A bibliophile is defined as “a person who collects or has a great love of books”. The term is derived from the Greek word biblion – ‘book’ and philos – loving. Since I both love to read books and I collect books, I am pretty much a full-blown bibliophile. I can’t even remember how old I was when I started reading, but I do know that reading was a way for me to understand the world and more specifically, the people in my own orbit. I’m sure I wasn’t self-aware enough to know this about myself when I was in elementary school, but I did know that other kids thought I was weird or stuck-up because I read so much and so quickly. We had this thing called the “Scholastic Book Order” when I was in elementary school. We’d get a paper to take home with the month’s offering of books and we could order books at really low prices. My mom never put a limit on the number of books that I was allowed, and I can remember how excited I got when the knock came on the door to the classroom and the teacher was handed a pile of books. I never understood why I was the only one in the class who ordered more than one. I usually had a pile of at least five to take home with me, and any classmates that actually ordered books instead of comics or posters only ordered one. That was the beginning of my addiction to books, and it has only grown since then. It’s not just reading the books, I love holding them, feeling the heft, smelling the pages, displaying the covers, reading the dedications and sometimes underlining or writing in margins. I am not a fan of the Kindle or the Nook or any of the digital readers. In fact, I would go so far as to say that those who read strictly on a digital reader cannot call themselves bibliophiles.
Collecting books is by far my biggest virtue (or my husband may call it a vice), but there are a few other “strange” things that I collect that contribute to the idiosyncratic wonder that is me. I collect stuffed animals. Yes, I know, I am a grown up, but I like stuffed animals. I use my many nieces and nephews as excuses to “have them on hand”, but the truth is if I see an adorable stuffed animal I can’t help myself.
I also collect rings. And not only do I collect them, I like to wear as many of them at once as I can. Yes, I do. My mother gets exasperated with me, but then again she thinks that denim shirts are still in style. So. I also collect music, but this is really more of a subcategory of my bibliophilic nature since I consider most good songs to be mini novels, with the lyrics, music and intonation providing the full story. Books, stuffed animals, rings. Not too bad. At least I don’t buy shoes. That would just be too NORMAL.