Partly Cloudy


Buying more books than I can read

By Stephanie Casanova

There are 38 books on my bookshelf that I have yet to read. I have an addiction.

It’s almost impossible for me to walk past a bookstore without walking in to “browse.” It’s also pretty much impossible for me to walk out of a bookstore without spending any money first.

The biggest problem with this is I buy more books than I have time to read. Visits to the library also result in me borrowing books most of the time.

Because library books come with return deadlines, the books I’ve bought for the last three years often have been ignored. Instead, I set goals to try to read library books in the three weeks they’re checked out for. When I return a library book, I can’t help but browse my favorite section and I often end up walking out with another book.

Between work, trying to have a social life and watching Netflix, I rarely read a book in three weeks. Usually I renew library books one or two times before I can finish reading them.

It probably doesn’t help that the books that interest me are often non-fiction and sometimes the material is too dense to breeze through like I would a novel. I’m also not the fastest reader and I easily get distracted and lose my place while reading.

My problem started about two years ago when I moved to Rapid City, South Dakota. Across the street from my apartment was Again Books and Bazaar, a used bookstore similar to The Dusty Bookshelf in Aggieville.

I wandered into Again Books my first week in Rapid City and spent about $15 on two books. After that, I would wander in at least twice a month to see if they had any new books I had been wanting to read. Sometimes I would stop in for a few minutes if I had time to kill before work.

Probably 90 percent of the time I walked into that bookstore, I walked out with at least one book. There was another bookstore across the street from the Rapid City Journal newsroom, just two blocks from my apartment. I would go to Mitzi’s Books on my way to the coffee shop during work breaks sometimes. They had a small bargain books section where I sometimes would find some pretty good deals.

The first time I visited Aggieville, about a month before I moved here, I walked past The Dusty Bookshelf on my way to Varsity Donuts. I stared through the window the entire time we passed the bookstore, admiring the number of books in the room, some stacked so high I thought they might fall over.

Had they not been closing up, I probably would have wandered in to “browse” for a few minutes. Needless to say, my second day working at The Mercury, I went to Aggieville and walked into the bookstore and, of course, walked out with a book.

Thankfully, I don’t live within walking distance from any bookstore now, so I can pace myself on the number of books I buy this year.

Still, I find myself adding to my list of books I want to read. Every week, I edit and design the book pages for The Mercury’s Sunday paper, and every week I find myself adding at least one of the reviewed books to that list.

As a kid, I remember spending a lot of my free time lying on my stomach in bed, reading one of a stack of books. My cousins would come over and want to play and I’d tell them, “Let me just finish this chapter.”

I spent most of my years in college reading news articles and struggling to get through required readings from philosophy textbooks. I don’t know how many books I read for fun in college, but it probably was an average only one of two each year.

When I moved away from home after college nobody told me that I had to read or what to read. I realized I missed the 12-year-old girl who would ignore her cousins for books or get in trouble for reading past bedtime under the covers with a flashlight.

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