I often joke that I am a bookaholic. I like books. I read books. I collect books. I admit it, I am addicted to books. There are many jokes or cute sayings about people like me.
- “I’m a bookaholic on the road to recovery. JUST KIDDING. I’m on the road to the bookstore.”
- “Bookaholic. I have no shelf control.”
- “Warning — May spontaneously begin talking about books.”
- “My name is Ralph and I’m a bookaholic.”
Yup! That’s me. I have a daily discipline of reading so that most weeks I can manage to start and finish several normal size books (200 pages). I read early in the morning before most people are up and starting their day. And, I read every late evening before heading to bed. If I have a slower day you will find me at my favourite coffee shop over in the corner reading a book.
I read widely and not just in my chosen occupation of preacher – teacher. I read history — especially of the nations where I have worked and those I hope to visit. I read theology. I read Bible commentaries. I read biographies and autobiographies of both famous preachers and spiritual heroes as well as politicians, celebrities, Christian martyrs, and those who have or are having an impact and who might be called change agents – like Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Howard Schultz (Starbucks). I read in many areas working to be well-rounded as a person and decently informed in most areas of life.
I am always on the lookout for a good book. I appreciate it when someone I know and trust recommends a book as I usually follow their recommendation and purchase it. I prefer paper copies to an e-Book but settle for an e-Book if a book I want is no longer in print. Monthly I buy a Starbucks Mocha and spend a few hours browsing through bookshelves at Chapters Indigo here in my city (they are connected to each other – neat eh!). Weekly I browse through new publications on line specifically looking for Canadian authors. And, I keep up with the latest publications in the fields of Bible research, church life, and theology. When it is a holiday season (summer camping, Christmas and New Years) I read novels and have several favourite authors that I actually collect and I always grab one of their most recent novels when opportunity arises.
You can travel the world without leaving the comfort of your own home. Just read books. You can learn so much about human nature. Just read biographies. You can learn from the experiences, mistakes, and failures of others. Just read books. You can be entertained without the mindless watching of endless television shows. Just read books. You can engage your imagination. Just read a book. You can grow, mature, and learn. Read a book. And, you can become an interesting person who always has something to share. Read a book. You want to be a leader – be a reader. If you fail to read regularly, you will fail to lead.
Some books I just read and enjoy. Other books I mark up, underline, make notes in the margins, highlight. I want to mine all the knowledge and wealth of information and insights that I can. A novel I just read without a pen or highlighter in my hand. If a book will not be read again or is not part of a set or collection then I give it away finding a new home for it. The house is not big enough to store all the books I read. If I start a book and it does not engage me right away I put it down and find another book that will grab my attention. Years later I may pick up that book a second time and it will speak to me. If not, two strikes and its out. I give it away.
In my study, which is covered in overflowing bookshelves, you will find several piles of books which are currently being read or some that are being stockpiled for future reading projects. In my office there are shelves overflowing with books. In the bedroom floor to ceiling bookshelves full and running over. In the basement meeting room floor to ceiling bookcases along one complete long wall which runs almost the full length of the basement – all full of books that have been read. Did I mention that I am a bookaholic.
Today we are in the midst of a two day snow event – the first good snowfall of the season – if there is really anything good about cold and snow. So, I have a new book to start this afternoon (after shovelling what snow has already fallen) with a warm blanket over my knees and feet and a small fire in the wood stove in my office. A few hours of doing one of my most favourite things. Reading a good book.
So, if you will excuse me I hear a book calling my name.