m a bookaholic. (Everyone must now say, “Hi, Jill.”)
As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved books. I’ve loved reading them, buying them, looking at them, and even smelling them. Don’t tell me you’ve never noticed the smell of a book. Because you have. And it’s wonderful. My first memories are of my mom reading me Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie to me when I was 3 or 4 before bed. I memorized a children’s book called Noisy Nora when I was 5, and “story time” before bed turned into me reciting it while my mom carried me up to bed.
Here are some anecdotes from my life with books.
In high school, were supposed to read Crime and Punishment over Christmas break for our AP English class. I read Interview with the Vampire and several of its sequels instead, thus beginning the phase of my school career when I didn’t finish a single book I was assigned. And inspiring, in part, one of the first “assignments” my co-blogger and I have given ourselves. More on that later.
In college, I minored in English so I could read for school and have a break from constantly studying for my science classes, memorizing the Kreb’s cycle and whatnot.
I firmly maintain that the reason why I didn’t do very well the first time that I took the GRE was because I spent the two weeks prior reading the first 4 Harry Potter books rather than graphing complicated sample Analytical section questions.
I may have gotten B’s in my second year veterinary school pathology classes because I was sitting in the back row reading Anne Rice books (she has always been a favorite of mine, obviously).
I developed a habit of buying books every week during my first couple of years in veterinary practice because wandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble was the only thing that made me less stressed about my job.
And now? Keep reading and you’ll see.
I just quit my job and now I’m a full-time blogger and novelist. Now I just need to find someone who wants to pay me a salary for these endeavors.
I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in literature and creative writing and have been teaching English in private high schools for ten years, with a three-year break during which I was a boarding school administrator and martial arts addict. Now I’m in transition, reading a lot (hence this blog), working on a whole handful of writing and curriculum-design projects, maybe taking a class here and there, maybe thinking about going back grad school, then settling back to read a little more.
The worst nightmares I’ve ever had were inspired by books – namely The Hobbit (I still get the chills), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and a nonfiction book about the Dead Sea Scrolls.
My grad school professors spent four years trying to beat my love of Pat Conroy’s overwritten, melodramatic prose out of me. It didn’t work.
I can’t imagine how people who don’t read deal with being a member of a family. What would I do without Goneril and Regan, without Hamlet, without – for that matter – Pat Conroy? How do non-readers make sense of the world?
Once in grad school I got up during a discussion of Joan Didon’s The Book of Common Prayer, threw the book in the garbage, and announced that I couldn’t stand women writers. The male professor had no idea what to do.
An audio recording of The World According to Garp once saved my life.
I once staked out J.D. Salinger’s house in Cornish, New Hampshire. He didn’t come out. Sometimes when I tell the story, though – especially to my students – I say that he did.
At the moment I have 344 books on my Kindle. But every time I toss it in my purse to go somewhere, it looks so little and lonely that I worry it won’t keep me occupied in every possible contingency. I mean, what if the car breaks down? What if I get arrested for jaywalking? So I toss another book in my purse, just in case. 345 ought to do it.
You can follow me on Twitter @BethanyEdstrom.