Friday, January 20, 2017


Several days ago something went south with a tooth. The old filling decided to leave or I chipped it. Whatever. Yesterday it began to ache and I called the dentist for an emergency appointment before the pain became immobilizing.

The office could work me in immediately. I hastily assembled everything I would need. Insurance cards, check book, credit cards, glasses, keys, and most important of all — a book. In this case it was one I was reading for the Western Writers Contemporary Novel contest.

Books play so many important functions in my life I hardly know where to begin the list. I was highly amused by Aline's recent post where she said, "I taught myself to read at four and to this day I feel a sort of panic if I'm going to be stuck somewhere with nothing to read."

Right! And double that if it involves any medical procedures. If there is a short waiting time for a routine appointment often the magazines strewn around the office are sufficient and I catch up on all the latest scandals roiling Hollywood. I take in the Red Carpet fashions and mentally join the praise or criticism flung at the glitterati who can afford $10,000 gowns.

But yesterday's dental visit involved a crown, a great deal of money (even with dental insurance) and a long, long procedure. Turned out they could make the crown right there in the office.

Ironically, despite the unexpected expense, and my usual concern over reactions to medications, my very first thought was, "Thank goodness I brought a book." Then my second thought was, "What if I finish it before I get out of here?"

Books distract me. It's how I cope with anxiety.

I hate dental appointments. After reclining in the chair and finishing a volley of x-rays I propped the book on my lap and the instant the hygienist, dental assistant, or doctor left the room to fetch needles, compounds — god only knows what else — I read. The book made everything tolerable if not pleasant.

Books are also how I take myself in hand when I'm overwhelmed, (often) and have way too much work to do (often) I pick up a book and decide after I've finished a chapter I will do xxxx and then read another chapter or scene. Somewhere along the line work seems manageable and I'm merrily humming away. Then when I've finished a decent chunk I reward myself with another chapter.

So I'm a bookaholic! Want to make something of it? Through the blessing of libraries and free book exchanges no criminal gangs are involved with feeding my addiction. Other than encouraging my tendency toward sloth there's no risk to my soul and books keep me so very very happy.


Eileen Goudge said...

Same with me, Charlotte. I'm a bookaholic and proud of it. I can't imagine getting on a plane without my Kindle. Leave it to others to play solitaire on their smartphones. I am lost in a story by wheels-up. There's almost no life ordeal that can't be made less arduous with a good book.

Sybil Johnson said...

I'm a bookaholic as well. Reading is very comforting for me, too. If I'm in a particular funk, I like reading nonfiction. History or linguistics are my favorites. I have to use the analytical side of my brain for those so it gets me out of my emotional state.

Irene Bennett Brown said...

Ahh, Charlotte, this post is perfect. I seriously don't think I could survive without reading, and writing. I do know they make me feel complete, and happy. And I'm grateful for whatever made me this way.