Written by
Jessica Powers
February 2011
Written by
Jessica Powers
February 2011

I love bookstores. I do. In fact, I love them so much, I NEVER GO TO ONE.


It feels like I’m confessing to something. I suppose I am.


I am the child of book lovers. I am the child of Christians who believe the Word is sacred. I have absorbed this sacredness into every pore of my being.


But I have to tell you: Bookstores scare me. They scare my pocketbook. My credit cards dance whenever I am in the presence of books. They sing happily. They chant, “Bring me out to see the light of day, oh sweet woman!” And like the gospel call and response songs, the books call out (knowing full well that the credit cards are singing their siren songs to me at the same time): “Cherish me! Desire me! I am a portal of knowledge and beauty and truth, I will light your path and make your day bearable, I will consecrate your life.”


So I never go to bookstores. I can’t afford to.


This from a woman with so many books, they are spilling out of my house and into the garage. The walls of my house are lined with bookshelves, all of them full of books, the shelves sagging under the weight. The walls of my garage are lined with bookshelves, so many books it is hard to remove one for reading pleasure because I have had to stack them up rather than across and removing one might topple an entire tower of books.


“Stop buying books,” my husband groans.


Secretly, though, he loves it. He thinks to himself that it is amazing he married a woman who collects paper and ink. He is always raiding my bookshelves for books that he can read in the bathtub.


In a bookstore or a library, the desire is so overwhelming, I can’t stop myself. I end up leaving with sixty books. I have ripped too many book bags. I have hurt my back. How can I choose? How can I say “yes” to one and “no” to another? I covet them all. (Except for computer manuals and business books…and I feel a spark of sadness saying that I don’t covet them…they are still books and deserving of honor, after all…)


Am I the only one? Are there other people out there who love books so much, they have to stay away from bookstores?

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  • Jessica Powers

    I've put my husband on a music budget, actually. He only gets $20 a month. And I justify the fact that I spend more than that on books because "I'm a writer, it's a BUSINESS expense."