• Abigail Woodruff

I am Addicted to the Library


I have a confession to make.


I know that some of you will be surprised to hear this but... I am addicted to the library.


It is honestly something that can kind of freak me out sometimes and I know that I can't be the only one out there that feels this way, so this is for you. But seriously. I have a problem.


About two months ago I made my way to the library to update my library card to my current address, my married name and to change my pin because I was locked out of their online system since I had promptly forgot the pin as soon as they gave it to me 3 years ago when I first applied for my library card in England. I knew at this point that I had an addiction to the library, but I really wanted to do this because I had just started work and was hoping that I could get into audiobooks for my hours of commuting each week since carsickness keeps me from consuming words via the eyes.


What I didn't know when I jump-started my library card was how much it would actually impact my life. I know this all sounds very dramatic, but bear with me.


I am very proud of my curated TBR (to be read) list that I go through regularly and prune so that it holds only the books that I am most excited to read or re-read. Most people that read as vivaciously as I do have TBRs that hold well over 1,000 books, but my little list sits comfortably at 67 currently. THAT IS ONLY 67 BOOKS IN THE ENTIRETY OF BOOKS. This list only holds books that have been highly recommended to me by someone that I would trust with my life or books that I think I would give up an internal organ for and it pretty much ensures that I have a fabulous reading experience at all times. Now, if my library had all of these books on this list then that would be AMAZING. I can make my way through my reading list without spending monies. Sign me the heck up for that arrangement. Unfortunately, that's not exactly how it goes.


Despite what you may think, British library selections are SHOCKING. And not in the cute Caspar the friendly ghost way. More like the creepy chick from The Ring murdering you and your closest fictional friends kind of shocking. Let me see if I can explain this. The YA/Teen section is 3 shelves. Like I own more personal books in my small second bedroom than the library has for young adults. I should really open up my house to the teens in the neighborhood so they don't have to be forced to choose between the 10 mediocre quality teen novels from 2008 available at the Preston library. No wonder there is a reading epidemic!! I am from Iowa for goodness sake, but my grandparent's little town's library (population of less that 1,500) had a better book selection. The other sections are a little bit better, but not by much!


Sidenote since I am rambling already: The book stores here are the exact same way to be fair. I went in to pick up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo from Waterstones because every person I trust about book opinions was falling into heaps of emotion if anyone mentioned the title and it was SO MANY PEOPLE'S favourite book of 2018... but did Waterstones have it in stock? NOPE. HELP ME.


That's not to say that the libraries here aren't awesome in their own right! This whole blog is how I am addicted to them, so they must have redeeming qualities. Let me show you one.

Yep. That is Preston Harris Library. Isn't it flipping beautiful? Just walking into the building I am like "Hello, I am an academic and I belong to the god of the arts and literature" and any place that makes you feel like that can't be bad. The building is packed with history and art museum exhibits, an adorable cosy cafe and of course their very small collection of books hidden in the back. So small. Are you reading this Preston Library?


Anywho, I bet you are confused. "If your library has such a heinous collection of books then why are you addicted to it and why is it a bad thing?" Hold your dang horses Miranda, I am getting to it.



So here's the issue. I can't stop getting books from the library.


"But, that's brilliant Abby. Libraries are a hub for your local community and I bet you are saving loads of money!"


"Shut the heck up Miranda." (I apologise to anyone who is actually called Miranda). This should be a good thing! BUT, this library doesn't have any of the books from my TBR list in their system. (I exaggerate, they had like 3, but I have read them all now so they don't have any NOW). Because of that I keep checking out books that I have heard of but were not carefully curated for my tastes and so my Goodreads average rating is dropping faster than my phone battery. To clarify... I am spending all of my precious reading time reading books that I am not really interested in instead of books off of my TBR list because I am (say it with me) addicted to the library.


"But, why don't you just stop checking out books from the library and read all of the books on your TBR that you own. They are just a few steps away and you have already spent the money on them."


"That's not how addiction works".


"But..."


"Miranda, I swear to god."


There's something possessing me that makes me check out books every single freaking time I go into the library to turn one in, so I always come out with more books and more regret. It's a high, I swear. Going into this stunning architectural building, wandering through the shelves and finding a book that I have heard of in passing, checking it out for FREE (THAT MEANS ZERO MONIES IN CASE YOU FORGOT) and bringing it home with me. I just get the warm fuzzies even thinking about it. I just have so so so many books that I am actually dying to get to- Here's looking at you Evelyn Hugo, Little Fires Everywhere, and the stack of books I have on my bedside table that I am in the middle of reading- but I can't because I physically cannot stop myself from checking out library books.


AND, the app is JUST as dangerous.


Here is a screenshot from a couple of weeks ago of my beautiful beautiful app. (AKA when my library actually still had books that were on my TBR list). I actually truly truly adore it because it means that the 75 minutes I spend commuting every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are not completely wasted by me just getting anxious about my own thoughts and are instead being used to listen to audio books (whether or not they are actually on my TBR or not). The freaking e-books, though... I have like 40 books on my Kindle that I really need and WANT to read, but I am like "doop de doo, let me check out this e-book that I wouldn't hate reading, maybe".


There's just something so satisfying about scrolling through all of the books and recognising a cover and downloading it all so quickly. I was finding some books that my husband might be interested in on the app the other day so he could use the services (because he only reads ebooks anyway) and he ended up not checking out any and I checked out 2 and put 2 on hold. What is wrong with me??? Seriously, does anybody else struggle with this.


Also, if you recall, I just wrote a blog about how I am incapable of putting down a book after I pick it up, so all of these books that I am checking out... I am reading them whether I really like them or not. Hence my lowering average on Goodreads.


So... yeah. I think I need an intervention. Do you think the library would be weirded out if I asked them to revoke my library card for everything other than audio books until I read at least 30 of the books off of my TBR list?


Alright, so after all that complaining, I just wanted to make a case for the other side of this argument. Once upon a time as a kid and teen I would just pick up whatever books sounded good at the bookstore or library and hope for the best and sometimes I would be majorly let down and other times I would find an absolute hidden gem. Because I do SO much research before picking up books anymore, I am not let down often, but it also means that I do not often find diamonds in the rough as the only reason I am picking it up in the first place is because I have heard so many good things. Because of this, this couple month stint of being "addicted" to the library means that I have found some duds, but also some hidden gems. As I want to do a proper quarter-year wrap-up at the end of the month, I won't go into too much detail, but I don't want to leave you hanging, so I am going to supply you with the best book that I have read so far this year (as it is one that I hadn't heard much about and picked out at the library on a whim).


Without further ado....

Without going too much into it, this is everything that I wanted A Secret History to be and more.


Would highly highly recommend if you like dark stories, plots that revolve around university students, and also SHAKESPEARE.


If you do read it, please let me know! I would love to chat about it with someone!


Thank you for reading my blog, it feels good to be back at it after such a long break. Let me tell you, mad respect for people that blog and hold down a full-time job AND read. You are the real MVP's.


Keep reading-- xxx A.C. Woodruff



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