My name is Sandy, and I'm a bookaholic.
I love opening up the first page of a new book and discovering the creative way this author will draw me in to their story. I relish being in the middle of a book: far enough in to be completely lost in the characters and their dilemmas, yet quite a distance from the end that I know anything can still happen. Then, there are the final few chapters, when I simultaneously drag my feet (not wanting it to be over) and speed read to discover the plot's resolution.
I enjoy watching my bookmark make its way through the pages of a mammoth novel, traveling through the story's highs and lows with beloved and despised characters. Yet, I stick a shorter one in there from time to time so I can devour it in one sitting. My favorite genre is science fiction, but I love an emotional YA realistic fiction filled with drama and teenage angst. Granted, there was plenty of teenage angst and drama in most of the science fiction I've read this summer.
I brought home a box of about 50 books from my classroom library to read over the summer. Books that I bought during the year that I haven't yet had a chance to read. Books that students raved about and were never on my library shelves. Books outside my preferred genre that I decided deserved a chance. Books I want to read so I can book talk them to my new students (channeling Donalyn Miller and Teri Lesesne).
I'm such a book junkie, however, that I've hardly touched that box. Instead, I've engaged in my summer addiction at the public library. My heart races every time I head to the YA section to see which new titles are available. I'll spend time reading the book flaps to see which stories I want to dive into. I'll scan the shelves for books the librarian stood with covers facing out to entice us readers. I do the same in my classroom, so I know they are books worth checking out. I'll seek out authors I've read and loved since they're also solid choices. Then, there are the titles suggested via tweets or blog posts by respected book junkies like myself. Chats like #titletalk increase the likelihood of another huge stack at the public library checkout counter. I've read over 30 books this summer that I didn't even know existed at the end of last school year. I'm so glad I did, but that original box of 50 is still waiting.
Today, I am driving ten hours home from a wonderful visit with family. After finishing a book, I Am Shadow, last night, I had a slight case of withdrawals when I started driving this morning. I have no current book. No first pages read and no characters that I'm getting to know. No plot that's thickening. No twists or a-ha moments. No bookmark in any book. No worries since I have many books to choose from while my son takes over driving for a few hours. (I brought a large book bag full.)
I'm excited as I consider which book to sink my teeth into next. I know there's another engaging plot and interesting characters to discover, all contained in its pages. Maybe it will be one of my favorites: science fiction or realistic fiction. Maybe that exciting new fantasy everyone's talking about. Maybe one of the books I brought home back in June.
I love all of these feelings, and I want classes full of bookaholics next year. Students who enjoy reading for pleasure. Students who have and rely on either physical or online book stacks. Students who move their bookmarks as fast or slow as their lives allow. Students who have a favorite genre, but give other books a chance when a peer (or teacher) recommends them. Students who are addicted to reading and might even experience similar "I'm in between books" withdrawal. Students who don't need an incentive or reading log for motivation.
If I do my job well, I'll create or stimulate students' book additions. When that happens, consider my ELA class one big self-help group.